“attractiveness of the exterior of a residential or commercial property – used as an indicator of the initial appeal of a property to prospective buyers” Source: wikipedia
Even without an economic downturn and all the problems in the current housing market, it is important that anyone trying to sell their house presents it in the best possible light. But while many people understand that the interior should be uncluttered, clean and tidy, the outside areas can often be overlooked.
It is thought that a large percentage of prospective buyers will make up their mind in the first 15-30 seconds of seeing a house. It is therefore essential that you make sure that the first impression of your house is a good one! Here are our top tips for improving the curb appeal of your home without spending a fortune.
1. Get your broom out!
Whether you have a large lawned front garden or just a front step onto the pavement, there is no excuse for not making sure it is as tidy as possible. Pick up any stray litter, sweep the front step and collect any fallen leaves. You will be surprised at the difference it makes.
2. Make the most of the front door.
Both wooden and Upvc doors should be washed down well and have the door furniture (handles, letterbox, etc) and any glass polished. If you have a wooden door, and it is looking a bit tatty, repaint it with a rich, dark gloss colour (dark red, green, etc). If you live in a period property, consider adding a knocker to the door for that extra period feel.
Cost: Under £20
3. Make your windows shine.
It goes without saying that any cracked glass should be replaced, but you should also consider replacing any loose putty, repainting window frames and sills (if they are wooden) and cleaning the glass with a proper glass cleaning product (to avoid streaks). If you have net curtains, make sure they are in good order and if so, wash them. If not, replace them.
Cost: Under £20 (assuming no glass needs replacing…)
4. Do some gardening.
Even if you are not at all green fingered, you should spend some time on the garden. Make sure any lawn area is mown, trim back hedges, pull out the weeds from the flower beds and tidy up any planters or flowerpots. If your flowerbeds are looking a bit bedraggled, you can pick up a tray of plants (begonias, etc) for a few pounds. Pull out the old plants, turn the soil with a fork or spade and get some fresh colour in there (this depends on the time of year, obviously). Try to do this several days before any potential buyers arrive to look around and it will look much more natural than when freshly planted.
Cost: Under £20
5. Make the most of what you have.
Even if you only have a small area of concrete outside your front door, you can still make it look appealing. Buy a couple of Bay Trees to go either side of the front door in some nice planters (ok, so nothing new there, but they can still look great!) and invest in some window boxes. A couple of small Bay Trees might set you back £35 each, and window boxes another £20-£30, but remember that you can take them with you when you actually sell and use them to brighten up your new house.
Cost: £60 – £200+
6. Repaint Gates and Railings.
Make sure that metal gates and railings are free from rust and looking good. If not, treat the rust with an inhibitor and give them a coat of good quality paint. Stick to dark paint colours for gates and railings as it helps them to blend into the background. Make sure that gates can open and close properly and that the hinges are well oiled.
Cost: Under £10
7. Paint the house.
Ok, so this is a pretty big job and will take a couple of days if working alone. However, if the facade is looking even slightly grotty, it will be time and money well spent. Stick to light, bright colours but don’t be tempted to go for a daffodil yellow or peppermint green. Stick to the colours of the original paint or that of the surrounding houses. You want your house to stand out, but not like a sore thumb!
Cost: Under £120 (if you DIY)
8. Think about improving security.
Have a mains powered security light installed, or buy a solar powered kit and install it yourself. Solar powered lights will not generally be as bright as a mains powered light, but they are very easy to install and come in a wide variety of styles. Do you access the rear of the house through an alleyway? If so, consider fitting a lockable side gate. This can both add to the security and look nice as well.
Cost: Security light £20 – £150, Side Gate £80 – £200
9. It’s all in the details.
Little things can make a big difference, and it is the little things that many people forget. A decorative house number or name can make your house seem more like a home. A clean car on a clean driveway shows that the owners of the house take care of all their property. Stand back, take a good look at your house and be brutal about what could be better.
Cost: Under £10