House buyers are driving 60-second decisions based on the exterior

Nearly two-thirds (60%) of people make up their minds about whether they want to live in a property within one minute of seeing the outside.

Planters, trees, driveways, front doors and bin storage all play a key role in the decision making, according to new data.

The research, which surveyed 2,001 people across the UK and was carried out by Marshalls, found that 68% of people would be put off wanting to buy or live in a property if there were big design flaws with the front garden that they didn’t like.

Looking at the features that appeal to prospective buyers, those supporting biodiversity top the bill.

Planters, hanging baskets and real grass areas (21%), as well as trees (20%), wildlife gardens (17%), raised bedding areas (15%) and bird baths (14%) were the top responses, followed by new driveways (14%), bin storage (13%) and privacy screening (12%).

More than two-fifths (43%) said they care more about the appearance of the front of their home now – including their garden, driveway and features like the front door – than two years ago.

People’s top reasons for caring about their home’s kerb appeal include improving its appearance from the outside (44%) and improving its value (29%). One in ten want to keep up with their neighbours, while others take inspiration from family and friends (20%), social media (15%) and magazines and TV shows (15%) on how to style the outside of their homes.

In terms of wider housing developments, two-fifths of the research respondents said they’d be more likely to buy a new build home if it had well-landscaped communal areas. Safety was also critical, with lighting and CCTV making up the rest of the top three features sought after in shared spaces.

Speaking about the findings, which are outlined in the Marshalls Improving the Landscape white paper, Ben Warren, managing director of landscape products at Marshalls, said: “In a world where image is so important, it’s no surprise to find that kerb appeal has a huge impact on whether someone buys a property – and these findings prove just how influential is, with the outside of a home impacting a buyer’s decision within a matter of seconds.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in social media trends focusing on the front of homes, with searches for ‘front garden’ on Pinterest increasing 35%. Driveways have also been in demand for some time, and with the rise in electric cars we suspect this will continue as people want to charge their vehicles safely and securely.

“What’s important in the quest for ultimate kerb appeal is to balance practical spaces – like driveways and bin storage – with features like plants and trees, to help attract wildlife and make a space attractive.

“As one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of sustainable building materials, at Marshalls we do more than just supply the right products, we also support with design and engineering expertise to help builders and developers enhance their offering to sell homes, quicker, as well as supporting installers to create dream spaces for homeowners.”

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