Enhancing the kerb appeal of your home or an investment property is one of the best ways to add value and make the property more saleable.
A recent YouGov poll found that almost 70% of buyers consider kerb appeal an important factor when searching for a new house. Whether you’re looking to sell imminently, or you’re keen to increase the value of your property, there are several ways to improve kerb appeal. This guide will provide tips and tricks to ensure your home is the best-looking on the block.
What exactly is kerb appeal?
Before we start exploring ways to improve kerb appeal, it’s a good idea to examine what exactly kerb appeal means. Kerb appeal, also known as street appeal, is a term that relates to the exterior of a property and how attractive it is to the owner, to estate agents and to potential buyers. Surveys suggest that over two-thirds of people want to buy a house that they feel is attractive from the outside. Some people won’t even set foot inside a property if they don’t like the exterior or if they feel that the outside of the house gives off the wrong impression. By investing time and effort into sprucing up your home, you could attract more attention, add value and increase the chances of getting the price you want.
Why is kerb appeal important?
There are several reasons why kerb appeal is important.
Firstly, more and more people are finding properties online, and the most commonly used lead shot for an online gallery is a view of the front of the house. If your home looks the part and everything is neat and tidy, there’s a good chance that a prospective buyer will continue to browse the rest of the photos, read the information and arrange a viewing. In the world of marketing and sales, high-quality photos of enticing subjects increase click-through rates.
Secondly, the condition and aesthetic of the exterior can provide an insight into how well the house has been looked after. Shabby paintwork, old windows and a front door that is hanging off its hinges could lead potential buyers to worry about the state of the property.
Kerb appeal also plays a role in determining the value of a house, and even making simple, inexpensive changes can have a significant impact on a valuation. Homes that look attractive and inviting are also likely to attract more interest than those that look neglected or unkempt. Finally, many people who are searching for a new home like to see a property in the flesh before deciding whether they want to arrange a formal viewing. Drive-bys can occur at any time, so it’s wise to make sure the exterior of your home is well-maintained at all times if your property is up for sale.
How to improve the kerb appeal of your home
Kerb appeal is crucial for the majority of buyers, so if you’re selling a property, or you’re looking for effective ways to add value to your home, it pays to invest in the exterior, as well as the interior. Many of us buy houses and set about painting walls and fitting new kitchens, and sometimes, the outside of the house is neglected. The good news is that improving kerb appeal is often relatively straightforward. Here are some of the best ways to improve the kerb appeal of your home:
Replace or repaint your front door
If you’re selling up and relocating to pastures new, take a look at your front door and consider making changes. If the door is in good condition, but the paintwork is slightly chipped or the colour has faded, a lick of paint will work wonders. If the door is dated, or it’s damaged, look into replacing it and fitting a brand new door. Match the style of the front door to the property. If you have an old cottage, for example, you don’t want to upset the aesthetic with a door that looks like it’s come from the future. Be sympathetic to the design of the house, and opt for features and colours that complement the era. Bold lion head knockers and brass or gold letterboxes mounted on pillar box red, navy or black doors work well with regency and Victorian homes, for example. If you do choose to paint the door, rather than replace it, opt for paints that are suitable for exterior use with a gloss finish. You can choose from an array of colours using paint charts and testers. If you’re unsure which shade will work best, or you’re short on inspiration, use sites like Pinterest and flick through interior magazines to get ideas.
Spruce up your front door with new door furniture
Your front door may look the bee’s knees with a fresh coat of paint, but you can make it stand out even more with some new door furniture. Adding a knocker, a letterbox, some numbers or a plaque with the house name on will provide those all-important finishing touches. Making the numbers or the name of the house clear is also really helpful for prospective buyers who are coming to view the property. You can use door furniture for functional reasons, or to add character and charm to the exterior of your home.
Check your windows
According to a survey conducted by the HomeOwners Alliance, 71% of buyers rate the condition and appearance of the windows as important. If your property doesn’t have new windows, check the paintwork and consider cleaning the frames and panes and freshening up the paint before you invite anyone to take a look around. Replacing windows can be expensive, and if you’re on a budget, simple actions like adding a new coat of paint can make an incredible difference.
If you have new windows that are in perfect condition, make sure they are clean before you start setting up viewings. You can clean the windows yourself or hire a professional window cleaner.
Get into the garden
If you’re fortunate enough to have a front garden, it’s essential to make sure that this patch is presented and showcased in its best light. Even if you only have a very small lawn, or you have a couple of bushes and flower beds lining the driveway, the state of the garden can make all the difference. If the grass is overgrown and there are weeds everywhere, this might give the impression that you don’t look after your home as well as you could. In contrast, a smart, well-maintained garden can be a really attractive selling point and a means of boosting the value of your home.
Before you take any photographs for a brochure or organise viewings, cut the grass, trim the hedge, tidy up planters and flower beds, and get rid of leaves, rubbish and weeds. It’s also a good idea to inject some colour with flowers and plants. If you have a large garden, and you’re not green-fingered, it’s worth enlisting the services of a professional gardener to spruce up the space before the for sale sign goes up. If your garden is fenced, or you have a gate, apply a coat of varnish at least once a year, and consider replacing or repairing any damaged or broken panels.
Patch up your paths
The last thing you want when showing people around, or welcoming estate agents to your property to get a valuation is for somebody to be struggling up the drive, trying to avoid cracks and potholes. If you have a front pathway or a driveway, it’s advisable to carry out some running repairs and address obvious issues. You don’t have to replace the entire drive, but tending to damaged areas will enhance the aesthetic of the exterior and create a more positive first impression.
Refresh exterior paintwork
We all know what a difference a coat of paint can make to a living room or a kitchen, and the same is true of the exterior of your home. If your home is rendered or painted, applying a new coat of paint will bring the outside of the property to life and give it a much cleaner, fresher, brighter look. Take care to include window and door frames, and if you don’t have a head for heights or much experience in painting, look for a local business that specializes in facades and exterior paintwork. This is a relatively simple and inexpensive job that can make an incredible difference to the look of your home. Research carried out by Dulux Weathershield suggests that buyers are willing to pay up to 25% more for a property with fresh exterior paintwork. This represents a substantial value boost, especially in sought-after areas where prices are high, for example, Central London.
When you look at a property from the street or the road, you want to be able to see its finest features and really get a sense of its aesthetic. If your driveway is cluttered, or the front is covered in ornaments or decorative accessories, this can affect the way people view your home. Those touches might be to your taste, but it’s wise to go for a more understated look when dressing a home for sale. Clutter can make spaces seem smaller and more cramped and people like to look at a potential new home as a blank canvas on which they can put their stamp.
Are you guilty of leaving rakes or trowels out when you’ve been gardening, or is your driveway full of kids’ toys or wellies? If so, take a moment to tidy up. Remove tools, gardening equipment, toys, outdoor clothing and anything else that isn’t supposed to live at the front or side of the house.
Keep your fencing in check
If you have fencing in your front garden, or you have a fence that leads to the front door, check the condition and carry out repairs if you have any broken sections or panels that have seen better days. Painting fences is another great way to freshen up the look of the exterior of your home without spending a lot of money.
Clear your gutters
Many people are keen to buy houses that they don’t have to start work on as soon as they get the keys. Tasks like clearing the gutters can put buyers off. If your gutters are stuffed with leaves or debris, clearing them will make your property more appealing and help to create the impression that the buyer can move straight in without having to tend to existing or underlying issues. If you don’t fancy scaling a ladder, you’ll be able to find local companies that offer guttering services using a search engine. It’s also important to check the condition of your gutters. If your guttering is damaged or worn, this can lead to problems linked to drainage.
Hide your bins
We all need bins to dispose of rubbish and food waste, but a prospective buyer doesn’t want to be greeted with wheelie bins and recycling boxes when they pull up into your driveway. If you’ve got a viewing, or an agent is coming to visit to take photographs, put your bins around the back of the house, or invest in a screen to hide them from sight. Bamboo and willow screens are popular options. Relocating bins will enhance the aesthetic of the exterior and create the illusion of more space.
Take a look at your roof
Loose roof tiles can be a red flag for buyers. If there are tiles that have slipped, or the roof looks patchy, this might set alarm bells ringing for people who don’t want to spend money on a property straight away. If you do have a few tiles that are out of place, it’s worth getting a quote to replace them. Any work you do on the roof will add value and it might also provide peace of mind for buyers who love the house but are stretched in terms of budget. If you do have money available, and you want to add value before selling, replacing a damaged, old roof might make financial sense. According to thisismoney.co.uk, a new roof can provide a return on investment of up to 63%. When considering projects like roofing work, it’s critical to get a selection of quotes and to read reviews and client testimonials before choosing which firm to go for. Look for companies with a flawless track record that offer value for money, rather than the cheapest price.
Exterior lighting can add serious kerb appeal, especially in the darker winter months, as well as serving a practical purpose. Well-lit driveways and porches enable people who might be passing by to get an idea of what the house looks like, and they can also make the property more inviting and welcoming. There are several options when it comes to outdoor lighting, from chic mounted or freestanding lanterns to hidden up-lighters to illuminate a pathway.
Adding greenery to your patio, your driveway or your porch can really bring the exterior of your home to life. You don’t need to go crazy and become a green-fingered guru, but a few simple touches can have an incredible impact. If you have a porch or a patio area that runs along the front of the house, accessories like planters and potted olive or bay trees work brilliantly. You could also add hanging baskets for a rustic, country-cottage vibe or use window boxes to dress the exterior of a home with limited outdoor space at the front of the property. It’s a good idea to choose plants, trees or floral arrangements that complement the style of the house. If you have a modern home, for example, small trees and planters are fabulous, low-maintenance additions to the porch or patio. If you have a quaint cottage, window boxes and hanging baskets are ideal.
If you have gravelled areas in your front garden, or your path or driveway is made up of gravel, make sure everything looks clean and tidy before you have buyers to visit. You might need to top up or refresh your gravel or define borders to distinguish spaces. This is a simple job, but it can make a real difference to the overall look of the property.
Pay attention to detail
Tasks like fixing fences and painting the facade of the house undoubtedly make an impression, but often, it’s the minor details that set one property apart from another. When you’re preparing your home for sale, or you’re thinking about adding value, pay attention to detail and take care to add finishing touches. Simple accents like a well-dressed window, a perfectly-positioned planter, a new doormat and a quirky knocker on the door can make all the difference.
Choose a style and stick to it
Many of us like to mix and match trends when overhauling the appearance of our homes. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, but it is wise to choose styles and design touches and concepts that work well together. If you go from one extreme to the other, the result can be confusing and muddled. Choose a style or a general vibe and stick to it. If you have a period home, for example, combining a traditional, coloured door with vintage door furniture, potted trees and a lantern mounted in the porch will work brilliantly. Likewise, if you have a modern property, adding stainless steel door furniture and chic stone planters will complement the style of your home.
Define the boundaries
Often, when people view houses, they want to get a sense of the space that’s available and see how the property fits in with the neighbours and where the plot extends to. If you have a front garden, a driveway or space at the side of your home, it’s useful to define the boundaries, so that you can see exactly what you’re looking at in terms of the patch you’re buying. You can use fencing, paving, turf or materials like gravel to create clear borders.
Get rid of rubbish
If there’s one thing that is bound to put people off buying a house, it’s a front garden or a driveway filled with bin bags. If you’re keen to attract people, keep rubbish at the back of the house safely secured within your wheelie bins. Bags of rubbish are an eyesore, they create the wrong impression and they might even attract unwanted visitors in the form of rats and mice looking for a midnight feast.
Put yourself in a prospective buyer’s shoes
Most of us love our homes, and this means that we can be a little biased when it comes to valuations and thinking about how our houses stack up against others in the local area. If you are hoping to sell or you want to increase the value of your home to grow your asset, putting yourself in a buyer’s shoes is a really useful exercise. When you pull up outside, take a good, long look at the property and make notes on what you see or notice. Be critical and think about what you would pick up on if you were seeing the house for the first time. Does the paintwork look tired? Could do the door do with a lick of paint? Is the garden tatty or overgrown? Does the exterior look bland or is there is too much going on? Once you’ve identified potential problems, you can start finding solutions and making changes that will increase saleability and add value simultaneously. It’s also incredibly helpful to use feedback from estate agents and people who have already viewed your property.
Kerb appeal is an important consideration for over two-thirds of buyers in the UK.
If you’re hoping to increase the value of your home and make it look amazing, making simple changes and investing in a few key areas can make all the difference.
Pay attention to detail, look out for red-flag signs like damaged roof tiles and worn-out windows, and add touches that will enhance the look of your home and make it more welcoming and enticing. You don’t have to spend a fortune or devote hours to sprucing up your home and you should find that you reap the rewards of the tasks you do complete.