01932 221 331
38 High Street, Walton on Thames
01932 221 331
38 High Street, Walton on Thames
Walton on Thames

How to increase your Surrey home’s kerb appeal

It takes seconds to make a first impression, whether it is the brutality of the internet dating swipe or the vicious swift property judgements on Rightmove or other property sites, when it comes to viewing a property, buyers want that instant reaction, they want to feel excited to step through your front door and eager to see what your home has to offer. When you are selling your home in Surrey it isn’t just your interior that needs to wow potential buyers but your exterior too. At James Neave we have put together some ideas on how to increase your home’s kerb appeal.

Front garden

“Homes that offer a front garden carry a 4 per cent property price premium versus those without, and that equates to more than £11,000 in the current market,” states Colby Short, CEO of estate agent comparison site getagent.co.uk. We recognise that not all homes in Surrey have a front garden, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add some touches to give that impression. We are now in spring and, as such, flowers are starting to bloom, and what makes a property stand out more than a colourful welcome.

Hanging baskets, window boxes and tubs are great ways to easily spruce up your kerb appeal. If you do have a garden, view it with a critical eye. Fix any broken fences, power hose paving and driveways, make sure the lawn is looking healthy and is cut, and trees and shrubs are not overgrown. One thing to always hide are your bins: they are a big turn-off to potential buyers. If you are unable to hide them, find a way to minimalise their appearance rather than them becoming the focal point of your home.

Front door

Your front door is where a buyer’s eyes are initially drawn; it is the centre of your kerb appeal and, therefore, it needs to grab their attention. But does the colour of your front door really make a difference as long as it is looking its best? According to a new study by Safestyle, the leading window and door retailer, it does: their findings suggest that a property with a certain colour front door could sell 36% higher then the average national sale price. Which colours are top of the pops?

It may not be surprising to learn that the top colour adding the greatest value to your home is red. This is because it is striking and bold as well as being elegant. In second place is grey, which is in complete contrast. This, we believe, could be due to some buyers wishing to have a more neutral tone of kerb appeal. Black is in third place, with Safestyle stating that homes with this colour front door sell at 11% more than the average UK house price. Blue comes in fourth place, quickly followed by white. Although this is great in theory, it is essential that you ensure the colour you choose defines and complements not only your home but also those around you and doesn’t break any covenants.


Our homes have to work for us in many ways these days; therefore, homes that aid our lives by offering functionality are always going to be more appealing. Eco-friendly materials and features are going to be increasingly popular this year, states Anglian Home Improvements. “Sustainability and energy efficiency have become increasingly important to homeowners. In the current climate, they want products that not only help the environment but also help them reduce the costs of their bills, and this is only set to continue.”

Eco features you could consider are energy-efficient lighting, which is a great way of cutting down your energy bills without sacrificing on a stylish product and design. You may be good at recycling materials, but do you reuse water? This is a sustainable way to water your garden.

Get noticed

If you are looking to sell your property this year, make sure it is Instagram ready. You want buyers to stop and take notice, and by making some changes, you can quickly and easily improve your home’s kerb appeal. For more advice on adding value to your property contact our team today on 01932 221331.

Why is there a desire for smaller homes in Surrey?

There is always a perception that when it comes to moving home, the majority of people are looking for more space, therefore the recent findings by Rightmove and Zoopla make very interesting reading. It is clear that buying habits changed during and post pandemic, but throw the cost of living crisis and higher mortgage rates into the mix and buyers’ attention has been diverted. One thing is very clear, and that is that the housing market today is in a different place than it was a year ago. What is happening in the housing market to see an increased desire for smaller homes?

The property market 
There is still an air of caution within the property market at the moment. Easter is one of the most popular times of the year to place homes on the market. The nicer weather (hopefully) is on its way, gardens start to come into bloom and people dream of spending the summer months in their new home. But this year things certainly feel different.  

The average price of a property coming onto the market in March is £365,357; this is 0.8% rise, but below the 1.0% average monthly rise that has been seen in March over the last 20 years. Regardless of these figures, Rightmove suggest that “data continues to point to a market on a much more stable footing than many anticipated”, which is good to know should you be considering selling your home.
“The beginning of the spring season sees stability and confidence continuing to return to the market as it recovers from the turbulence at the end of 2022. The pace of the market reached an unsustainable level in the last two years and was on track to slow to a more normal level, though the speed of this slowdown to more normality was accelerated by the reaction to September’s mini- Budget. While higher mortgage rates and economic headwinds raise challenges, many potential home movers who were effectively side-lined in the frenetic bidding wars of the last two years will find that a slower-paced market gives them time to plan and secure their next move as we enter the
traditionally busy spring buying season.“ Tim Bannister Rightmove’s Director of Property Science

Demand for three-bedroom terraces

In recent research by Zoopla, they find that this year there has been a shift in demand for certain property types. The 3-bed terraced has been the most sought-after property over the last three months; this is due to their accessible price and balance of indoor and outdoor space. With finances being stretched, we can see how buyers who may have once preferred a semi-detached property are now turning to a 3-bed terraced as they are (according to Zoopla) 16% cheaper.

In contrast, demand for the once popular detached home has seen them receive only 9% of buyer enquiries even though they make up 21% of the homes on the market. This may not be a shift in what buyers want but a pause on moving by buyers until later in the year for those who are looking to upsize their homes. Speaking to these buyers, we know they want to see if the economic outlook will be brighter in a few months’ time and mortgage rates will be more favourable.

Race for space

It is clear that the ‘race for space’ has been swapped for value for money. We are seeing that buyers have toned down their wish lists and are thinking more minimalist. Space costs, whether that’s square footage, heating, furnishing, decoration, the greater the space the greater the costs. Rather than desiring bigger, we have noticed buyers focusing on rightsizing – thus what size of home do they realistically need to live and work (should they work from home). Buyers are more open to doing work now than in previous years, with data from Zoopla showing that fixer-uppers are receiving 51% more enquiries than homes that have been recently renovated. Parking has always been a must on buyers’ wish lists, but here there has also been a shift, with searches for homes with driveways and private parking a third lower than properties with only on- street parking.


Things evolve

There may still be an air of caution in the property market, but there is more stability than predicted last year. That being said, there are regional variations, which means this is a property market that is evolving based on local factors and the economy. These findings from Rightmove and Zoopla are great to give you an overall sense of the shift in buyer demand, but this isn’t always the full story. To gain a realistic insight into what is happening in Surrey we would always advise that you speak to a local estate agent. Contact a member of our team on 01932 221331.

What is home staging and why is it a necessity today?

There are so many things to think about when you are thinking to sell your home that it can often feel overwhelming. You may have already planned to spruce up your home with repairs, a refresh of the décor and even some decluttering here and there, but what about staging? Many buyers consider home staging as presenting a clean and tidy home, but there is a lot more to it than that. With many homes competing for buyers’ attention, home staging could give you the edge amongst other things. This is why at James Neave Estate Agents we wanted to give you all the information to maximise your home’s potential, so let us introduce you to home staging and why it is a necessity today.

What is home staging?

Home staging fuses together decorating and marketing to create an experience for home buyers that allows them to see themselves in your home. Your home should present a lifestyle – it should be warm, welcoming and void of personalised features such as family photos and mementoes. The reason being, this shows buyers your life, but you want buyers seeing what their life would be like living there. According to data from the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland ‘staged homes receive an offer in an average of just 45 days, and in 33% of cases, sell over three times faster than a non-staged home.’   

In their home staging report 2022, 100% of the respondents agreed that:
• Staging increases the number of viewings.
• Homebuyers spend more time viewing a staged home as opposed to a non-staged home.
• Properties with professional photos get more viewings than properties with poor images.

Staging 2023 key trends

Home staging styles often follow home interior trends. You always want to create a warm and welcoming environment. This year it’s about adding some natural elements, organic textures and, dare we say it, some pops of colour. Wellness is also extremely important this year in interior design, providing a space that promotes healthy living and self-care. Here are some of the key 2023 home- staging trends to think about when you are preparing your home for sale.


Bringing the outside in

Connecting your home with nature is a trend that has been around for a number of years; nature is powerful and can impact how we feel and is a fantastic source of stress relief. You can achieve this by adding some natural elements and shades to your room design as well as materials such as stone, wood and also plants. This is not about overpowering spaces with objects but thoughtfully placing items within a room design to create a cohesive and relaxing atmosphere.

Pops of colour

When it comes to home staging, the common rule of thumb has always been to stick to neutral colours, but this year you can also add a pop of colour to make a space feel less formal. You don’t want to go wild as your décor needs to appeal to a wide selection of potential buyers and colour doesn’t always have to be through paintwork. Colour can be added through soft furnishings, such as throws and pillows, a key accent piece of furniture or even wallpaper.


Accent pieces

Another trend that is coming through from the interior design world is using accent pieces. Using something that is a little bold will make rooms more intriguing without having to do some major work. Again, you shouldn’t be filling your room full of interesting pieces: it is about adding one or a couple of strategic items such as decorative pieces or even artwork.


Technology is a tricky one, as it will appeal to some, make others curious and turn some buyers off. When it comes to eco-efficiencies, it will appeal to a much wider market but so also will practical devices such as a charging point for a car, security, smart home appliances and a ring door bell and other security features.

‘Home staging used to be optional. Today, it's a necessity in selling a house.’ Barbara Corcoran

It is a necessity

The property market at the moment is a tricky one, which is why you need to do everything you can to not only add value and attract buyers but get offers that are exciting and help you move. If you would like more advice on how to not just present but stage your home for sale, contact our team on 01932 221331.

Confused over whether to buy or sell your property? What is happening in the housing market

As Brits, we are obsessed with the state of the housing market and often dissect every twist and turn
and regional variation. For buyers and sellers alike, there are a lot of questions, especially regarding
when is the right time to purchase or sell a property in Walton-On-Thames. There has certainly been a
shift in the housing market, with the days of soaring housing prices and cheap mortgage rates very
much in the past. We understand that you are cautious, as the last thing you want to do is take a
wrong move financially, but the truth is only you can decide whether it is a good or bad time to
move. In this article we will bring you the pros and the cons to help you with your decision making.

Depends how you look!

When it comes to how the current market is performing, there are two ways to look at it. If you
compare today’s market with the hot market a year ago, things look a bit bleak. But if we compare it
with the pre-pandemic years, where things were more stable, the outlook is a bit brighter.
According to Zoopla, in their February House Price Index, ‘Buyer demand and sales volumes are
20%–50% lower than a year ago but slightly ahead of the pre-pandemic years (2017–2019).’


Richard Donnell, Zoopla's executive director of research, said, ‘Housing market activity has rebounded
in line with pre-pandemic levels. Sellers are having to give up discounts to achieve sales, the value of
which equate to a third of the price gains made over the pandemic.’

This suggest that there has been a ‘nationwide repricing’ due to the reduction in buyers and the surge
in mortgage rates at the end of last year. Data from Zoopla’s House Price Index shows that sellers are
having to accept an average 4.5% discount to the asking price to achieve a sale –the highest for 5
years as a buyers’ market takes hold.

Richard Donnell also stated, ‘Working from home, increased retirement, and high immigration all
continue to stimulate demand to move home.’ Zoopla also state, ‘The housing market is adjusting to higher

mortgage rates better than many had feared and it’s welcome news to see more rates for
new buyers now in the 4%–5% range and even lower.’

Right time

As we stated, there are many personal factors that you need to take into account as well as market
conditions when making a decision on whether it is the right time to buy or sell a property. You may
be considering the expected fall in house prices, affordability due to the high mortgage rates, the
size of your deposit, and negotiating power because of the slower market. Are these pros or cons?
Only you can decide.


Should you sell a home?

Falling house prices aren’t always the end of the world; even with the drop this year, the average
value of a UK home is still currently £46,000 higher than in March 2020, according to figures from
Halifax. When you look at the bigger picture, even if prices fall by the suggested 10% this year, they
could simply return to where they were 12 to 18 months ago. Sellers have to be realistic, and you
have to listen to what the property market is saying NOW when it comes to valuing your property,
and don’t compare it with local sales a few months ago.

To give you some context, 72% of properties sold below their original asking price in November
according to data from Propertymarket (the leading membership body for property agents). As with
most things at the moment, the cost of moving has also increased, reallymoving.com data suggests
that the average moving cost is up £2000 from 2021.

Should you buy a home?

One thing that all bodies can agree on is that house prices in 2023 will fall. Many blame this on the
high mortgage rates and the cost of living crisis. After the years of rapid increases in sales prices, this
could be music to the ears of many buyers; by how much they will fall is up for debate, with Savills
forecasting a 10% drop, whereas Rightmove suggests a more conservative 2%.
Although property prices may be lower, in contrast, mortgage rates, as we know, are extremely high,
although not high by historical standards. Andy Haldane, the former Bank of England chief
economist, said last year, ‘We have a whole generation of mortgage holders who have scarcely seen
a rise in interest rates. It will be a massive shock to the system.’ Findings from a survey by the
Building Societies Associations (BSA) showing that the biggest barrier to buying a property is

As a buyer, there could be more mortgage options open to you should you have a bigger deposit, as
this makes you look less risky to lenders. Even a 10% deposit could make a significant difference to
the number of mortgage deals that could be available to you, as well as more competitive rates.

It’s all relative

If the last few years have shown us anything, it is that things change, and if there is one thing we can
say for certain, it is that we are living in a very changeable time. Life can demand a move as personal
circumstances change, needing more space, or a new job requires relocation. If you would like to
discuss any of the findings in this article then please call our time at James Neave Estate Agents on 01932 221331.

Are you giving buyers a sleepless night with these bedroom staging mistakes?

Not everyone has an Instagram-worthy bedroom every minute of every day. Our lives are busy, and there are, no doubt, spells where your bedrooms are perfect and others where they are a nightmare. We are all human, and often we keep things that we should have got rid of years ago, especially when it comes to our wardrobes. When it comes to preparing your home for sale, it is essential to think about home staging. Did you know that staging your property can often add between 5% and 8% to the sale price! Our team at James Neave have come together to create the top bedroom staging mistakes we have witnessed in Surrey so potential buyers only have sweet dreams about your home.

Clothes and shoes

Every member of the family plays their part when it comes to tidying up the clutter that fills bedrooms with clothes, shoes and, sometimes, bags. Rooms filled with trainer boxes, wardrobes bursting at the seams, drawers unable to close properly and dressing-up boxes overflowing with wonderful characters. If you have built-in wardrobes, we can guarantee a buyer will want to look inside to see what space they offer internally. What they don’t want to be met with is a disaster zone.

A visual lack of space will make buyers wonder whether there is a lack of storage in the property, when in reality, it could simply be that you have too much stuff. Even if you are reluctant to say goodbye to a few items, slim down your wardrobe and drawers by placing things you may not be wearing for the next couple of months in storage.

Don’t forget the lighting

Lighting can transform any room, and you want your bedroom to be warm and welcoming, with a feeling of calm and serenity. You may need to enhance your rooms’ existing lighting with a couple of extra pieces just to ensure there aren’t any dark corners. A mixture of lighting is best: ambient lighting provides the main illumination for the room which should be accented with lights such as table or wall lamps or even sconces.  If needed, you could also add some task lighting, as this is directional and ideal for areas such as over a dressing table or a reading chair.


Ignoring artwork

We often find personal photography or artwork in bedrooms, and we know that you wish to be surrounded by those you love. But the key message here is this is personalising your bedroom for you and your family and not allowing a buyer to see themselves relaxing there. This doesn’t mean that a bedroom should be artwork free; a large painting or print that complements the colours in your room will pull your bedroom together beautifully.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t keep a couple of family photos around, but just pop them in a drawer when you’re having a viewing.


Beds should always be staged

The bed is the focal point for any bedroom. It is where buyers’ eyes will first wander and is what will be initially judged. Beds should look luxurious yet simple – you don’t want anything too fussy or overbearing. Beds should feel cosy and invite the buyer to test drive – not that they will! It is about creating the desire to spend time in the bedroom.  Plain white bedding or another light neutral shade is an easy way to create an elegant look, and accessorise with an accent colour that blends with your room’s colour palette. This accent colour could be used in a bed throw, pillow cases, or additional pillows on your bed. Have a wander around some interior home stores for ideas.

Sweet dreams

Give buyers a bedroom they will dreaming of when they leave your property, and you won’t have sleepless nights wondering when your home will sell. For more advice on how to prepare your home for sale, contact our sales team on 01932 221331.

01932 221 331
38 High Street, Walton on Thames
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