Selling up? Hide the BMW and invest in a photographer

Most house-hunters take just ten seconds to decide whether they like a property from the outside, according to the latest number crunching.Research by Barclays Mortgages shows that more than a third of buyers make their decisions based purely on the property's exterior and they won't even venture inside if they're unimpressed.

It pays to be a savvy seller

Almost half of buyers would take up to 20 per cent off the asking price if the exterior was not appealing, which means the average home in Yorkshire could lose £36,800 of its value based on the region’s average house price of £184,000.

Barclays discovered that buyers love hanging baskets and a neat lawn, while fake grass is a big turn-off. Classic white and black top the list of favourite colours for front doors. When it comes to cars in the drive, a BMW portrays the least appealing image of a property, while a Mini gives the best impression.

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Craig Calder, Director of Barclays Mortgages, says: “We would encourage all homeowners to think about their property’s kerb appeal and understand that getting the small details right can really boost the financial value of your home.”

While kerb appeal is vital, it isn’t the only issue you should consider when preparing to put your home on the market. Choosing the right estate agent, getting professional photography, good marketing and a reasonable price are also crucial. Yorkshire-based property buying and selling consultant Alex Goldstein has a few tips:

*Choose the right estate agent: It sounds obvious but so many vendors trip up at this early stage. Ensure that your choice of agent is aligned to the specific type, price and location of your home. Check that they have experience in selling homes similar to yours. If you have a townhouse with a modern interior, there is little point instructing an agent whose properties tend to be rural and in a completely different price bracket. Why do vendors end up appointing the wrong agent? The simple answer is that estate agents are excellent sales people. Of course, they love your home and they can sell it, what salesperson would sit down with you and tell you otherwise?

An estate agent is only ever as good as their front-of-house team. So remember that the valuer sitting in your kitchen is out on the road seeing potential clients much of the time. The office-based team handle most of the incoming calls and walk-in enquiries. So go in as a prospective purchaser and see how attentive and knowledgeable the staff are.

*Pictures. Without question, the best money you can spend is on a professional photographer. This applies whether you have a two-bedroom terraced house or a mansion. The principles are the same. A trained photographer, rather than an estate agent with a point and press camera, will make all the difference. They are experts. A would-be buyer will often make a decision on whether to view or not based on the property’s pictures so invest in them.

*The key principles of estate agency are to fully test the market and every possible avenue to find you a buyer. This includes mail-outs, telephone calls, social media, newspaper advertising, possible editorial, website entries, for sale board, accompanied viewings,

front-of-house staff knowing about your home etc. Effective marketing involves all of these aspects so make sure you don’t instruct a one-trick pony

*Price. This is one of the most important areas and is a delicate balancing act. Overpitch the price and you risk putting off buyers instantly. Under pitch and you will receive multiple low offers, as buyers think you are desperate to sell. An agent is there to guide you on the right tactics for the market. They are at the coalface each day, seeing numerous properties, speaking with buyers and they know what works and what does not. Ensure you judge an estate agent on more than price alone and never instruct an agent just because they quoted the highest guide price for your home. Any idiot can do this. The key is to accept good advice and go with gut instinct. Look beyond the guide price, to what an agent can actually offer you.