An appealing front door with bright paint, clear number plates and well kept potted plants, demonstrating Kerb Appeal: sell your home for more, with SAM Conveyancing
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Kerb Appeal; Sell Your Home for More

(Last Updated: 12/01/2024)
8 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Prospective buyers will form their first impression in just eight to twelve seconds
  • The top three most important aspects of curb appeal to buyers are windows, roof and front garden (YouGov)
  • Hiring a jet washer for the day will allow you to brighten up the fascia, external walls, windows and doors, path, paving, driveways and boundary walls, fences and gates in one go, allowing you to see where repairs and fresh paintwork is most needed.
  • Many of our recommended kerb appeal improvements are low cost with real results.
  • People smell and hear as well as look at your property

What is meant by kerb appeal?

Kerb appeal describes the first-impression aesthetic attractiveness of a house or other property from the street kerb (edge of the pavement). Kerb appeal has a huge impact on how a potential buyer will feel about the property and imagine themselves living there, and it starts a viewing off on the right foot. Improving your home's kerb appeal can add value and help prompt offers in a slower market.

The view from the street is an advert for what is inside, be careful not to overlook the exterior when preparing the home to sell. Take a look at the front of your house from the street, from a buyers point of view. What did you like when you bought the place? Is it still as good? Could anything be improved? Read on for our top tips on how to improve your home's kerb appeal for sale.

What is curb appeal?

Kerb appeal is called 'curb' appeal in the US and Canada, but in the UK curb means to restrain or keep in check. For example, it is good for a buyer to be positive about a viewing to show their offer is serious, but they may want to curb their enthusiasm so they don't appear too keen, or it will weaken their negotiating position.

How can I improve my kerb appeal?

Wow-factor windows

Windows are one of the more expensive things prospective buyers will be worried about having to replace if they've been neglected; badly maintained wooden windows can rot out causing damp and posing a safety issue. Make sure the windows and frames are clean and give them a coat of paint if required. Clean windows will also let in more light and make the interior feel brighter.

Don't forget the inside. What do the backs of your curtains look like when they're closed? Have they got mould or damp spots? Make sure this isn't on display for the world to see. Depending on the season, bright flowers or cosy candles in the window will make the interior feel more appealing before your viewers have even come through the front door.

Refresh the roof

Take a good look at the roof and gutters, is it ship shape? Missing tiles, loose or leaking guttering or peeling fascia boards can worry prospective buyers. This is a relatively affordable fix which goes a long way towards helping a home feeling well loved and well maintained.

These will be flagged by your buyer's surveyor, so as well as improving your kerb appeal this can also save you from having to knock the price down based on the survey.

Wack the weeds

Tidy up the front garden. An unkempt garden signals to your viewer, right off the bat, that buying this home is going to involve work, it might also indicate that the house needs more maintenance than a person can keep up with. Mow the lawn or wash the patio, trim the shrubs, deadhead the flowers, remove weeds and moss.

If it needs a little something extra, consider adding hanging baskets or a pair of potted arrangements either side of the door; even better, you can take these with you to your new home so it's a win-win.

Well washed walls

If you live in a busy town or near a main road, all the houses will likely have years of built up grime that you don't even notice. You can really lift your kerb appeal by hiring a pressure washer for the day and cleaning up the exterior of the property (and you can do the gutters, fascia, window frames, walls, door, path and driveway all in a oner). Make sure to make any repairs to the pointing and if consider repainting if the current finish is peeling or weather damaged.

Front door facelift

The front door is the first thing your prospective buyers will look at, as they'll be searching for the correct number on route to their viewing. It will need a good wash at the very least. If it's looking tired, it may need a sand and repaint or revarnish; or there are specialist products for sprucing up UPVC.

If opting for paint, choose a colour which is traditional and/or in keeping with the rest of the street, as people may be put off if it is too garish. If you own a period property, look up heritage colours for the era. Otherwise, classic colours such as navy blue, sage green, olive green or pillar-box red will help your home stand out.

Scrub & polish doorhandles, knockers, letterboxes and number plates. Consider replacing them (as well as the doorbell or doormat) if they've become too worn or damaged.

Dustbin disguise

Dirty and overflowing bins right in front of the house are an instant turn-off. Start by cleaning them or asking the council for a replacement if they have become damaged. If you can stash them around the back or in the garage, get them out of sight. If not, consider erecting a simple willow screen or building a sedum roofed bin shed which can double as secure bike storage, which a real draw for buyers, especially in the city.

Lighting lift

Installing an outdoor light can be expensive as it has to be connected to the mains but it makes your home feel safe and inviting. Alternatively, solar powered lights can be dotted around or installed along the path to the door, without the need for an electrician.

Pretty path & drive

Make sure the pathway and drive look fresh. Remove weeds and moss growing through the cracks and give both a good jet wash. Consider repairing or replacing any broken slabs, especially if they cause a trip hazard.

Good-looking gates & fences

Your viewers will be conscious of the property boundaries. Ensure the gate, fences and boundary walls are clean and functional, and give them a coat of paint if needed.

What other senses do buyers use?

Having a visually pleasing property is your top priority, but you must also make the property smell appealing and be quiet. This isn't always easy to do, so here are some top tips:

Smell appeal

  • Empty your bins. Empty your bins in the property and ensure the outside bins are closed. Overflowing bins release odours that can be very off-putting and could lead to infestations.
  • Don't use your loo. Try not to use your toilet before a viewing; especially if it is a number 2!
  • Febreeze the sofa. You often don't realise your own odour so whilst you plump your cushions before the viewing, give them a refreshing spray of Febreeze.
  • Bake a cake. The smell of baking creates a nostalgic memory for people which is why supermarkets pump that smell into their shops to make people buy more food. You can get this effect by baking a cake, or if you're not a confident baker, put a vanilla pod in the oven and turn the heat to 100 degrees - it'll trigger the same reaction.
  • Open the windows. By opening the windows you freshen up the house; however, make sure to close them if it is cold outside.

Noise appeal

  • Don't do viewings at rush hour. If you live on a busy street, only do viewings when the traffic is quieter outside. You'll know when these times are.
  • Turn the TV on. Most people watch TV, so seeing and hearing this in their new living room helps their visualisation. Your channel choice should be neutral: BBC News is good - definitely not Peppa Pig!
  • Close your windows. If it is noisy outside, close your windows to reduce the noise inside. The TV may even help cover this. If, however, you have birds tweeting in the garden, then open the windows.

Frequently Asked Questions
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Written by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.

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