When it comes to selling a property, make it look good from the outside and you’re at least halfway there. You ignore the ‘8 second’ rule at your peril!
Industry figures show home buyers take an average of 8 seconds to decide to buy, and the approach to the house is a crucial part of those 8 seconds. Any signs that time and money needs to be spent on the exterior could kill the chance of a deal before they’ve even ventured in.
Take Sarah Beeny’s word for it
And don’t just take our word for it. TV’s Sarah Beeny, queen of all things property, told the Daily Telegraph in 2009 that “First impressions count for a lot. A bad appearance can do a lot of damage” (and you don’t argue with the Beenster).
For much of the UK, the property market hit rock bottom in 2009 and has recovered somewhat since (although plenty of areas haven’t seen any recovery at all), but kerb appeal remains as important as ever.
So what are the 10 best things you can do to the exterior of your home to ensure potential buyers love it before they’ve even gone through the front door?
Replace or paint the front door
A good paint job on an old front door, involving properly sanding down the wood and cleaning any glass, is well worth the effort. If the door is ugly and unfashionable (especially if it’s UPVC), it’s probably untreatable and you should buy a new one (around £300 to £500, or less if second hand).
Repaint the house and clean up brickwork
A freshly painted house in a neutral pastel shade or elegant stronger colour (depending on the age and style of the property) can work wonders. Scrubbing brickwork to remove stains and discolouration from pollution will also help hugely. Repoint the brickwork too if necessary (crumbling bricks can set off alarm bells in buyers’ minds).
Fit quality door ‘furniture’
Don’t buy cheap, it’ll look it. It’s amazing how fancy door knockers, quality keyhole fittings and numbering, a new footplate and doorbell, can dramatically improve the external appearance of a home.
Paint and repair windows and surrounds
Again, one of the major elements of making the outside of a home look good are improving the windows, and brick and wood work surrounding them. Fill cracks, rub down and paint (white usually, or a neutral shade).
Clean up pathways, gates and front walls
Brush and thoroughly scrub with whatever cleaning fluid your local DIY store recommends for the type of material which covers your path. Weed any borders and paint your front gate and wall. If you don’t have one, and your home opens directly onto the street, then take it upon yourself to brush, scrub and clean the pavement.
Fit attractive carriage lamps, lanterns, or general door lights to create a classy frontage (ensure you make them symmetrical – so one on either side of the door please!). If you have a front garden, soft lighting in trees and bushes can look great at night or in the early evening. Check out this video for some nifty lighting tips.
Plants, flowers and greenery
Position hanging flower baskets, potted plants, window boxes and trailing creepers pretty much anywhere; almost any greenery will make your home more attractive.
Clean up the nightmare neighbours!
Even if your neighbours are horrific, Rottweiler-breeding lunatics, they still probably won’t say no if you offer to spruce up the front of their homes too. Hedge trimming, mowing, cleaning – just a couple of hours work can make a great deal of difference.
Wash those windows
Even if you’ve made the rest of the front look great, dirty windows will spoil the effect. This is one of the key tips in our top ten. Gleaming, clean windows are extremely important.
Careful with curtains
Shabby drapes and filthy curtains can destroy the ‘look’ of your windows, and therefore home (to corrupt a common expression, your home’s windows are the eyes to your soul).