How to give buyers the Lake District cottage of their dreams

How to give buyers the Lake District cottage of their dreams blogpost by AshdownJones estate agents in the Lakes and Dales

When you’re selling your old holiday cottage, you may know it needs a bit of TLC to get the best price, but you don’t want to overspend. A little investment in the right areas can help you wow your buyers, instead of sending them running back to town. Your lovely Lake District cottage won’t make it past the Rightmove scroll if it doesn’t give the townie buyer what they’re looking for; namely, the best of both worlds. Be prepared for a long list of ‘must-haves’ that are often, frankly, impossible. Forgive us indulging in a little tongue-in-cheek….

  • Original beams but good ceiling heights (after all, we’re taller now)
  • Rural bliss but walkable to a good pub that has to have wifi and a vegan, gluten-free menu
  • Pretty Austen-esque garden but with parking for all their friends to come and stay
  • Original re-enamelled clawfoot bath with modern plumbing and a power shower
  • Aga for decorative purposes only and a ‘proper hob’ to actually cook on, preferably induction
  • Remote enough to have rowdy weekend house parties, but somewhere to buy a pint of milk from after 6pm (walking distance, please).
  • Belfast sink and a Miele dishwasher
  • Character roof so long as it’s been replaced in the last year or so.
  • Tranquil and peaceful location with no road noise but no more than 15 minutes from the M6
Picture by Steven Barber

Your Lake District cottage action plan

Now you know the kinds of impossible requests and wish-lists we are faced with at Team AJ, let’s turn our attention to the more practical changes you can make to your lovely Lake District cottage:

Update your décor for instant ‘townie’ appeal – the right paint colour, carpets and chintz matter, more than you might think. So make sure your walls are refreshed in an up-to-date paint choice, and your ‘chintz’ is a modern version, from a safe source, like Laura Ashley or M&S Home.

Uncover your surfaces – take off your practical plastic-coated table cloth (Cath Kidston is so ‘noughties’), and remove anything that’s covering any of your surfaces. Trinkets, bowls (unless they are modern ‘statement’ pieces), photos, doilies – they all need taking away to show the shiny surface beneath, unfettered by objects.

Update anything that you might find in an old pub – those brass ornaments hanging on your beams just have to go; likewise a heavily patterned carpet, comedy signs and coasters on the coffee table.

Hard floors only in bathrooms and loos – carpet in your bathroom or loo (or kitchen, for that matter) is never ok – no matter how cold it gets.

Reassure them with information – septic tanks, private water supplies and oil-fired central heating will scare your townie buyers to death, so document costs and instructions in advance and give them to your estate agent.

Make your fire a plus, not a minus – your smelly, smoky open fire may look amazing on your photographs but will have your viewers panicking and asking if a log-burner would be ‘cleaner’. Get it cleaned and the chimney swept, and if you’ve got a rug with burn marks you can chart over the last half-century, get rid.

Connectivity – please don’t laugh when they ask about broadband speed and mobile phone signal – they are in earnest, (bless them). If you can only get a phone signal from your bathroom, hanging out of the window, it will give them cause for concern, but if you’ve found a workaround in a booster, or you have B4RN planned imminently, make sure your buyers know. It could be a deal-breaker for them. (How do you think they made enough to buy your cottage, if not working whilst on holiday?)

Picture by Steven Barber

A quick-fire blitz to make sure your ‘country cottage’ seduces, instead of scares:

  • No smelly dogs, cats or any other animals.
  • Fires to look clean and non-smoky. And easy to light.
  • Any china on display to be non-high street (forget Emma Bridgewater)
  • Keep photos on display of children and dogs having picnics and jumping into streams – that’s what they think country life is like.
  • If they start knocking on walls and talking about making your cottage open-plan, just nod politely, even if the wall in question is 4 feet thick.
  • Talk about where your Christmas tree goes and how many people you can squeeze around the table for dinner.
  • If you have a plastic, pastel bathroom suite circa 1992, time to change it for classic white.
  • Make beds up with luxury bedding to look less ‘Cold Comfort’ and more ‘Unique Homestays’.
  • Write a list of pubs, eateries, shops that sell milk after 6pm and walks from the door (preferably ones that aren’t more than a couple of miles and end at a pub).

Give them the cottage of their dreams

Your townie buyer is dreaming of their romantic new life in the beautiful Lake District. They yearn for a whimsical and quintessential cottage they can escape to, and bring their friends, and who can blame them? It’s an exciting time for them, but also daunting and full of disappointments, as they view cottage after cottage that doesn’t tick any of their wish-list items. Instead of asking them to compromise way beyond their comfort zones, with a little effort and understanding, you can present your Lake District cottage in a way that will delight and enchant them, reassuring them that they really don’t need superfast broadband or mains water to fall in love with your cottage, and make their cottage dreams come true.

If you’d like to have a chat about your Lake District cottage, and the steps you can take to maximise its appeal to our buyers, we’d love to hear from you. We’re on 015394 88811 or drop Phil a line at

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