What exactly is “kerb appeal” and what steps can be taken to improve it?
First impressions when approaching a property often play a big part in an applicant’s decision-making process, in fact, it is often said that the decision to buy or rent a property is made within eight seconds of first seeing it.
This is quite a subjective area and much depends on taste but there are some basic things to consider when advising a client on making the external appearance of their property more appealing:
1. De-clutter - When marketing a property the same de-cluttering rules apply internally and externally - get rid! Much as your client may love their gnomes and nick-knacks near the front entrance it’s time to part with them if they want a successful sale/let.
2. Tidy garden/outside space – no matter how large or small the outside space - whether a terrace or acre of garden - it should be tidy, swept free of debris/leaves and lawns should be mowed regularly.
3. Refresh paintwork and ironmongery – the front door speaks volumes about a property and can give the impression of a well-maintained, much-loved home if enough care is taken. Wood doors can be painted in a high-quality attractive shade of gloss paint and if the ironmongery needs replacing this is a very inexpensive job and well worth the effort.
4. Clean windows – windows are the “face” of the house and they should be gleaming!
5. Improve lighting – good external lighting is obviously highly important for viewings during the winter months but clients would do well to avoid any garish or multi-coloured options and look for quality fittings. Attractive lighting can create a welcoming and safe feeling when pulling into the driveway and walking towards the front door.
6. Don’t forget the neighbours! - it’s all very well making improvements to the property being marketed but what if the neighbouring properties’ kerb appeal leaves a lot to be desired?! Diplomacy is key here of course but it may be the case, for example, that if your client offered to cut their overgrown hedge or help with some of their weeding that a neighbour would be more than happy!
Written by Caroline Kenny AssocRICS DipRLM FARLA(retd)
Caroline Kenny is a freelance residential lettings consultant as well as a Business Development Consultant to the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA)