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Is Your Hallway Costing You Your Asking Price?

A huge proportion of potential buyers decide on whether a property is 'the one' within seconds of stepping through the door, therefore it is essential that your hallway creates the best possible first impression.

Your home is likely to be your biggest investment, so when it comes to selling, it is only natural that you will want to get the best price possible. With this in mind, we spoke to experts in the estate agency world Phil Price, Managing Director at Crucible Sales and Lettings, and James Ross, Director at ELR, to get some insider advice on how you can ensure that your hallway isn't putting off potential buyers and ultimately devaluing your home.

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Phil Price - Managing Director of Crucible Sales and Lettings

Phil is an established name in the South Yorkshire Property Market with over 20 years experience in the industry, including owning his own successful estate agency. Phil is now passionate about heading up Crucible, which is truly an estate agency with a difference, as 100% of their profits go into supporting and housing people in vulnerable situations.

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James Ross – Director at Eadon, Lockwood and Riddle

James has worked at ELR since 2004 and became Director in 2013. On a day-to-day basis, James runs the very busy head office at Banner Cross and deals with all valuations in the South West suburbs of Sheffield. James was shortlisted for 2014's Valuer of the Year at the annual Estate Agent Live Awards.

We asked the experts…

Here's what they had to say...

What does a hallway say about a property?

Phil: It's all about first impressions. Just like watching a film, the first 2-3 minutes of the viewing will set the tone of what's to come. And, as potential buyers are likely to leave the property through the same hallway, it will also be their last impression, and you really want them to leave a viewing on a high.

James: The hallway sets the first impression for the home, and you can generally tell from the hallway alone whether the house will be well presented throughout or whether it will be a bit tired.

Is a poorly presented hallway likely to devalue a home?

Phil: It will certainly decrease a property's sale-ability, which is likely to result in it selling at a lower price. Potential buyers can't always see how they can put their own stamp on a property, and are often prepared to spend an extra £10k on a 'finished' property than buy an identical property for £10k less that will need perhaps only need £1k work doing on it to bring it up to the same standard.

James: It won't necessarily devalue the home but it will definitely make it a lot less saleable and won't encourage an offer.

What elements make a hallway an instant turn off?

Discarded sneaker

Phil: Dark enclosed hallways and staircases that have the bannisters blocked in really close up the space and make it feel cramped. If you are immediately presented with obstacles when you enter a property, such as a bike in the middle of the hallway, it automatically starts the viewing off on a downer.

James: Poor lighting, poor state of décor, woodchip, signs of damp, finger marks down the walls and threadbare carpets are all instantly off putting to a potential buyer.

Has a potential buyer ever made their mind up that they aren't interested in a property before they have gone beyond the hallway?

Phil: I have been in countless situations where a potential buyer walks into a property and immediately decides that it is not for them. On the other side of the coin, so many clients have said to me "I knew straight away that I wanted that house".

James: Definitely. I have had several instances where the viewer hasn't wanted to look any further than the hallway. The majority of people know straight away when a property is not for them.

Why is that first impression so important?

Doormat that says 'leave'

Phil: Before even viewing a property, potential buyers will have done their homework and already narrowed down their search to suit their budget, desired area and preferred style of property. These days, with property portals open 24/7, houses can be viewed from top to bottom online, along with detailed measurements and floor plans.

This means that there should be very few surprises when they actually view the property, all that's left to put them off making an offer is the property's 'feel' once they step through the door. House buyers pay according to their emotions, and if the house 'feels' right they act on it.

James: If you don't give a good first impression, the viewer will be instantly switched off to the rest of the house. It is important to remember that you are selling a home, not just a house, you need to appeal to the buyers emotional side and you want them to imagine themselves living there.

How would you advise a seller to tackle their hallway if you could see that it would put potential buyers off?

Phil: We regularly advise vendors on steps that they can take to improve the desirability of their home. Freshening up the walls and staircase with a coat of paint can make a big difference, as can unboxing closed in balustrades and replacing with spindles to open up the space.

Sometimes sellers are reluctant to invest in making any improvements to a house believing that is it a waste of money, however spending £1k on general maintenance can sometimes add as much as £10k on to your asking price.

James: Last year we took on a property that was in reasonable condition but it was being let down by a horrible, dark, threadbare carpet that ran right through the hallway, stairs and landing. We advised the vendor to replace it with a new lighter coloured carpet and it made a massive difference to the house, so much so that the property sold for £25k over the asking price.

Start as you mean to go on

Understandably, once you have made the decision to sell up and move on, it can be difficult to find the inclination to spend time or money doing up your existing home. However, as our experts suggest, that little extra effort can make a big difference to the sale-ability of your home, and ultimately the selling price.

A simple lick of paint and a general de-clutter will instantly brighten up a room, but if you want to go a step further and totally open up your space, take our experts advice, and consider replacing shabby carpets and opening up bannisters, (as per this before and after example to ensure that you hallway creates the best possible first impression for potential buyers.

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