Don’t be the Victim of a Drive-by!

Don’t be the Victim of a Drive-by!

Books can’t always be judged by their cover and an enticing sleeve or cool illustration can fool you into a regrettable purchase. Did your last holiday read live up to the cover that enticed you to lift it from the shelf at WH Smith in Edinburgh airport? Homes on the other hand, are very frequently judged by their cover and many buyers carry out a recce before they arrange a viewing by walking or driving past the property they’re thinking of viewing. You’ve most probably done it yourself?

If you’re selling and could quite possibly be the victim of a property drive-by, you need to make sure that you dodge the bullet of negative impressions and instead become a buyer’s target for all the right reasons. If it were your home that was coming under kerb side scrutiny would you be gunned down in the dirt or would your home be a hero?

The secret here is your kerb appeal.

The front of your home needs to be as close to picture-perfect as it can be. Not only does it create a good first impression of the owners, it puts potential buyers in positive spirits before they have even stepped in the door. By the time they approach the door we want, if at all possible, to have your viewer thinking “I could see myself living here”.

A lack of kerb appeal is however a surprisingly common reason why homes don’t get more viewings and because selling homes is in part a numbers game, you need to do everything you can to get eyeballs on your property and then to convert those into feet in your hallway. As a general rule and one which has held true for the majority of my near forty years in property, you need ten viewers to find a buyer although in fairness with demand still outstripping supply it is less right now.

So when you’re getting ready to sell, the first place to start is on the outside to ensure you do all you can to create the right first impression so that your browsers become buyers. We’re not talking major works here and nor are we talking of any significant investment or time or money. So what kind if things are we talking about then? Pretty common sense ones really and whilst this list isn’t exhaustive areas that should be considered are: –

  • Windows – If you have trouble looking out past sticky finger prints and dust on your windows on the inside, people will see that on the outside too. Give them a good clean and repeat regularly.
  • A bit of welcome colour – Whether or not you’re green fingered a hanging basket, a window box or few pots help create the right impression. Make sure you keep them watered and dead-headed though or else you’ll create an impression of neglect and carelessness which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
  • Front door – People are drawn to the front door at first glance. Make sure it stands out by giving it a fresh coat of paint. The colour should fit in with the look of your house, so don’t make it too garish. Gloss black always works well as do shades of blue. Polish doors brasses or replace these if tarnished beyond redemption.
  • Fences, gates and railings- If you have them make sure they’re in a decent state of repair and perhaps consider painting them. Whilst about it oil the hinges of gates so that when you actually physically get your first viewers the gate isn’t stiff making access difficult.
  • Neighbours – You would think your neighbour’s house wouldn’t matter, but sadly it does. If they have rubbish on the lawn or dismantled cars on the driveway or anything else for that matter which is unattractive and really doesn’t need to be there, ask them politely if you can remove it. To make your plan less obvious, offer a hand; if you’re mowing your lawn, say you’ll do theirs too. The last thing buyers want to see is dirty surrounding houses. If you’re in a tenement stair and some of the neighbouring flats on the way to yours are a bit unkempt why not buy everyone a matching doormat and pot plant to give the impression of a little price being taken in the communal areas? Remember what Kirsty and Phil would say – “Location, Location, Location”!
  • Bins – If you’re wheely bins are stored at the front of the house for convenience but can be relocated temporarily then do so. If they can’t try to make sure that they’re relatively clean and odour free.
  • Lighting – Some people might choose to do their drive-by after dark, so having some nice lighting or simply a small lamp in the porch or a few front garden lights adds a special touch. There are now some excellent and really quite powerful solar lamps so no need for electricians etc plus like lots of the props needed for staging they can accompany you to your new house once you’ve sold.
  • Clean & Neat – To give an overall good impression, ensure everything is as clean and spruce as possible. Get rid of the weeds, sweep the path, trim the lawn and make sure nothing unsightly is sitting on your drive, such as old toys, bikes, garden detritus etc.

By following straightforward tips such as these, the front of your home will be screaming with kerb appeal and just waiting to attract any interested party that wanders by your house. The effort is pretty minimal but the returns are potentially significant.

Here’s a little test to help you; why not take a picture of your home’s as a potential buyer would first see it, and see if you can consider a first impression from their point of view? It’s also always worth asking a good friend for an honest impartial appraisal but don’t be offended if they do have some constructive criticisms; you did ask after all.

If you’d like a professional opinion, please give us a call. We’d love to pop out and help you define your kerb appeal and of course, it’s a service we provide free of charge. We also have a list of tried and tested tradesmen we’ve dealt with over the years from painters to odd-job men to professional gardeners and landscapers all of whom can help you make your home stand out from the crowd. Call Michael on 01383 629726 or email

Ask a question