First impressions count. Whether you are on a date or going for a job interview, if people decide they do not like what they see, that negative view tends to linger. When it comes to romance, there are plenty more fish in the sea, but when it comes to selling your home, you may not find another buyer.
With the majority of house hunting starting online, property listings will be the first port of call for buyers, so it is important to ensure that yours impresses as much as possible. When an interested buyer comes to view your home, though, that first impression packs an even bigger punch, whether it is made in the street walking up to your front door or the moment they step into your kitchen.
Here are 14 steps to make a good first impression:
1. Pick up litter
Recent research from Keep Britain Tidy found that even cigarette butts on the pavement or wheelie bins outside your home can cause your property price to fall between 2.7 per cent and 11.8 per cent. Pick up the litter in your driveway and the pavement immediately surrounding your home to ensure you do not miss out on some vital pennies.
2. Change the bins
Once you have removed any general letter, make sure your bins are not overflowing either: even it means asking your neighbours to share their bin space with you, a tidier exterior will be far more flattering to your home, as well as wallet.
3. Paint your door
A lick of parnish, or some simple varnish, can give your door a nice new lease of life, as well as protecting it from further scuffs. If you have already painted your door recently, what about your window frames, fence or gate?
4. Clear cobwebs
Dusting is not just for inside the home: clear the cobwebs from around your porch, so that everything looks nice (and feels new) to touch. Wiping your finger after ringing a doorbell is not the nicest way to start a viewing.
5. Change your bulbs
Good outdoor lighting is important, so that if any buyers are visiting your home during the night, they can still find the front door!
Even the tidiest, cleanest home can look grubby if the windows are dirty.
7. Get a new number
Already painted your front door? Why not consider getting a new number instead? A shiny chrome pair of digits can be eye-catching, which also make it easier to spot your home from the street.
8. Trim your hedge
Tall, unkempt hedges can be a deterrant for some - but, more importantly, they can also block the view to your house number, making your home harder to find.
9. Tidy the back garden
Your hedge may be perfect, but what about the back garden? Mowing the lawn and making sure any flower beds look neat will go a long way to making your home look like it's been well cared for.
10. Sweep the patio
As well as cutting the grass, sweeping the footpath or (if applicable) your patio will make it easier for buyers to walk through the garden to view the outside. During dark winter months, stepping in a pile of mud will only distract viewers from the rest of your property.
11. Move your car
Parking space is a priority for many house buyers. Moving your car - or politely requesting that neighbours do the same - immediately outside of your home will create a far more welcoming impression.
12. Get horticultural
Greenery is good. If you are not buying plants for the living room or kitchen, a couple of potted plants in your entrance hall, or even in the porch, can brighten things up nicely.
13. Think neutral
Everyone tells you to give your home a new lick of paint before selling. If you decide to do that, it is worth picking a neutral colour, to prevent offending anyone's eyes. It will also make it easier for people to project their own image of what the home could look like under their ownership.
Once all the above have been considered, do not forget to keep clutter to a minimum in each of your rooms: from photos of loved ones (see neutral colours above) to bits of bric-a-brac, a tidy home is one that is more likely to sell.