16th August 2017
10 ways to improve your home’s kerb appeal
Sometimes you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and while you may be focusing on beautifying your indoors, the exterior of your property is just as important
With buyers constantly looking for better value from their investments, making your property stand out can be a challenge. It may seem trivial but the devil is in the detail here and you would be surprised at what would put off a prospective buyer.
More often than not, the 'make or break' moment happens with the first impressions of a property’s outer appearance. According to several studies it takes the average buyer no more than eight seconds to decide whether or not they like your property, so keeping this in mind, kerb appeal should be a priority when trying to sell your home as first impressions account for much of the overall impression the property has on any potential buyer.
A house with real kerb appeal lifts your spirit – it's a house where the front garden is well-presented, the railing is in perfect condition, the door immaculately painted, perhaps with roses growing over it.
Unfortunately, improving the kerb appeal of a house is unlikely to add much to its value, but if you can get someone in a positive frame of mind before they've stepped through the front door it can help sell to it. Buyers look for evidence that the house has been well maintained. Any sign that they will need to spend time or money may put them off. Rotten window frames and cracked plasterwork, for example, present an obvious bartering tool.
First impressions count for a lot - a bad appearance can do a lot of damage. However, boosting a properties kerb appeal needn’t be costly, complicated or time consuming, and with these helpful tips you’ll make an excellent first impression.
We're not just talking about the obvious stuff like overflowing bins or kids toys strewn across your front garden. Remove fallen leaves and other detritus from the lawn, paths and borders. Once you have done the hard work it is really easy to keep on top of with a five-minute sweep as required to ensure your front garden stays looking immaculate.
Check your borders by digging or forking over the soil around your plants and if your budget allows, add organic matter such as bark chippings. They not only look good but will also keep weeds in check and lock in moisture. All this will add up to a low-maintenance garden in which weeds will be a thing of the past and plants can bloom.
2. Walls, fences & boundaries
Almost every front garden will have a fence or wall separating it from its neighbour, so how can you make yours stand out?
Firstly, ensure that all essential repair work has been carried out. Replace any broken panels or rotten posts and make sure that the paint work is up to scratch. If you really want to take it to the next level though, climbing plants are the perfect answer for transforming a garden fence from the ordinary to the interesting. Make sure you take note of the direction your fence faces and seek advice at the garden centre as to the most appropriate climbers.
A good tip is to cross the road, stand back and take a look to make sure your boundary is neat, tidy and in good repair. If you have a gate make sure that doesn't need repairing and that it is clean. Paint always helps - neutral colours are good.
If you’re lucky enough to have a front garden that has a lawn, make sure it really is something to boast about. In the spring give it a good feed and weed. Keep it mown regularly but ensure you don’t mow too short in the spring or autumn or during periods of drought. It is also important to treat your lawn again in the autumn with an autumn feed to help it withstand the harshness of winter.
Unfortunately the modern front garden often has to accommodate a car or two but that doesn’t mean your driveway needs to be a concrete wilderness. Design should be simple, functional and easy on the eye. Keeping some borders not only looks good but also helps rain water to return to the ground rather than run off across pavements or roads. Plants in pots not only add colour and texture to your driveway but will create an even more welcoming feel.
To boost that warm welcome at your door it's hard to beat a simple hanging basket filled with colour. In the spring it can be filled with bulbs, primroses, bellis and pansies, in the summer go for geraniums and in the autumn try cyclamen or something similar.
However small the space is, add some greenery.You don't need a big garden to plant a creeper, and houses look beautiful with plants trailing up them. And you can easily make window boxes yourself. Just paint a plastic planter and plant it with some draping ivy. Landscaped beds with colourful planting and box hedges set off the front of a house; or for smaller spaces, such as either side of the front door, planters with box topiary. Remember though that some creepers are not good for brickwork as they can pull the mortar out of the pointing.
Make sure your windows are looking tip top by painting or repairing the frames, giving the panes a good clean prior to any viewings and ensuring curtains or blinds are not in a state of disrepair. It may seem trivial but the devil is in the detail here and you would be surprised at what would put off a prospective buyer.
Windowslook sad when they are dirty, so make sure yours are cleaned regularly. Rotten window frames are also unacceptable and if you're putting in new ones, make sure they are appropriate with the design of the rest of the house. Finally, all curtain linings and blinds should match when seen from the street or driveway.
7. Front door
Paint it. It's as simple as that. Your front door is the first thing that prospective buyers (or anyone) will look at. Bold colours in full gloss will always look good but if bright and colourful isn't your thing then black is always a safe bet.
Decent door furniture can give the impression that your home is of high standard and is a brilliant investment. Spending £100 on a new handle, letterbox and knocker is nothing compared to the money you will save by selling your home sooner rather than later. Make sure you keep it in theme with the rest of your home though; giant Victorian door knockers and overly ornate handles will look ridiculous unless your home is Victorian. If your house has a modern feel, stick with brushed aluminium or chrome.
And please don't pick a novelty tune-playing doorbell. They're not 'fun'. They're stupid.
8. The approach to the front door
Steps, paths and driveways should be swept of leaves and free from rubbish. Vehicles, bicycles, etc, must be neatly parked.
Porches can give an air of distinction but can become dumping grounds for clutter. They can be awful if they are stuck on as an afterthought – they must be in proportion.
Lighting is vital, placed either side of the front door to add symmetry, or a lantern in a porch entrance. Don't be afraid to try out lights in situ before you commit; if they're too big or too ornate they can look brash. If your property is approached via a garden, light it sensitively. Hide lights in the trees or conceal them in the garden path or drive.
9. Spruce up a tired façade
Repaint, re-point or render over ugly brickwork. Don't go too crazy: paint colours should be more sensible than on the front door, and in keeping with the period of the house (and the ones either side, if you live on a street). This doesn't mean to say that they have to be the same colour (unless you are in a heritage area).
10. Don't let the house next door ruin your kerb appeal
If your neighbours have rubbish outside their house, suggest you remove it, rather than whinging about it. And if you're trimming your hedge, ask if you can do theirs while you're at it – 10 minutes mowing, or rubbish collecting is worth the effort. Try to conceal their rubbish bins (and yours) behind a hedge or a small fence. If you have to have them on show, make sure they are clean and the lids are on.