First impressions count when selling your home

You only get one chance to make good first impressions with prospective purchasers.

Most homeowners have become accustomed to property prices rising and although the pace of growth has weakened of late it is easy to forget that the average price of property coming to market in the UK now stands at a significant £226,185, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

It is natural that homeowners want to sell their property for as much money as possible, with the temptation to test the market and ask that little bit more. But with price-to-income values now at an historic high and the wider sense of market uncertainty growing, owed in part to Brexit, overpriced properties are simply not shifting, as purchasers become increasingly price sensitive.

The way a property is presented – externally and internally – can make a huge difference because first impressions are everything. If a property makes a great impression from the outside, house hunters will want to see what’s inside, and you do not want to disappoint them, especially with fresh research revealing that more than a third of homebuyers are prepared to make an offer on a property based on just one viewing lasting less than 30 minutes.

The poll of 2,000 homeowners for first direct found 36% had an offer accepted on their existing property after just one viewing, while just a quarter – 26% – had visited the property on at least three occasions prior to making an offer.

The key findings from the research include:

Avg no. of viewings Fewer than two viewings Avg no. of other offers made At least two other offers made
Overall 2.17 37% 0.92 22%
East Anglia 1.88 50% 0.76 21%
East Midlands 2.11 35% 0.73 22%
London 2.58 30% 1.10 27%
North East 2.20 31% 0.99 18%
North West 2.14 36% 0.76 19%
Northern Ireland 2.48 34% 1.12 24%
Scotland 2.04 45% 1.03 21%
South East 2.22 32% 0.88 22%
South West 2.17 41% 0.96 21%
Wales 2.10 36% 0.75 18%
West Midlands 2.24 34% 1.11 26%
Yorkshire & The Humber 1.93 36% 0.81 22%
Female 2.10 39% 0.77 18%
Male 2.27 33% 1.10 27%
18-24 2.28 33% 1.77 46%
25-34 2.37 34% 1.39 34%
35-44 2.24 33% 1.05 26%
45-54 2.15 38% 0.85 19%
55+ 2.03 39% 0.56 12%

General DIY, a fresh lick of paint, clean the windows, hoover the carpet, plump those cushions, ensure beds are neatly made, there are plenty of things that you could do to help encourage homebuyers to make an offer on your property.

You should start by depersonalising and declutterning your property, as this allows prospective purchasers to visualise the home as ‘theirs’ and ultimately makes the property look bigger, with the impression of more storage space.

Home staging: Having a property that offers the appearance of being professionally ‘dressed’ certainly makes the job of selling much easier.

Test property

An experiment by AXA has found that minor errors when showing your property can lead to big losses. This can be something as simple as having your bathroom blind up or down or having the ironing board out. Head over to our moving home section for some advice on decluttering to help sell your home.

These small errors added up to a 20% lower perceived value when AXA showed a test property to prospective buyers.

The test property was a one-bedroom flat with a shared garden that was shown to 1,000 members of the public. One half of the sample saw the property in its ‘before’ state, and the other half saw it after a ‘mini-makeover’.

Top tips to boost appearance of your property:

Living room

Ensure that the decoration is modern, light and airy.


Choose stylish furniture and let in natural light.


Avoid a cramped, terribly organised kitchen – aim for a roomy, modern and renovated look.


A small bathroom in need of refurbishing will not appeal. A contemporary bathroom, with some character, which is nicely kept, will appeal.


If you are fortunate enough to have a garden, ensure that it is nicely kept, spacious and inviting.

Once you’ve got on top of these little things, make sure you’ve checked off everything on our bigger list of what to sort out when selling a property.