In north London a messy home could knock tens of thousands off your sales price

Keep your home looking its best inside and out to attract buyers and tenants

Keep your home looking its best inside and out to attract buyers and tenants - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Property expert Simon Gerrard says how your property is presented both internally and externally is vital to attracting a buyer or tenant and to ensure you get the best price.

A new survey of 2,000 people conducted by Barclays Mortgages, found that the majority of house-hunters take just 10 seconds to decide whether they like a property from the outside. Poor presentation can put off potential buyers and tenants before they even step inside. In fact 35 per cent said they wouldn’t even enter a property if they were unhappy with its exterior.

I have written in the past about the importance of properly preparing your property before you place it actively on the market, and making sure it looks its best for buyers when they come to view. Carrying out simple steps and pre-empting potential issues really can add thousands of pounds to the price you can achieve.

The research conducted by Barclays Mortgages found that 44 per cent of homebuyers would offer 20 per cent less than the asking price if they felt the exterior was untidy or needed work. This could knock tens of thousands of pounds off your sale price. Indeed, if this is correct, in Highgate it would mean £340,000 off the average price.

A well-manicured garden was voted the most attractive external feature. A messy garden signals the need for too much work and effort, and thus buyers will make lower offers if they make an offer at all. Buyers said the garden features they found most appealing were hanging baskets, flowerpots and a neat grass lawn.

When it came to front doors, muted colours are best with white and black topping the list of colours people favoured, while orange, pink and purple were among the least popular choices.

The weather will obviously have a major impact on the presentation. The storms we have recently experienced could have caused damage which may not be immediately apparent but will cause issues when a potential buyer has a survey.

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Inspect the roof and ridge tiles to see if any tiles are missing or have slipped. Check the gutters and drain covers are properly cleared of dead leaves and other debris as leaky gutters and down pipes cause damage and are unsightly.

It is also advisable to fix or secure loose fence panels or gates and cut back overhanging branches and remove any deadwood, this will help brighten the property. High winds and ice can break weak trees and branches which could cause major damage.

Whilst it is obvious that the property should be as clean and tidy as possible, most sellers overlook the importance of de-cluttering. By placing in storage things you don’t use but can’t bear to part with, you enable that potential purchaser to see how they could best utilise the space.

Remember that whilst the property is presently your home, when it comes to selling it should be presented in the best way possible for someone else to see how they could make it their home.

In the survey, one in three buyers voted new build homes as their preferred property style due to the low maintenance costs. However a main draw for people in north London are the Victorian and Edwardian character properties.

The amount of effort and money you spend on your property to get it ready for market will depend heavily on the size, age and style. I would strongly recommend calling in your local NAEA estate agent before you begin any work.

Simon Gerrard is the managing director of north London estate agents Martyn Gerrard.