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Press Article

Metro - 02 May 2013

Why garden extras aren’t always a good thing

By Jo Eccles

With spring finally upon us, a lot of home owners, buyers, and tenants are turning their attention to outdoor space. A recent survey by Lloyds Insurance suggests that 10% of the whole country now has a hot tub, which equates to 2.6 million households. This sounds completely overstated, so I would take it with a large pinch of salt, but we are seeing more and more home owners installing extras such as hot tubs in the hope it will add the wow factor and entice buyers or tenants. In reality though, these extras tend to do the opposite.

I viewed a family house for sale in Notting Hill a couple of years ago which had a very small garden. The vendor had installed a hot tub thinking that it would attract a buyer, but it took up the entire outside space and was completely off putting to any family, as they would have to remove it and re-landscape. To risk generalising too much, jacuzzis are often viewed as the type of ‘toy’ only put into a house by a lottery winner or developer who is over developing.

I see properties all the time for sale and rent which have swimming pools, jacuzzis, or saunas, which are often languishing on the market. Most of the time home owners have no idea how to use them, and where it’s a rental property, it can become a very contentious point if it’s not agreed upfront who is covering the maintenance costs and who is in charge of the maintenance programme.

We have just been working with one family renting a large house in Barnes who have been too scared to use the sauna in their basement as they were never sure if it was in safe working order, and at the end of the tenancy they had no idea how to clean it!

My advice to any seller, developer, or landlord is to focus on getting the rest of the property right before you get distracted by extras, which in most cases won’t help you sell or let the property.