Whether it's on a first date, a job interview, or even viewing your potential new home, we all know that first impressions count. In fact, an overwhelming 93% of us judge a property before we’ve even stepped through the front door.
New research from Evolution Money highlights what features give prospective buyers a strong first impression of a home before even stepping foot inside it - and there is plenty to take note of.
According to the findings, cracks in the exterior walls (64%), damaged windows (61%), and a roof with missing or uneven tiling (57%) are the main issues that put Brits off a home ‘at first sight’.
Several simple and low-cost things to fix, such as an unmown lawn (26%), visible rubbish bins (21%), a very brightly coloured front door (19%), a lack of outdoor lighting (9%), and washing hanging outside (7%) can also put off many potential buyers.
External property features that can negatively affect that all-important ‘first impression’ with potential buyers:
1: Crack(s) in the outside walls – 64%
2: Damaged windows – 61%
3: A roof with missing/uneven tiling – 57%
4: A damaged front door – 54%
5: Leaky gutters – 49%
Other negative first impressions include missing pointing between brickwork, shabby front door, old-fashioned/single glazed windows, weeds in the garden and washing hanging outside.
First impressions can also work favourably, as some external features can enamour potential buyers to fall in love with a property before they’ve even passed over the threshold.
68% of house-hunters said they could be persuaded to offer more money for a home with ‘kerb appeal’, with three in ten (30%) prepared to offer an extra £5,000 or more.
So, what is most likely to impress potential buyers into offering more money for a property? Well, double glazed windows (37%), a well-maintained roof with no missing tiles (37%), and well-maintained plants or trees (25%) all came out on top.
While making these three changes could be expensive for the seller, there were a few lower-cost options that make a difference too. A freshly painted front door appeals to one in five (19%), alongside a neat lawn (19%), and freshly jet washed walls (13%) or paths (12%).
10% even said that a nice clean car on the driveway would give them a more positive first impression of a property and add to its ‘kerb appeal’ and even its potential value.
External property features that can positively affect that all-important ‘first impression’ with potential buyers:
1: A well-maintained roof with no missing tiles – 37%
2: Double glazed windows – 37%
3: Well maintained plants/trees – 25%
4: Freshly painted or pointed wall(s) – 24%
5: A freshly painted front door with decorative knocker – 19%
Other positive first impressions include a freshly mown garden with no weeds, security cameras, a bin storage unit, a freshly combed gravel driveway and a house name.
Hannah Dearden, Operations Marketing Executive from Evolution Money said: “Even if we’re not looking to buy a property, we all know that we form our opinions of any home as soon as we see it.
"Our research shows that for homeowners looking to sell, making small home improvements will help them achieve the best price. However, following the recent pandemic, it may not always be easy or straightforward to find the money to do the work and so a second charge mortgage can be a quick and cost-effective option.”
Property experts agree with the findings, suggesting that simple changes can seriously boost the chances of selling a property at a higher value.
Craig Bray, Divisional Director at Yopa estate agents, said: "Would-be sellers can really boost the value of their property with some simple, tactful renovations. At Yopa we estimate that simply improving your property's ‘kerb appeal’ with a freshly painted exterior, clean windows, clear gutters, a tidy driveway and a freshly painted front door can boost the value of a property by up to 10%.
“First impressions count, and the outside of your property is the first thing potential buyers will see, both when browsing online and in person at a viewing."