STANDARD Property’s 'Focus On' occasional section has tips and tricks
STANDARD Property’s Focus On! occasional section has tips and tricks and DIY projects to get the most from your home, and even make it more saleable. This issue, follow our step-by-step to make the most of your approach.
1. Consider why it’s important for your house to look good from the outside
“Well-presented homes that have been thoughtfully designed and that look good when you pull up outside are always going to sell faster and for more money than those on the other side of the fence,” said Jennie Herrington, an experienced garden and interiors designer who runs her own company, The Green Room, in Wargrave.
With this in mind, stand at the front of your house - or, indeed the approach to your house - and imagine yourself as a potential buyer. Think about what could be improved. These examples show the kinds of things that can be achieved with a bit of imagination and a reasonable cash injection that will certainly be recouped in the value of your property. Try www.pinterest.com for more ideas.
2. Respect the architecture of your house
Got a 1960s house but your preferred style is Tudor? You’re never going to get the look right when your house was made to be something else. Get the best result by being true to the heritage of your house, while keeping it up-to-date with a modern kitchen, bathroom and fittings.
“Victorian-style gas lamps may look wonderful on a 1800s Victorian townhouse, but will look completely out of place on a property from the 1970s,” said Jennie.
3. Turn your front door into a feature
The front door is the focal point of your property’s kerb appeal, so turn it into a statement. Sometimes you may have to replace your door, especially if it doesn’t match the style of house (don’t put a Victorian-style door on a 1950s bungalow). But if you can’t afford to replace your door, try repainting with a tone that complements things.
Try to match all the doors in the street, or at least make them work together. A good example of where residents have got this right is Gladstone Terrace in Henley, where the owners have collectively chosen toning pastel-colours to showcase their front doors.
“Start by looking at your home from a visitor’s point of view; something as simple as repainting the front door, can make all the difference,” said senior sales manager Chris Moorhouse at Romans on Hart Street. “Improving the kerb appeal of a property will attract more viewings and therefore help you achieve the selling price you’re looking for. ”
4. Create symmetry
Symmetry is simple to achieve and is very pleasing to the eye. If your front door or porch area is dressed with pot plants, ensure there is an equal number on each side, and any outdoor lighting often looks better in pairs.
“It is certainly worth a vendor investing time and a little bit of money on creating the right first impression,” said Philip Booth of Philip Booth Esq.
5. Lead them up the garden path
If you have a path leading up to your front door make sure it’s in good shape and works well with the rest of the garden décor. Also, make sure there are no potential trip hazards, especially as first viewings often happen in the early evenings when it may be darker.
You could also install some outdoor solar-powered lighting, which will clearly illuminate the path, as well as adding to the kerb appeal (you can always take them with you to your next home). These days there are plenty of innovative ideas such as solar bricks (brick-shaped, waterproof, solar-powered units), which you can install as part of your path or drive.
Philip Booth said: “Doing this kind of thing could be the difference between a buyer driving by and then booking a viewing, or just driving by.”
6. Create a front garden
If your budget stretches to it, get someone who knows what they’re doing to help you out.
Ana Mari Bull, an experienced garden designer based in Shiplake (www.anamaribull.com), said: “The saying ‘never judge a book by its cover‘ definitely does not apply when it comes to buying a house. People make up their minds within seconds of seeing a property’s exterior for the first time.
“How a house is presented for the world to see can be the difference between someone bothering to view it or not. You need not spend a fortune to make your property more appealing; a pair of carefully chosen pots to frame an entrance or a seasonal display of planting can be a simple way to give an instant facelift to a property.
“Remember to keep it simple — an over-complicated design could put potential buyers off. The arrival at the front door should set the scene for what’s to come, and whet a potential buyer’s appetite. At Ana Mari Bull landscape and Garden Design we are happy to advise on how best to show off a home’s external space.”
If your budget won’t stretch to this, have a go yourself. Get a few design ideas together (see Pinterest, top) then pop to the local DIY and garden centre. But again, make sure whatever you choose won’t jar with your neighbour’s gardens.
“Houses with kerb appeal always sell well,” said Sara Batting of Reading agency Sara Batting. “It’s worth a trip to the garden centre to get new flowering plants or window boxes, and a clean front door and windows give a welcoming atmosphere. If the estate agent notices that you have made an effort, so will the buyers.”
7. Ask another’s opinion
Get in touch with local estate agents and ask for tips about how to give potential buyers a great first impression.
“We have a team that has much experience in this area, so you can always drop in and ask for our advice,” said senior sales manager at Romans, Chris Moorhouse. “We work hard to market your property in front of as many potential buyers as possible but if they don’t like what they see they won’t always book a viewing, so first impressions are really important.”
• Go to www.henleystandard.co.uk/property/agents.php for a full list of local agents.