We show hundreds of people round houses every year. As estate agents, we pick-up on what buyers are focusing on. When it comes to spending your hard-earned cash on home improvements, are you focusing on the right things? It only takes seven seconds for someone to make a first impression, it’s no wonder people take so much notice of the things they see first.
The top five things people notice about your home on arrival are:
1. Front door / porch (30%)
2. Hallway/entry hall/staircase (30%)
3. Driveway / front garden (27%)
4. Overall decor / Interior design (25%)
5. Living room (23%)
Although the entrance to a home is ranked the most noticeable, only 2% of people focus on this area of their own home when they first move in, with the majority confessing they chose to fix up their kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms first.
Looking at the difference between the sexes, 28% of women notice the overall décor of a home compared to just 21% of men, and strangely, women are also quicker to notice the smell of a home compared to men (20% for women vs 13% for men). When it comes to the ages, the under 35’s are quick to notice integrated technology compared to just 2% of over 35’s.
So what can you do to make the best impression, help sell your home and possible even add value? Our top tips are:
1. Front Door
It’s no surprise that the front door is the first thing that people see about your home, and it is now often seen as a reflection of your taste and lifestyle. Entrances should feel protective yet warm and welcoming. Achieving this with a bog-standard front door can be difficult. Consider what impression you want to give to your buyers.
Homeowners themselves don’t spend too much of their time in the hallway or stairwell, so it’s often forgotten, but it’s arguably the most important part of the home. Sitting in the centre and leading off into other rooms, the hallway can be a busy area, and is the second (30%) most noticeable thing about your home, so it’s important to keep it looking its best.
There are multiple ways of dressing up a hallway with a quick splash of fresh paint or a new runner on the stairs. For wooden stairs, painting the vertical side of each step can liven things up, and add heaps of personality. Laying down new floor tiles will dramatically change the look and feel of a hallway, and adding typical hallway furniture will make any hallway more inviting. A cheaper alternative to add personality is with a picture gallery leading upstairs, giving guests an insight into what is important to you.
However, it’s also important to remember that the hallway is a very functional space, so don’t do anything that could sabotage that, such as laying a luxurious carpet that is bound to get ruined by dirty shoes.
3. Front garden
It is possible to achieve a low maintenance garden which has maximum visual impact; bay trees on the patio will look smart, or even invest in a few shrubs or colourful pots to keep your garden looking healthy and green during the winter months. Ten years ago, astroturf was hardly ever seen and now it’s the norm in many properties.
Highlight your front garden’s best features using lighting. The great thing about garden lighting is that you can focus attention away from your garden’s more unsightly aspects, such as your bin shed, and toward your front door- as if to say, ‘come on in!’.
4. Overall decor
With so many different rooms to change, changing the overall decor of a home is harder than it sounds. If you don’t have an eye for interior design or have an unusual style, sticking to a soft colour scheme and adding your personality in with your own furniture and homeware is always a safe bet.
A simple way to freshen up your new home in the early days of living there is to add artwork. Framed in coordinating frames, artwork will add fluidity between the rooms and instantly add personality, making the space feel like your own until you have the time and the budget to tackle larger projects.
5. Living room
Living rooms are all about a welcoming atmosphere. Building charm and character aren’t always the easiest, especially in newer homes, but there are some ways to get around this. Architectural lighting work particularly well, something that stands out and creates a focal point within the room. Feature wallpaper in neutral colours can also be used to create strong accent walls, and give character to space.”