Expert Anna Hart explains how you can maximize your kerb appeal.

Kerb appeal is the term used to describe the attractiveness of your house from the road or if it can’t be seen from the road, the position from which buyers will first see your house. 

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Kerb appeal is critically important in your listing photography because it informs a buyer’s first impression - how many houses have put you off buying simply because you didn’t like the look of the house from the outside?

The front exterior shot is the most commonly used ‘lead’ photograph on a Zoopla listing. It is the first of your set of photos and the one that shows up on search results pages, and its main job is to get people to ‘click through’ into the main house listing to see more photos and details.

If your exterior shot isn’t good, then you’ll probably have a low ‘click-through rate’ meaning that not many people are interested enough in the first image to click on and find out more. This is where kerb appeal comes in, by helping you get the most attractive front exterior shot possible and maximise the number of buyers who see the entire house listing.

Kerb appeal is also important for viewings, both formally arranged viewings and those that might take place day or night on a ‘drive-by’ visit. The appearance of the house in real life must match up to a good-looking image online, otherwise buyers will be disappointed. Because drive-bys can occur at any stage during the marketing period, it’s crucial that you maintain your kerb appeal throughout the entire time you’re on the market.

So what elements make up good kerb appeal?

The design of your house and front garden or entryway forms a large part of your kerb appeal and in many cases, it cannot be changed without great expense. However, its appeal can be maximised by ensuring that paintwork is fresh, render and any hard landscaping is clean and in good condition, windows and doors are sparkling clean and all hedges, planting and lawned areas are neat and tidy. For photography, getting sunlight on the front face of the house and a blue sky behind will definitely help.

Anna’s top five tips for maximising kerb appeal:

  1. Pay special attention to your front door. It’s the focal point that buyers will be subconsciously looking for so make sure you give them a really positive feature to look at. Giving wooden doors a fresh new coat of paint in a classic front door colour such as black, navy, red or racing green will give your frontage an instant face lift. Plastic or composite doors can be cleaned using specialist products to restore whiteness, and don’t forget your door furniture. Polish up metal letterboxes, house numbers and door-knockers and consider replacing them if they’re past their best.
  2. Give driveways and patios a new lease of life. Most paved, concrete or Tarmac driveways will look far better once they’ve been thoroughly cleaned with a pressure washer, but be sure to test on an inconspicuous area first.You could also use it to clean rendered surfaces, and you really should clean the patio or decking while you’re at it.
  3. Spruce up your boundaries. Where your property starts and ends will be a key question in a buyer’s mind, so make it obvious and make it attractive. Give wooden fences and gates a new coat of stain, re-paint metalwork and make sure all gates function properly. Trim hedges neatly and prune any planting next to doors and pathways.
  4. Always have something green, but keep planting under control. Weeds are definitely not allowed when you’re trying to sell your house, so keep on top of the weeding weekly. Make sure the grass is green and mown regularly during the spring to autumn months, sweep dead leaves away whenever they start to gather on your property and keep trees, shrubs and other plants neat and tidy. All exterior shots look better with something living in them, so if you don’t have a garden at the front, add colourful flowers in pots or hanging baskets to disguise ugly features or to provide a welcoming display near the front door.
  5. Don’t forget what’s just outside your property. The road and pavement outside may technically be the Council’s responsibility, but when you’re selling it makes sense to pick litter and sweep leaves yourself to make sure you’re creating the best first impression of the area. If a neighbouring house doesn’t look that great, what could you do to improve matters? Could you offer to take rubbish to the tip for them, give them a hand with the garden or include their house if you’re getting any work done to yours and share the cost? Go the extra mile and you will be rewarded.

For sale:

1. This semi-detached house in Up Hatherley, Cheltenham, has a lot of elements that make up its kerb appeal. The hedge and shrubs are neatly cut, the lawn green and recently mown, the flower bed tidy and colourful, plus there are further planted containers softening the hard lines of the garage and providing a welcome at the front door. There are only two things I would suggest to further add to this property’s kerb appeal - you can see how the block paved driveway would benefit from a clean with a pressure washer by looking at the square patch near the pavement, and I would definitely hide the green bin.

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2. It’s easy to get great kerb appeal when your home looks like this two bedroom flat in Southam Road, Cheltenham.

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3. The kerb appeal at this three bedroom semi-detached house in Cheltenham would have been even greater if the car had been moved out of shot.

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Anna Hart is an expert in staging homes for sale, working with house sellers to maximise their chances of selling as quickly and as profitably as possible. 

Some information contained herein may have changed since it was first published. Zoopla strongly advises you to seek current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional.

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