Consciously or not, anyone who’s ever bought a home knows all about kerb appeal. It’s the property market equivalent of love at first sight: when a home has kerb appeal, prospective buyers find themselves wondering how they can make their lives fit the property and not the other way around.
This is an especially important consideration because house buying tends to be a ‘blink’ decision, with buyers deciding in a split second whether the property they’re viewing has sufficient wow factor.
Although kerb appeal probably won’t add monetary value to your sale, it vastly increases the chances of an offer being made. So it’s not a factor you can afford to ignore when you come to sell your home. Defining the features that give a property kerb appeal isn’t easy, but the appearance of your front garden undoubtedly plays a central role.
Culture plays a part in kerb appeal: even in some well-to-do suburbs it’s not unusual to see sofas in the front gardens of houses. But in Britain that’s more the hallmark of an irreversible lowering of standards.
So the first thing to do when you want to enhance your home’s kerb appeal is clear away any articles which might make the garden look unkempt, including broken or discoloured garden furniture.
Opinions vary over how pristine the garden fixtures and fitting should be, with some buyers seeing charm in a patina of mosses and lichens. Taste aside, even if you leave the wildlife growing on your paving stones or railings, it should be such that it doesn’t present a hazard to health and safety by making the area slippery when wet.
Neither do you wish to alienate buyers by leaving green stains on the seat of their white jeans or splinters in their bottoms.
Whether or not to choose to power wash your drive and garden path, you should certainly make sure that it’s swept of debris and fallen leaves.
All cars, boats and motorcycles should be parked tidily and, if they’re covered with tarpaulin, the covers should be in good condition. Driveways and paths should be in an excellent state of repair: if any part is sagging, cracked or loose, it must be re-set or repaired before you advertise your home.
If you want to go the whole hog and don’t mind investing some money in the process, replacing your steps and paving with Portland stone makes good sense. This creamy white, distinguished limestone always creates an impression of classical elegance.
Even if you don’t have the budget to go to these lengths, at the very least make sure your garden gate is freshly painted and its style in keeping with the rest of your home’s vernacular, although a suitably impressive gate is even better.
Although this is a point frequently overlooked by homeowners, styling your home using a mishmash of styles always creates cognitive dissonance and reduces kerb appeal. So if you live in a 1970s bungalow with an art deco garden gate, Victorian wrought iron furniture and Tudor-style mullioned windows, you’ve got some work to do.
When making a sale is a more pressing necessity and you can’t afford the time or money for a major overhaul, there’s still plenty you can achieve. If all else fails, you can use greenery to screen the offending features.
Going back to basics never hurts. Even if your front lawn is mostly moss, keeping it neatly mowed with trimmed edges vastly improves its appearance. If you’ve got a difficult soil or shrubs drop down dead in your very presence, bring in appropriately styled planters and fill them with unkillable greenery like bamboos or rhododendrons.
Because house sales are often clinched in the blink of an eye, kerb appeal is a key concept to exploit when you’re selling your home. It’s a tricky thing to define and is dependent on culture and individual taste, but the appearance of a property’s front garden is central to its kerb appeal.
So if you want to improve your chances of clinching a quick sale, spruce up your front garden and stand back as your home’s kerb appeal skyrockets.