When it comes to selling your home, as with many things, first impressions count and in property this is what is called kerb appeal. Essentially it is the impression any potential buyer gets when standing on the kerb looking at the property or seeing pictures of the external element of the property, as these tend to be the lead pictures in any online property search.
If you are thinking of selling your home, you really need to ensure that these first impressions are positive. In this article, we will look in more detail at why kerb appeal is so important and at ways of maximising the kerb appeal of a property.
Importance of kerb appeal
The exterior of a property is the first view a potential buyer will get of a home they potentially wish to buy. This can be at a formal viewing; looking at on-line photos, where the exterior picture is typically the first photo shown, according to Zoopla, or in the course of a quick drive by viewing before even showing any formal interest. If a potential buyer is not excited by the exterior view and gets a bad feeling or impression, then the chances are that they won’t go any further in the process. Take online photos for example, if the impression given is poor then the potential buyer will not want to enquire any further no matter how wonderful the interior is and almost certainly won’t look at other pictures of the property. If the kerb appeal on a drive by viewing is poor then, again, it is unlikely that the purchaser will ask for a formal viewing. Good kerb appeal will maximise the interest in your property, so it is arguably one of the most important things to get right.
Windows and doors are perhaps the most important parts to give some TLC to as these tend to be the first things people notice. If you have wooden frames, give them a good clean and, if you have time, a fresh coat of paint. Fix any damage to the frames and ensure that the glass is in good repair. For uPVC windows and doors give them a good clean. There are specialist polishes out there which restore whiteness. Spend some time polishing letter boxes and handles as well.
As any potential buyer approaches your property, they will see your path, drive and front garden. Give your path and drive, if you have one, a good clean with a pressure washer and remove any weeds that might be growing between slabs or in cracks. If you have a front garden give it a thorough weeding, a prune and a mow. Cut back any overgrown shrubs or trees. It would even pay dividends to put some nice flower pots outside your home to add a splash of colour. Put your bins away and if you are an enthusiastic car restorer, cover your restoration project as not everyone will appreciate the beauty of a part restored vintage car. The important thing is that everything looks neat, tidy and inviting.
Complete those long overdue maintenance tasks such as sorting that leak on the guttering or repairing that render which has fallen off. If you have a painted house, make sure the paint is fresh and in good condition. Sort out the broken fence and any slipped or broken tiles. You want to give a prospective purchaser the impression, right from the start, that they are looking at a well loved and looked after home. If you have a gate, make sure it isn’t stiff or squeaking
If you want to go that one step further give the pavement outside your home a sweep and a clean. If your neighbour’s garden doesn’t look great, perhaps ask if you can help them tidy it up a little. Remember that buyers will also be looking at houses near to yours and will make a judgement on the overall area not just your home.
One top tip is to make sure that you maintain the outside in that good condition. You really don’t want a buyer seeing lovely pictures and then turning up to something completely difference and less attractive.
Spending a little time making the outside of your home as appealing as possible will pay huge dividends when it comes time to selling. Purchasers who see that wow factor when they first see your home are much more likely to want to see more and will be in a more positive frame of mind when they do.
Five tips to improve your property’s saleability
1. Proactive communication
As the seller, you are best-placed to facilitate communication between your agent and your solicitor. If your agent raises a possible issue, make sure your solicitor is aware.
Make sure your agent is also aware of the property issues you are discussing with your solicitor. Your estate agent may be able to offer practical insights on these issues.
2. Complete the property information forms
After you instruct, your lawyer will ask you to complete a detailed set of forms with questions about the property.
Fill out these forms as soon as you can. Your answers will provide some of the context that your solicitor will use to identify problems.
3. Get the management information pack ASAP
If you are selling a leasehold property, this is critical. Sourcing the management information pack from the freeholder or managing agent can cause long delays to leasehold transactions.
Your solicitor will need this information to identify and address potential issues relating to factors like service charge accounts or the maintenance of common areas.
A rush of activity as the coronavirus lockdown is relaxed has led to backlogs with managing agents. You should ask your solicitor to acquire the pack as soon as possible.
4. Indemnity insurance
Many potential defects that look serious on paper, like missing planning permission for alterations to a property, can be addressed with an indemnity insurance policy. Fortunately, these policies are relatively cheap. You should be prepared to offer to pay for one when the buyers’ solicitor raises the issue.
Sellers should be aware that contacting the local authority about an issue will make it impossible to obtain an indemnity policy.
5. Communication, again
This point is so critical it’s worth making twice. Some delays, like those affecting searches or managing agent packs, can only be mitigated by tackling them early.
Other delays are entirely avoidable, and many are down to poor communication between the parties involved in the transaction.
Take every opportunity to control the narrative, to ensure that the buyer doesn’t inflate a problem. If you and your solicitor have agreed a strategy to address an issue, make sure the buyer is aware of the proposed solution.
If you are thinking of moving, contact our friendly team of professionals at Love Your Postcode® on 0800 862 0870 for your free homemovers guide. We have a few extra suggestions for you too!