Stone cladding, untidy gardens and flaky paint can all devalue your property – but why on earth would you want to? You wouldn’t, of course, so take a look at our checklist to see which of these golden rules you’re breaking. They’re all within your control… and they all need fixing (if it’s not too late) before you put your home on the market:
Reducing the number of rooms.
An upstairs bathroom may be the ideal but many older homes only have one on the ground floor. Sacrificing the smallest bedroom may seem like a good idea but check with a local estate agent or RICS surveyor before you take the plunge, as a two-bedroomed home will most likely be worth less than a three-bed.
It may seem cheaper to do it yourself in the short-term, but if you have to call in an expert to fix a bodged job, it will cost you more in the long run. Better to get it done properly in the first place, especially as, according to a survey by Trustmark, most buyers would reduce their offer if they saw bad DIY jobs… and some wouldn’t make an offer at all.
Read - Maintaining a Property
Estate agents all talk about kerb appeal, and an unkempt front garden will put off potential buyers before they even walk through the door. It doesn’t have to look like Kew, but keep it neat and tidy. No front garden? A pot of brightly coloured plants, such as geraniums or pansies, by the front door won’t break the bank and will make the world of difference.
A tatty front door
That pesky kerb appeal again. Flaking paint or dirt around glass panes all add to an air of neglect and will make potential buyers wonder what other unseen horrors they are missing.
Read - How to Avoid a Rogue Trader
You may feel that a shocking pink feature wall reflects your vibrant personality, but a potential buyer is just going to sigh and wonder how hard it will be to cover up. Personally I had to do five coats of paint in one property to cover a bright blue wall, which was incredibly frustrating! Neutrals may be a little bit boring, but they allow people to imagine themselves living in your home, and gives them time to settle in before having to decorate.
CHAOS and clutter
Heard of CHAOS? It from the States (of course!) and stands for Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome; when your house is too untidy for visitors. If this sounds like you, then your house is definitely too untidy for viewings, so clear the clutter and embrace the minimalist lifestyle… at least until you’ve moved into your new home.
Pets or pests?
“They’re sweet really,” may be the words you frequently use to calm visitors, but if you have overbearing pets – or even a fairly unobtrusive one – it’s best to keep them out of the way for viewings as not everybody shares your passion.
Pets and teenagers can give off unpalatable smells, to which their loved ones can be immune. Have a good old clean, open the windows to air the house and freshen up with something gently scented. That’s gently scented – strong aromas can be off-putting to many, and also arouse suspicion (what is it covering up?). More sinister is the smell of damp or mould and you definitely want to get that looked at before you put the house on the market and these can deter buyers, or result in a low offer as they consider the costs of righting any wrongs.
Cramming your home with furniture, or a huge collection of books/vinyl/model railway may be your idea of heaven, but will make your home look smaller than it really is. Clear them away temporarily and open up your home’s potential - maybe put a dining table in the area you usually use for your exercise bike, or a couple of comfy chairs in a conservatory that’s usually stuffed to the gills with toys.
You may think you can’t do much about this problem and, to a certain extent, you’d be right. But if you work hard to keep on good terms with your neighbours, it will be easier to ask them to turn down the music or remove that shopping trolley from their front garden when it’s time put your home on the market. If they refuse to tidy up, you can always offer to help… beyond that your hands are tied, sadly.
Does your garden overlook a busy road, factory yard or building site? Consider installing a fence and some shrubs to mask the issue or distract the eye. If the problem also create noise (eg road or industry), a hedge would be a better option so if you have a few years before you plan to move, get planting fast!
Read - Maintaining a Property
A hot tub
Yep, a hot tub. You wouldn’t think that something that’’s supposed to add to your luxury lifestyle would have any effect on the value of a property but apparently it does. Parents worry about small children falling in, they take up space in the garden and some people just don’t like them. The problem is, they’re quite pricey to remove.
Standing out for all the wrong reasons
Stone cladding is often mocked but that’s because it makes your property stick out like a sore thumb, especially if you are part of a terrace. Making your home stand out from the crowd may sound desirable, but it really isn’t. People prefer properties which blend well with their neighbours, especially with older or period homes. Features which are too modern will just jar and spoil the look of not just the house but the whole street. You have been warned.
Worried something in your home is stopping your property selling or causing prices to be reduced? Why not send us a picture (not for publication!) and we’ll see what ideas we can come up with to help you!