What devalues your house the most? A noisy road? A home stripped of its period features or a poorly re-configured property. They all impact on the price of a home.
In the current market, owners need to step up their efforts to sell their property. Make sure you are fully prepared before viewings. Keep the rooms light, colours neutral, everywhere clean and as depersonalised as possible. In general, it’s best not to embrace your inner eccentricity.
What have you got to lose? Quite a lot. We take a look at seven things that can devalue your home.
1. Quality over quantity: 8-10%
Think carefully before re-configuring your home. It’s better to have a good two bedroom house, rather than a mediocre three bedroom property. A small box room won’t tempt many buyers. Turn it into a stylish en-suite, however, and buyers will be much more enthusiastic.
2. Stripping out period features: 7-10%
Some people prefer contemporary décor, but if you are selling a period property, it’s much better to have the timeless features intact. Ripping out Victorian grates and replacing them with modern surrounds – or just plastering over them – was popular in the Sixties and Seventies. Today, most buyers love to see fireplaces, ornate cornices and original floorings or shutters. These small details can often help sell a home.
3. Removing a lift from a period property: 10-15%
If your building has a lift, then leave it or, better still, upgrade it. Lifts are popular with many buyers, particularly for discerning buyers moving into their golden years. Similarly, as a general rule, Middle Eastern buyers will not look at houses on multiple-floors, unless they have a lift.
4. Lack of kerb appeal: 5-6%
First impressions count. Viewers typically decide whether they like a property before they even reach the front door. Paint your front door. Many buyers love the alluring tones of Farrow & Ball paints, including Elephant Breath and Dove Tale Grey. Add new door furniture, too. Polished chrome and brushed nickel are in fashion at the moment. Bay trees and buxus hedges in window boxes add a timeless elegance, too.
5. Clutter: 8-10%
Clutter always makes a property less saleable. Viewers will find it harder to visualise their own belongings in the rooms and may be put off entirely. It could flag up a lack of storage. Make sure you declutter your property before putting it on the market. A good agent should be able to advise you on this area and help you stage your home for sale.
6. Turning a garage into a bedroom: 10-15%
It will work for some houses – but for others it is better to leave things alone. It really depends on the amount of living space you already have and the number of bedrooms. In some locations a garage really is worth its weight in gold, and a bad conversion could even put people off. You can always market the house flagging up the potential to extend into the garage. A garage sold in Chelsea for nearly £500,000 in 2014, making it one of Britain’s most expensive garages.
7. Removing wardrobes: 3-5%
Storage is an important issue for many buyers and although stripping out old-fashioned built-in wardrobes might give you more space, all those clothes do need to go somewhere. It is better to revamp them with new doors and handles. One of the first things that many buyers will look for is storage space, whether it is wardrobes in bedrooms or cupboards in kitchens.
• Contact Kay & Co estate agents for advice on buying or selling of properties in Marylebone, Bayswater, Paddington, Notting Hill, Mayfair, Fitzrovia, Regents Park and The West End (020 7262 2030; www.kayandco.com).