First impressions count when selling

House sellers are losing out on $90,452 on average if a property lacks street appeal, according to new research by comparison website The survey found that nine out of 10 Australians would offer below a property’s asking price if the exterior was not appealing, with house hunters offering 13 per cent, on average, below the asking price if dissatisfied with the property from the outside.

Bessie Hassan, money expert at, said the figures show a property’s street appeal should never be underestimated.

“The survey findings clearly show that first impressions count. Sellers could be left bitterly disappointed with offers if the kerb appeal of a listed property is not up to expectations. That’s money down the drain because of a bad first impression.

“With some Australian states recording price drops and others experiencing little growth, it’s never been more important to consider how the exterior of your property might cause a backward slide on offers,” she said.

“Sellers should look for ways to boost their property’s kerb appeal. Relatively minor tasks such as installing a new fence, painting the front facade, investing in a modern letterbox, sprucing up your outdoor pathway or replacing the front door with a more modern one, can make a significant difference. A bit of effort can go a long way where dollars are concerned.”

Hassan recommends the following tips to maximise your home’s street appeal:

Attention to detail

Touch up any cracked or peeling paint around windows or fascias and make sure that all the windows are sparkling clean.

Spruce up the garden

Be sure the garden is neat and tidy. Pull out any weeds and refresh any mulch you have in garden beds. If you have grass in the front yard, mow it at a higher setting so it looks neat (using a lower setting on your mower can expose sections of soil in the lawn, which give a dirty appearance). Trim back any overhanging trees or bushes, especially if they block any view of the home from the street.

Appeal to the buyer’s sense of smell

When selling a property, you should leverage the influence of smell as this can enhance the prospective buyer’s experience of your home. Add some pot plants with pleasant smelling flowers, such as lavender.


A considerable 87 per cent of house hunters would be put off buying a property because of mould, followed by structural decay (84 per cent), the smell of damp (83 per cent) and signs the current owners are indoor smokers (55 per cent) such as yellowing walls.

Rounding out the top 10 in’s research were a dirty bathroom (54 per cent), peeling paint (49 per cent), an out-of-date kitchen (45 per cent), sign of a pet dog or cat (42 per cent), worn carpets (36 per cent) and a messy interior (35 per cent). Untidy gardens, old-fashioned wallpaper and dirty windows also made the list.

“Mould can cause major issues, particularly for residents with respiratory problems, so it’s not surprising that it’s at the top of the list of things buyers steer clear of,” said Hassan.

The survey of 1035 Australians revealed that 47 per cent of house hunters could tell as soon as they walked in the front door of a property if it impressed them. One in 10 property buyers admit to snap decision making, taking just seconds to decide if they like a property.

Hassan noted that major structural faults or building decay could be genuine deal breakers, however, some of the other undesirable features could be attended to easily and affordably. “While an out-of-date kitchen could set you back in excess of $10,000, tidying the garden doesn’t have to cost you a thing.”

The research also found buyers would be put off if they saw a motorbike or ute parked outside, but a BMW makes a good impression.

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Photo: Jodiejohnson/