pink flowers 1Credit: Rayda Jacobs

First impressions count as the first thing a prospective buyer sees when looking to buy a home is the front and/or side views of the house. Often first-time buyers do all the cleaning and renovating inside and do not pay much attention to the exterior. Bikes are leanings against the walls and in the pathway. The garbage container is in view from the street. Old pizza boxes and empty cartons are lying about, and the dog area and kennels are unsavoury to look at. You would be surprised by how little outside cleaning gets done for a show house. One such house – the one I bought – was littered with debris, an outside toilet stuffed with paint tins and brooms, and even a mound of hard cement in the middle of the lawn area which was difficult to soften and loosen up to put in the dumpster. Inside the house it was sparkling; at the side of the house it was a nightmare.


The clean-up

I bought the house for myself at a really low-cost as I zeroed in on the fact that there was a lot of rubble which needed removal and that it would take days to clean up the yard and the right side of the house which had three hose pipes lying about, an old lawnmower, a new one, and barrels of empty dog bins which needed removal. I bought the house because I knew I could spruce it up and sell it for a greater price than the house I had. Every four or five years I change homes, constantly improving my place of living. When the house went on the market the second time I put in an offer which was immediately accepted.

 Side view of houseCredit: Rayda Jacobs

Sprucing up the pathway at the side of the house

I got a handyman to pick up the rubble and take it to the dump yard. He scraped down the loose paint on the outside walls and gave it a coat of paint; this took three days. He found a place for the refuse at the back of the garden behind the guava tree. The lawn guy came with his lawnmower to cut the lawn and dig some holes. All along the pathway which was quite long, I planted flowers and small bushes; similarly, I planted cactus all along the wall of the house. Here is a picture of the house showing how in two years I transformed the property and achieved some color in the back yard and garden. If I were to sell this house it would fetch a greater price than before. When looking to buy a house always inspect the wooden window frames, especially if you live in a country where there is snow. You would have had the added chore of wintering your home. Luckily this writer lives in South Africa.