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Autumn agenda for house and garden

March 10, 2017

The weather is cooling off. The leaves on the trees are turning from a fresh summery green to warm tones of orange and brown and throw rugs are reappearing from random cupboards. Autumn is here.

Actually, autumn is a favourite season of the Independent team, since we can enjoy the Aussie outdoors without either getting sunstroke or being completely soaked through in a sudden thunderstorm.

While most of us are not usually excited about cleaning out our homes and getting organised for the cooler weather, when more time is spent indoors. Whether it’s clearing space in wardrobes, tidying the garden or home repairs, this can be a good time of year to tackle those annoying but essential household organisational tasks.

In house and property terms, it’s a great time to get onto those essential home maintenance jobs you’ve been putting off over the summer months. It’s also a fantastic time to sell. Whether your goal is simply improving your home or getting ready to for the market, there are a few tasks that will make your property sparkle, potentially add value and stand out from other homes in your suburb.

Getting ready to sell your home in autumn

Autumn can be a fantastic time of year to sell your home. Buyers are usually back from holidays and families with kids have them settled into school and their usual routine. All of which means more time for researching property listings and visiting open for inspections. Cooler weather may also encourage better attendance at open house sessions, since everyone’s not hanging out at the beach!

If selling your home is your goal this season, there are a few tasks you can undertake to prepare and get an edge on the competition.

Autumn home sale checklist

1.Preparing the exterior of your home

  • Trim the lawns and tidy up your backyard, raking up any fallen leaves.
  • Consider shaping deciduous trees, to make the most of seasonal colour.
  • Be sure to move or trim plants that obscure the front of your home and make sure windows are clean, thinking of street appeal.
  • Pull out the weeds from the garden and spread some ground cover or mulch to give a tidy appearance.
  • Keep the pathways clear to allow easy access to your property…but a few autumn leaves are okay!

2. Preparing the interior of your home

  • Focus on the entry and family rooms first, make sure the area is clear of clutter and looks welcoming.
  • Repair any small cracks in the walls and apply a fresh coat of paint.
  • Install energy efficient LED lighting to brighten your spaces on darker days and also add value.
  • Add some colour in furnishings to brighten living spaces, a pop of autumn inspired colour such as yellow or orange can add cheer.
Renovating in Autumn

Getting ready to renovate? It’s as easy as contacting a builder or two, getting some plans drawn up and off you go. Well, not quite.

We spoke to Cassandra, who is preparing for a major renovation. She and her husband own an original 1960s bungalow, but with two young children, it’s time to extend upstairs and create more living space. She says the preparation process is more involved that she first thought.

“It’s been an interesting process already, meeting with a few builders and discussing our wish list and needs in terms of living spaces, home offices and where to place kids’ bedrooms. We’re trying to think ahead to the future. We don’t want to borrow a lot of money, but we want quality and maximum bang for our buck,” Cassandra said.

The preparation stage has already been extensive. Even preparing for builders’ visits takes time and planning.

“I didn’t realise some builders will want access to areas such as the garage and the rear of the property to measure and quote. We’ve already been clearing out storage space in the garage and trimming trees that overhang the eaves. We need to get rid of clutter so we’re not shifting it when the builders come in. Next we need to contact the council about an easement at the back of our property and see if it’s okay to build right up to the property line.” Cassandra adds.

But there is always the consideration of how much time and money to spend on a renovation as opposed to selling your home and buying a new or already renovated home.

Autumn home maintenance checklist

Following are some home maintenance tasks you might consider, whether you’re selling, renovating or simply getting ready for the cooler months.

Indoor checklist

  • Have your heating system cleaned and serviced, particularly chimneys and older wall-heaters, also replace the air filter.
  • Check the windows/doors for drafts and floors/walls for cracks. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal gaps to keep you warm in winter and lower your power bill.
  • Check to make sure heating vents are clear and that nothing has been moved over them during summer.
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Clean your clothes dryer vents and inspect hoses on whitegoods for cracks.
  • Examine any wood for insect damage such as termites.
  • Conduct an energy audit to minimise winter electricity usage.

Outdoor checklist

  • Trim the trees and bushes so nothing touches your house. This might be ongoing if you have deciduous trees.
  • Clean any outdoor furniture and barbeque ready for storage.
  • Clean, sharpen, oil, and store tools and gardening equipment in a dry location. Make sure winter tools, like blowers, rakes and shovels are ready to use.
  • Check the roofing, sides and gutters of sheds and garages to make sure they’re clean, dry and waterproof, particularly if you’re storing tools and furniture over winter.
  • Do an outdoor safety check, are your outside lights working? Are your handrails stable?
  • Clean the gutters, check roof for damage and replace any missing tiles before winter hits.
  • Check your downpipes and splash blocks to ensure water flows away from the house.
  • Seal any gaps into the house and block off entries into any crawlspaces to prevent animals from getting in and nesting.
  • Remove garden hoses and drain. Store them indoors. Drain and ‘winterise’ exterior plumbing.
  • Prepare the lawn by cutting it short and fertilising so it has the nutrients it needs to get through winter. The same applies to the garden bed, cut it back and apply a layer of compost to improve the soil.
  • Mulch your plants well, especially those that are tender. Good mulching can save them when temperatures dip. Bring fragile potted plants indoors for protection.
  • Terra cotta planters need to be cleaned and stored to prevent them from cracking.
  • Throughout autumn, transfer fallen leaves to the compost bin on a regular basis to prevent them from smothering your garden. 

Ready, set, go!

Are you ready to get started? The Independent team is feeling inspired to clean out the gutters and re-paint the patchy walls in our homes this weekend. Right after we catch up on some television.