It's not a mystical thing - it's street appeal! The proven strategy of ensuring the front of your home is so appealing, it stops people in their tracks and conjures up feelings of instant attachment.
David, a dad of three children under the age of 8, recently bought a mid-century property on a large block in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs. He spied the triple-fronted brick veneer on his daily walk and was immediately drawn to the neat expanse of green lawn running from the low brick fence to the portico. It reminded him of his childhood – playing under the sprinkler and throwing a ball with his older brother.
“It was a beautifully kept front garden and it reminded me of home,” he recalled. “My mum loved to garden and dad took great pride in keeping it all well maintained.”
David called the agent that afternoon and within a couple of weeks, his five-month property search was over.
When Irene retired, she decided to move from her outer suburban family home to the inner north to be closer to her adult children. She wanted a smaller home, in a quiet leafy street, that would be easy to maintain. In hindsight she laughs how those prerequisites were swept away the moment she stood outside the quaint, weatherboard Edwardian home surrounded by a cottage garden of lavender and roses. The property was by no means low maintenance, but she fell for its charm.
Essentially street appeal can be the difference between a would-be buyer inspecting your property or walking away. From garden improvements to replacing an old front door, your agent will be able to guide you through the must-do tasks before your property hits the market.
The front garden should not only be neat and tidy, but eye-catching.
According to Australia’s gardening expert Charlie Albone a well-cared garden will impact buyers differently.
“Some will connect and love the plants, some will see areas that their children can play in, while others will see a lot of hard work.”
He said vendors should try and showcase the versatility of their garden “from spaces to entertain friends and family, to the rewards of a vegetable garden, or a beautiful lawn for the kids to play on. “
The key tasks are to: prune hedges and trees – this is particularly important if overgrown trees are limiting light into the house; mow the lawns; trim garden and path edges; high-pressure clean concrete or paved areas; and ensure there is a clear, safe pathway through to the front door.
If you have time to regenerate some tired looking beds, go with some seasonal highlights. Selling in spring? Ensure your garden captures the freshness and colour of the season with a swathe of spring bulbs such as daffodils. If you’re going to be on the market in autumn, a showy plant such as a red-leaf Japanese maple will create an eye-catching focal point. In winter, flowering magnolias can achieve the same effect.
The sight and sound of a bubbling water fountain can also add a magical touch to a garden.
Light it up
Once your property hits the market, you can expect a stream of would-be buyers driving by before deciding to inspect it. And this is where some beautiful lighting can be an advantage.
Installing solar powered lights along a garden path, or positioning lights under a beautiful tree, will illuminate both the garden and the façade of the house. And leaving the outdoor lights on at night will provide an inviting feel.
Fix those fences
If there is any sign that the front fence is ageing or unstable, it should be replaced. But if it’s simply looking tired, a coat of paint can give it a sufficient lift. Be sure to tie the fence in with the colour themes and style of the house. A quant picket fence will look out of place in a modern streetscape, as will a big brick fence that hides away a character home. If your property doesn’t have a fence, consider adding one. It can add character, a sense of security, and create a more functional front yard.
No dowdy letterboxes
Who would have thought that a little old letterbox could distract from a property’s street appeal. Well, according to experienced agents it can. So, it’s a simple fix – either paint or replace a letterbox that is looking like it’s falling to pieces; and ensure it carries a street number so prospective buyers can find the property easily.
Make an entrance
Interior designers and former Block contestant Alisa and Lysandra Fraser are big on making a statement with the front door. They advise renovators to look at the door as a taste of what’s to come inside.
“Look into either painting a door, adding a unique door handle or knocker, or adding personality to use the front porch with good lighting and a pot with some greenery,” says Lysandra. At a minimum, if you have been putting up with a front door lock that doesn’t work properly, or a door that sticks when you try to open it, these fix-it talks should be on your pre-selling list.
You should also remove any screen doors that look worse for wear; and consider replacing a front door that is worn, scratched or damaged in any way.
Painting and windows
The façade of a property can be immediately lifted with a new coat of paint; and the impact of a freshly painted house on would-be buyers, is worth the cost of a professional painter. Once the window frames are repainted, they need to remain cobweb-free and sparkling clean throughout the selling period. Any deteriorating flyscreens should also be replaced.
Don’t forget the garage door
If from the outside of the property, the garage door is a dominant feature and detracts from the overall look of the house, it can be repainted or upgraded. It’s all a part of the dressing-up and improvement of the property’s street appeal.
A final word from Andrew Winter
TV real estate guru Andrew Winters says would-be vendors should consider the appeal of a property “as an overall package”.
“You need to think about the impressions a property gives from the moment someone pulls up – from the entry gate, to the façade, to the front door and gardens,” he told the Herald Sun recently.
“There’s no point having an amazing kitchen if the rest of your home doesn’t look good.”
The co-host of Foxtel Lifestyle show "Love It Or List It Australia", also warned against relying on a “generic” percentage of the value of your home to work out how much to spend on pre-sale touch-ups.
He urged vendors to realistically determine what their property was worth, how much more they were hoping to sell for, and make sure they don’t spend the difference on updates.
“If your home is worth $500,000, but you want $550,000, can you achieve that by spending $25,000?” he said.
If you are an investor, seller or buyer and would like help from our team, please contact us today.