News & insights

First impressions really do count

7th November 2019

First impressions really do count

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so if you’re selling your property, improving your kerb appeal should be a high priority if you want to catch that all-important buyer.

Many people treat buying a property like internet dating – they scan through the pictures, pick the ones they think are most attractive in the right geographic area, then set up a date.

However, if in reality the house doesn’t look like the estate agent’s pictures, potential buyers could be left feeling like they’ve been catfished.

According to recent research by Foxtons, it takes people on average eight minutes to decide whether or not they are interested in a property, with six in ten deciding against a property before they’ve even set foot over the threshold.

Conversely, 15 per cent of respondents said that it was ‘love at first sight,’ and knew they would buy their new home before they even set foot inside.

Henry Carver, from Nick and Gordon Carver Residential, is no stranger to this concept.

He said: “We see it a lot, where a seller will make their house look its best for the photographs, and when it comes to a viewing, the property is in bad shape and it puts the potential buyer off.

“As simple as it might sound, making sure the garden is well tended makes a huge difference. Mowing the lawn, keeping on top of the weeding, and having some attractive plants in pots or hanging baskets make your home look loved and well-tended to.

“Peeling or patchy paintwork will instantly make woodwork and masonry look old and shabby, so investing in re-painting wooden exteriors, steps and window sills to give instant kerb appeal.”

Other exterior elements you should consider are if there are any signs of pest control, such as mouse or rat traps, obvious outside the house, litter in the garden or on the road immediately in front of the home, or not being able to park easily when visiting the property. Remember, the buyer is imagining themselves living there for a long time. It won’t be an attractive idea to them if it takes ten minutes to find a parking space.

There will, of course, be some first impression no-nos that will be out of your control, such as being near a noisy main road or under a flight path, having a busy take away on the corner of your street, or your neighbours not putting their bins away, however if you make small improvements where you can, it can make all the difference.

Henry Carver added: “People often think decluttering is only an indoors job, however clearing away unnecessary ‘junk’ from the front of your house can go a long way to making a great first impression. This could include sweeping up leaves, putting away any children’s toys, picking up any litter, and pulling up any weeds. These are simple ways to make a big improvement and are often forgotten by sellers after they have gone to the trouble of having lovely photos taken to advertise their house.”

If a property doesn’t look its best when potential buyers arrive, it is hard to change that impression once they get inside. By making sure the finer details are taken care of, you could see buyers falling in love with your home, rather than swiping left and on to the next one.

Written by Martin Williamson, Director and Head of Residential Property.

Please note: This article is intended as guidance only. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. In addition, no responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by the firm.

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