Expert View: How to make your property stand out from the crowd

Alastair Woodgate, Rumball Sedgwick

Alastair Woodgate, Rumball Sedgwick - Credit: Archant

Alastair Woodgate, director of St Albans and Watford based Rumball Sedgwick, chartered surveyors and property specialists, offers some expert insight.

The old adage ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ applies as much to property as anything else: with some studies saying it only takes eight seconds for the average buyer to decide whether or not they like your property you need to make sure your house doesn’t put off a prospective buyer.

Agents refer to the ‘kerb appeal’ of a property: what will a prospective buyer think as they pull up outside your house? If the porch gutter is hanging loose your potential buyer could spend the entire viewing looking out for other defects in the property. If the front garden is tidy and the entrance door newly painted giving the impression of a well-cared for home they’re more likely to concentrate on all the other positive features.

So, make sure the outside of your home is tidy and up to scratch. If the front door or front gate is looking tired enliven it with a coat of paint. New door furniture can give a welcoming impression of a home maintained to a high standard. If you can, move the bins out of view. Repair or replace any leaning or broken fence panels. A hanging basket or two will add colour. Many front gardens are now given over to car parking but that doesn’t stop you adding a few planted tubs to soften the appearance.

A good tip is to cross the road, stand back and take a look at your house. What impression does it give?

Let the light in! A strategically placed mirror will not only reflect light but also create a more spacious feeling. Take full advantage of all the windows in your property. Ensure they have been cleaned and curtains or blinds are pulled back to make the most of the light and the view. Prospective buyers can spend as much time looking out of a window as looking round a room.

If the weather is good, bring the outside in by throwing open the windows and doors. If you’ve got a well-stocked garden consider placing a vase of cuttings in the hall – it could be the starting point for a conversation about the delights of the garden.

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One of the biggest selling points is the kitchen, so keep work surfaces as clear and tidy as possible and keep strong cooking smells at bay.

Make sure all those downlighters and other bulbs are in working order, just in case your prospective buyer flicks a switch or two!

And of course, declutter! How many TV property programmes over the last few years have been built around that one premise? That doesn’t mean removing personal effects but maybe the piles of paperwork, and collections of ornaments just need to be put into storage for a while. Give buyers the best opportunity to picture themselves living in the house.

This may all be stating the obvious, but I see many examples where a little more attention to presentation could transform the ordinary to something special. None of these suggestions are particularly costly but they could encourage a queue of prospective buyers at your front door…

For advice on buying and selling contact Alastair on 01727 852384 or at