A survey sponsored by estate agent, Foxtons, recently got wide press coverage when it revealed that the average home buyer makes up their mind about a property, in just eight minutes. This proves yet again, that first impressions are the crucial factor in whether you achieve your asking price, or get stuck with a property that won’t shift and has gone stale.
But don’t despair – we’ve got plenty of tips on how to achieve buyer appeal without spending a fortune. Some simple fixes can make all the difference between an unsuccessful viewing and a juicy offer.
Get the Buyer Through the Door
The first challenge is to get the buyer to make that all important viewing appointment. So kerb appeal is definitely important. 15% of people in the Foxton poll said that a poorly maintained front door would deter them from viewing the property. If your front door could do with a refresh, or even a good clean, make this a priority. Polish any door furniture, and if your house number looks tatty, upgrade to a better one, along with a new doormat. None of these fixes are expensive – but they’ll make a world of difference.
Make the Front Area Look Inviting
Tidy the front garden and sweep the path daily while the property is on the market. A couple of matching shrubs in pots near the front door will make your home look smart. If you have a flat in a block, do a quick tour of the common areas, and the front entrance, and pick up litter.
If you have a path up to the front door, make sure it is weed free, and power wash it if necessary. Hide rubbish bins out of sight – you can always buy a cheap screen. Local garden centres do trellis that will provide a cheap option for hiding the bins.
Don’t Let a Sad Looking Garden Depress Your Buyer
There are few things more dispiriting than a garden which is neglected, and overrun with weeds. It sends a message that maintaining the garden is a struggle, and this is the type of area in which people don’t bother much with their surroundings.
Yet a neat garden can be a real asset. It doesn’t have to be full of plants – a keen gardener won’t mind stocking a garden with their own plants but will mind the thought of six months’ weeding before they can plant anything. So weed, mow, rake off leaves, prune straggly shrubs and dig over any empty beds. All the rubbish must go to the tip – don’t leave it bagged up at the end of the garden.
Declutter, then Clean, Clean, Clean
The bathroom needs to be at a hotel standard of cleanliness with no hint of grunge. Put away items such as sponges and flannels, invest in a good shower gel and nice bar of soap, buy a new toilet brush and holder, and consider a new toilet seat. Matching towels are a must.
For the rest of the house – it’s often repeated, but decluttering really does help to make your home look bigger, and prevents the buyer being distracted by your possessions.
Kitchen Updates Needn’t Be Expensive
If your kitchen cupboards and work surfaces are looking tired, there are companies that will change just these items, without the cost of installing a new kitchen. If that’s still too expensive, clean tiling, grout and work surfaces thoroughly, and use specialist ceramic or stainless steel cleaners to get surfaces gleaming. Think about fitting a new blind, and changing to brighter light bulbs to show off how clean the kitchen is.
Try these tips and you should soon be getting the viewings and offers you’re after, and a while afterwards, you should be on the move yourself.