Anyone putting their home on the market could spend a fortune on a new kitchen, paint rooms neutral beige or de-clutter — but if the place doesn’t have kerb appeal, it won’t sell.
Some 68 per cent say they won’t buy if they don’t like the front of the property.
Nearly as many admit their impression is formed within one minute, research by landscaping firm Marshalls found.
Kerb appeal: A well-presented thatched cottage in the village of Ashmore, Dorset
Improving kerb appeal is vital, says Josephine Ashby, of Cornish estate agency John Bray. ‘Much can be done with tidying, styling and retaking photographs once trees and shrubs are in leaf.’
So, how do you give your home kerb appeal in time for the spring sales push? We asked the experts.
1. Ask around
You are unlikely to be the best to decide what improvement is needed as your judgment can be clouded by your attachment to the property.
‘Ask friends and family, how your home looks compared with others.’ says Jeremy Leaf, a London agent and former Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors residential chairman.
2. Front-door focus
‘If the handle’s loose or the paint flaking, it’ll give the impression the rest of the house is the same,’ says George Hughes, head of Strutt & Parker’s Oxford office.
‘But if you’ve a sturdy door that’s painted perfectly and closes with a satisfying thud, buyers are in a positive frame of mind.’
He suggests classic colour combinations: royal blue against red bricks; a deep green for a white facade; or a bolder pastel pink, yellow or lilac with a white frame.
3. Look at landscaping
The study by Marshalls found hanging baskets, planters, raised beds and bird baths were popular with buyers.
Dominick Brown, director of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘Don’t overlook the garden. You wouldn’t leave a reception room in a mess; the same should be true of lawn and flower beds.’
4. Hide ugly features
Trellis or willow screens can hide a multitude of sins. ‘If your bins are on show, build an enclosure,’ says James Greenwood, of Stacks Property Search.
‘And if you can reconfigure exterior space so car parking is out of sight, it pays dividends. And use screening to block the view of the car parking from the house and garden.’
5. Drive up the value
‘A speedy improvement to driveways is re-gravelling,’ says Greenwood. ‘It’s worth the investment and can be done inexpensively.’
Hertfordshire agent Daniel Nash, of the Nash Partnership, says: ‘Ripping up an ugly concrete parking space for one car and replacing it with a stylish cobbled driveway for three, with hedges and lighting, will probably add value.’
6. Tidy next door
‘If there is an overgrown garden next door and the neighbour isn’t prepared to tidy it up, ask if you can work on it yourself,’ says Marc Gregory, of London estate agency Antony Roberts. ‘Or, it could put potential buyers off.’
Encourage fellow residents to help you improve communal areas in apartment blocks. Fresh paint and steam-cleaned carpets can transform first impressions. Outside, planters and fresh paint in entrance areas will help, too. But get the leaseholder’s agreement.
7. Update photos
Kerb appeal is as important in the agent’s website photos and on Rightmove as in person — 95 per cent of buyers make enquiries after spotting properties online.
Choosing an agent who uses an experienced snapper is key, says Mark Davies, of Strutt & Parker’s Cambridge office. ‘They’ll take high-quality shots you wouldn’t be able to take yourself,’ he says.