We all know first impressions count during job interviews and blind dates, and it’s equally true when selling your home. Kerb appeal (or street appeal) is the instant impression your home gives to someone driving or walking past. While the interior of your home may be tip-top, it’s equally important to make sure the exterior looks incredible too.
Reap the rewards of investing in your home’s façade
Having an appealing façade and front yard will likely please your neighbours, but can street appeal really impact the value of your house? According to Cairns-based property expert James Fennell of Unique Property Sales & Staging, kerb appeal is very powerful.
‘In real estate, first impressions set the platform for the rest of the discussion. So, if the first impression is uplifting, then the buyer gets excited. If the first impression leads to doubt, then the entire process gets infected with suspicion, as people are looking for problems,’ he says, adding that some buyers fall in love with a property not from an online search, but when walking or driving past it.
7 simple ways to boost your home’s kerb appeal
Brisbane-based landscape designer Clare James helps her clients to create their dream gardens. Here she shares some cost-effective home exterior ideas that will improve the kerb appeal of your house.
1. Fix your fence
‘A broken fence or front gate can be a turn-off and let the property down. So, either fixing or painting your front fence and gate can make a big difference,’ says Clare.
Whether you choose to go for a classic white picket fence or a modern charcoal fence, an investment in revamping your front boundary will result in creating a much better first impression on potential buyers.
2. Frame the front door
Clare recommends adding two potted plants either side of the front door to frame the entryway with some greenery. You don’t need to spend much money, just two peace lilies in a terracotta pot or concrete fluted planter will make an impact. Buy the plants in the days before your open house to ensure maximum freshness.
3. Plant a feature tree
Adding a feature tree to soften the front garden is something Clare often suggests to clients. Depending on your property’s location, size and soil type, there are many different species of trees well-suited to front yards. Native gardenias, crepe myrtles or frangipanis are some of Clare’s go-to trees when landscape designing front yards.
4. Give your lawn some love
‘If your lawn is full of weeds or looking a bit dry and sad, then consider putting in some new turf or feed and water it really well,’ says Clare.
5. Clean your driveway
If you’ve got a concrete driveway, blast away all the grime, oil and dirt with a high-pressure cleaner you can easily hire from a hardware store. A fresh driveaway will make all the difference to how buyers perceive your home.
6. Perfect the path
If your front garden doesn’t have a clear path to the front door, consider creating one to make an impact on buyers when they first walk towards the entrance to your home.
‘If you have a front path that's a bit uneven, there's some really nice stone steppers or tiles that you can buy, like bluestone or granite,’ says Clare.
7. Forget fads
Clare has seen many garden trends come and go, and she believes it’s best to stay away from fads that typically don’t date well and can repel potential buyers.
Instead, stick to the tried-and-true classics that blend well with the local neighbourhood. While you may love the mid-century minimalist look (think white pebbles and large cacti) some buyers will be turned off by seeing a Palm Springs-style front garden in a leafy, suburban street in Australia.
Small changes, big impact
Monique Fennell, also from Unique Property Sales & Staging, says you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make an impact. Simple things like adding a new mailbox, replacing house numbers and modernising your front door can make a world of difference.
Above all else, she recommends removing excess items from the exterior of your property before an open house to help buyers see the potential.
’It’s important to declutter the front of your house. So, remove your garden ornaments, kid’s toys and trampolines, and hide garbage bins in the garage.
‘You want your buyer to visualise their belongings there. Anything that doesn't need to be there, needs to be taken away,’ says Monique.
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