People are always told not to judge a book by its cover, but with property, first impressions are extremely important. Use these top tips to give your property serious kerb appeal:
1. The approach
No one wants to stumble through a gate falling off its hinges, unless you are selling a ‘project’. If you are replacing it, choose a suitable gate for your property; does wood or wrought iron work best, for example. If you’re painting your current gate, the aim is to be appealing but in keeping. Think neutral colours for a fresh, palatable look.
Tidy the path up, by removing any weeds and cleaning the edges. Trim the grass or plants neatly or sweeping the stones off the path. Make a manicured ‘yellow brick road’ to your front door.
2. A touch of green
Many people love quirky, off-beat looks, but consider giving your front door some symmetry with a matching set of shrubs or hanging baskets. It can create a clean, precise look and be pleasing to the eye.
Alternatively, layer some plants around your porch to give depth and definition. Having a selection of plants in various pots gives a ‘garden’ feel, while keeping the look casual and contemporary. It will also give a low-maintenance and achievable feel.
Remember even the most polished, modern homes will be softened by some greenery, breaking the aspect up.
3. The front door
Take a closer look at your door fittings and be objective. If you don’t want to press your finger into the mouldy-looking ringer, no one else is likely to! Choose something in keeping with your home.. Think about whether a knocker or a door bell is more in-keeping and a nice clean handle is a good starting point.
Also, take a look at the door itself. Start by giving it a good clean and remove dust and cobwebs which have built up. You could also give it a new lease of life with a fresh, colour. Avoid neon pinks, but you can be bolder than you think and give your property some character.
When it comes to the welcome mat, opt for something simple and welcoming. A personalised mat may put people off when trying to imagine your property as their home.
4. General tidy up
There is no need to have your children’s summer toys strewn all over the garden or piled in the sandpit, collect them and store them away. Your potential buyers may not have children, which could make the toys extremely off-putting.
Remove weeds in any plant beds, mow the lawn and tidy the edges up. Even if you aren’t into gardening, there is no need for it to look messy.
Don’t forget to take a good look at your windows – they should be clean and streak-free, just in case your viewers choose to peek inside.
General tidying up is one thing, but the guttering needs your attention. Get your rubber gloves out or call someone who can help you; you should replace it if absolutely necessary. It’s something we often put off, but a gutter full of leaves and black muck will be one of the first things people notice. If you have gone to the effort of cleaning the rest of the house, the guttering should match.
6. Artwork, sculptures or water features
Give your home some personality with a sculpture or water feature. It doesn’t need to be pretentious or twee, a simple waterfall could work and would make a lovely sound. Be wary of families with small children and don't go for anything too deep. Gnomes tend to stir strong feelings in most, so maybe choose something different!
There will undoubtedly be some viewers who do a late night ‘drive-by’. Light your property with affection – give it a homely glow that looks inviting on a winter’s evening. There’s no need for neon uplighters which upset everyone on the street. Instead, some subtle solar lights along the path, or well-chosen lamps by your front door will look lovely.
8. Don’t forget the garage
If your garage and its door is visible when approaching your house, it is definitely part of your kerb appeal. Again, give the door a good clean to freshen it up – although you should get the paint brush out if you need to. Plants are another way to style and hide the garage a little, making if feel like part of your home rather than an ugly, forgotten extension.
9. Hide your rubbish
Following a thorough spring clean, you’re likely to have lots of rubbish – don’t leave it out in piles for people to see! Think ahead and clean and declutter before any visits and in time for bin collection day. Of course you can’t predict when you may have a viewing, but you should be prepared to let people in whenever.
10. The pavement
The street outside your home may not be your responsibility, but it is part of the viewing experience. You can’t possibly control it all, but there are some things you can do. If you live on a leafy street, sweep away the dead leaves. If your neighbour’s bins are strewn all over the path, straighten them up. The little details might just help.
Music is extremely powerful; it can stir up dormant memories and emotions and transport us through time and space in an instant. So could you use music to sell your home? It is no secret that marketing relies heavily on music to influence behaviour and, since selling your home is an exercise of advertising, maybe you too could use some melodic help?
Ok. Let the music play! Simple! Or not... There is a surprising amount to consider: Which music best suits your home? Should you play different music in different rooms? How old are your buyers? Are they downsizing? Buying a first home? Seeking a family home? Choosing a home for their retirement? Always dreamed of living by the ocean? Are they just desperate for a large cupboard under the stairs?
The first point to make is that your home can be totally reimagined by its buyers – your plush classical style could be monochrome in a heartbeat. Think about your buyer rather than the character of your home. It may be an extension of you, but to them, it could be a modern interior trapped in a classical shell. Knowing your buyer should inform your choices as you want to impress them.
External factors are also influencers, like the seasons and the weather. Playing something from spring as your visitors wade through snow to get to the front door is likely to leave a jarring impression. That being said it, even if it is pouring, perhaps avoid Alanis Morissette’s It’s Like Rain.
As a good example, Ed Sheeran is likely to be a good call for first time buyers. Chances are, he will spark their romantic ideal of owning their first home and seal the deal. In fact, most people like Ed! He has a wide appeal and most of his tracks aren’t overpowering.
Ultimately, you want the buyer to imagine your house as a home, to see themselves enjoying your space with their own family and friends. Music is very personal, making it tough to appeal to all, so opt for ‘easy listening’, and avoid anything especially niche or too eclectic. Artists such as Bruno Mars, Adele and Nina Simone could also be good suggestions. Or how about putting the radio on? Rather than it seeming like the music is an exclusive extension of your musical taste, the radio gives a little background noise which can alleviate the pressure of a silent house.
If you finally make a decision on which music to play, there are a few other things to consider:
Check the volume. Deafening people in the living room could foster feelings of claustrophobia and betray your palatial living area.
Where will it be playing? Think about whether music in the bathroom is a good idea; your female visitors could well be dreaming of luxuriating in the bath, but your male visitors are likely to be less keen!
It might be a good idea to ask a friendly neighbour to take a tour and telling you how your music makes them feel. The pace they move through the house is also important; stores often use music to slower traffic and improve sales. So something at a slower tempo should give your buyers the chance to take in everything your house has to offer.