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Renovating for Kerb Appeal

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 11 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
Kerb Appeal Renovation Property House

The phrase kerb appeal is heard a great deal these days in connection with property renovation and development as first impressions really matter. No property makeover show or house doctoring programme would be complete without addressing the property frontage, particularly if the owners are trying to sell.

Property Frontage When Not Selling

A renovation for yourself is a different matter. If you are changing the internals of a property so that you can live the way you want to live, then you can largely forget about kerb appeal. The way your property frontage looks may annoy your neighbours. But if you can live with it then it makes sense to leave it until you have the time, money and energy to make the effort.

This is particularly true if you are doing a lot of work and you have lorries delivering loads of sand and other building materials. You might as well leave the frontage until everything else is complete.

Kerb Appeal for a Property Sale

But if your renovation project is all about getting the property ready for sale then it's a different matter and first impressions are very important. Although it still makes sense to leave the frontage until all the dirty work has been done, you really need to sort the kerb appeal out before any prospective buyers see it, and definitely before any photographs are taken.

But what do you have to do to give your property kerb appeal? The answer, of course, is that it's different for everyone. But the main thing is to get the property looking clean, tidy and appealing from the kerb so that the first impressions buyers get are good ones. And how that is done will vary from property to property.

Get the Basics of Kerb Appeal Right

The basics are the same for every house though. Start with a thorough clean up, removing any litter and washing down the façade of the house, any paving stones or other hard landscaping. Then get rid of any weeds that have encroached. You'd be amazed at the difference that these two simple and cheap jobs can make.

If you have any garden gates, walls or fencing make sure that this is all repaired, cleaned up and then re-painted or treated. Don’t be tempted to paint over rust or mould as it will come through very quickly. Rub down wood and de-rust any metal fittings before applying a new finish.

Repair or Replace?

As with anything else in a renovation project, assess whether replacing items at the front will be better than rubbing down and re-painting or treating. One idea to tell you whether you should replace or repair is to look at the neighbouring properties. If they look like they've been spruced up recently then go for it.

But if they haven't, and are a little run down themselves, don't go too far with your renovation as your property will stick out like a sore thumb. This in turn may emphasise the run-down nature of the street as a whole, and put some people off. It's a tricky balancing act to pull off.

Pay for Your Neighbours Renovation

An alternative approach, if there is a particularly run-down house adjacent, is to pay to clear that property up. This might sound like a stupid thing to do but if a couple of hundred pounds spent on someone else's property means you can get a couple of thousand more for yours, or sell it faster, then it might be worthwhile.

Once the tidy-up is complete, look at landscaping the garden area. If it is stocked with plants and the lawn is in reasonably good condition then a prune and tidy may be enough. But if the contractors' lorries have made a mess of it all then consider putting gravel down and putting in a few small beds or container plants. Buy mature plants from the garden centre so that it all looks great straight away.

Don't Underestimate Kerb Appeal

You may think that spending money of kerb appeal is wasted. But studies have shown the importance of first impressions in all sorts of situations and a house sale is no different.

People make their minds up very quickly about whether or not they are going to buy a house and kerb appeal is a huge part of that. So it's well worth spending time and effort getting it right.

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