There are all sorts of sayings about why you shouldnt judge a book by its cover; that it is what is on the inside which counts.
But when it comes to property, it seems that doesnt hold true. Instead, vendors should be thinking about how first impressions count.
According to latest figures, one in six home hunters take only 10 seconds to decide whether they like a property from the outside.
Apparently, a third of buyers will make a decision purely based on a propertys exterior alone and wont even bother to make an appointment to view inside if they think it falls short of their standards.
Nearly half said they would make an offer of up to 20 per cent less than the asking price if they didnt believe the exterior had kerb appeal. With an average home in the North East costing £153,000, that could shave around £30,000 off the price youre hoping to achieve.
So, what should you be concentrating on to add value to your home?
A well-kept garden came top of the most desirable features of a homes exterior, followed by double glazing, a parking space and appealing neighbouring properties and gardens.
The colour of front doors hit the headlines in Middlesbrough recently after asylum seekers said they were victims of anti-social behaviour because they were easy targets as their doors were all painted red. Their doors have now been repainted in varying hues, and it would seem house sellers should also be thinking carefully about what colour they paint their front door to make a sale.
A survey of potential buyers found that muted, or neutral colours were preferred, with white and black topping the list. Orange, pink and purple were the least popular choices.
The biggest exterior turn-off was obvious signs of vermin control outside the property, followed by untidy front gardens, busy transport links and noisy pubs or fast-food outlets being nearby.
While there are clearly some things which are outside your control, such as whether your neighbour tidies their garden or whether you have a takeaway venue on the corner of your street, there are others which you can easily take care off.
Make sure your driveway and path are weed free and leaves are swept up, dont leave your rubbish bins out and clean your windows. If your viewer is visiting in the evening, turn on external lights to create a welcoming feel.
If a house looks unloved on the outside, it is hard to turn around that impression once a viewer gets inside. By taking care of the small details, you can make a huge difference to the number of potential buyers you get through your, freshly painted, door.
Martin Williamson is Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington. Latimer Hinks has a team of around 40 people serving private and corporate clients. For further information: www.latimerhinks.co.uk or call 01325 341500.
Please note: This article is intended as guidance only and does not constitute advice, financial or otherwise.
For further information please contact Martin Williamson