Property Advice

Kerb appeal of low-income houses is important

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter |
Kerb appeal of low-income houses is important

With the real estate market shifting downwards currently, those who own properties in low-income areas and who are considering selling their home, may be concerned that their property won’t receive the attention it deserves, and more so if there are a number of homes in the area that are similar in design, and competitively priced.

The solution is kerb appeal.

This is a term used to describe the attractiveness of a house when viewed from the sidewalk or road. It’s about creating a good first impression so that you can attract the lion’s share of potential buyers. It shows you care about your property and can even result in receiving a better price than expected.

The value of a home that has been well-maintained is likely going to be higher than a similar property that is unkempt. People are generally more receptive to buying a property if they can visualise themselves moving in, without the need to clean up first.

The challenge is how to enhance your property without it costing a large amount of money, and whether you can recover those expenses in the sale. Estate agents will often guide you in this regard but even if you can’t afford to action their suggestions for financial reasons, there are some other ways that are inexpensive that will lift the face of your home.

Before you start though, it is important to step outside and take a serious look at your property from the pavement or road. This requires you to be objective. You might ask a friend or someone else to help you do this.

Compare your property to your neighbours and even if it does score higher in your mind, think about what you can still do to make it the home of choice for potential buyers.

Here are some ideas:

  • Paint the front door. It can give your home a really attractive pull factor. If your house is painted a basic white, think about popping a bright colour onto the front door, but only the door - if you go too far, you will achieve the opposite affect. If paint is beyond your budget, consider approaching your neighbours to share in the cost of a tin of paint so they too can paint their doors. You could start a trend!

  • Garden and trees: Mow the lawn and weed. Trim edges and don’t forget to check paving for weeds, which can be removed using an old fork. A garden clean-up is something the entire family can do together, and they will be even more motivated by a small reward at the end of this chore, like a braai or packet of treats. Planting a tree or two can also make the garden more appealing.

  • Plants: If you can’t afford to buy plants, you might consider approaching friends, neighbours and family to take cuttings from their healthy plants. Some, like succulents, grow very quickly from just placing a cutting into a hole, and they don’t need much attention.

  • House number: A visible house number helps people to find your property easily. This can also be a family project if buying a new number is not an option. You might consider making use of stones and glueing those into an old picture frame, and mounting that on the wall. It should be a temporary measure while your home is up for sale.

  • Litter and dustbins. Clean up any rubbish lying around in the yard and sweep away dead leaves. Wash the inside and outside of the dustbin and place it where it can’t be seen from the front of the property. A quick sweep daily will keep the exterior looking well-tended.

  • Lighting: If your house has an outdoor light, check that the bulb is working. Garden solar lights are relatively inexpensive so it is worth considering placing a couple of these in strategic places to highlight some of the external features of your home at night. Many interested buyers do a drive-past at night to check the atmosphere of the area in the darker hours.

  • Pathway: If your home doesn’t already have a pathway, consider creating one that leads from your gate to the front door. Again you can ask the family to collect those when they are out and about, or perhaps organise a family hike where stones can be found. It may take some time to fill a pathway but it can have a wonderful outcome. Avoid sharp stones or those that crumble easily. An ice-cream treat for the child who brings the most stones to the path, will be a real incentive to get the job done quickly.

  • Roof and gutters: If roof tiles have moved, consider having someone climb onto the roof and moving them back into place. Clear out any debris from the gutters.

Once you have decluttered the garden and yard, don’t forget to maintain it while your property is on the market. While there are no promises that these efforts will definitely raise the property value, there is no doubt that they will raise interest.

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