When you’re thinking about selling a property, you’re bound to consider how you can boost its value. You might think that as a seasoned homeowner you know a thing or two about what sends house prices the right way. You’ll know that it’s worth giving your aged kitchen a shiny new refit before you sell, or that the brand new railway terminus opening just down the road could well put a few extra thousands into your pocket. It’s easy to be so focused on papering over the cracks that you overlook some serious threats to the value of your property – the hidden factors that can drive its price down if you’re not careful.
You might have the most well-behaved, loving golden retriever imaginable, the sort of dog that nobody could have an issue with. Or you might have the kind of shy cat that hides away for almost the entire day, disturbing you only when it’s dinner time. Pets might not seem like they can have a negative impact on your home – and for many of us, they’re the very life and soul of our homes – but don’t assume that prospective buyers will see them the same way. If you’ve got animals in your home which are intimidating, hair-dropping or smelly – or if there are just too many of them running around – this can impact its value by up to five per cent.
There’s nothing like a truly efficiently designed home to entice buyers. If you’ve got a tatty old wardrobe leaning against an otherwise empty wall, with three wardrobes’ worth of clothes stuffed into it and a growing pile alongside, just think what you could do with that wall. Turning underused parts of your home into clever, handy and effective storage can really give your property the edge over similar houses. So have a look at those corners and spaces in the eaves, under the stairs or next to the chimney breast – as putting in built-in wardrobes or shelves could bring you a lot more than just convenience.
Even if you’re a causal once-in-a-while smoker who takes care to open all the windows before lighting up, smoking can knock thousands off the value of your property. From lingering odours (that bury themselves so deep into the carpet pile and wallpaper that they’re near-impossible to remove) to scorch marks and yellow staining on walls and ceilings, signs of cigarette smoke are everywhere in a smoker or ex-smoker’s home. These can be immediately off-putting to potential buyers when they visit – not to mention taking up to 29% off your home’s value.
If you’ve got children and you despair daily over their inability to use a toy box, or you’ve got teenagers who can’t seem to place dirty washing anywhere but the middle of the floor, don’t assume that you can offset mess upstairs with cleanliness downstairs. It’s not a case of making the entrance and first few rooms look pristine and hoping that prospective buyers have already made their minds up by the time they see the bedrooms. Even if they’re parents themselves, they might not be forgiving of sleeping quarters that are piled high with toys, books, clothes and clutter – an untidy bedroom can decrease a home’s value by up to £8,000.
There’s not much you can do about this one – but it’s still worth knowing that the name of your road can affect the value of your property by thousands of pounds. Road names ending in ‘Warren’ are the most pricey, while ‘Streets’ ‘Terraces’ and ‘Courts’ tend to be home to properties with lower values. Houses on road names starting with ‘King’ or ‘Prince’ tend to have a significantly higher value than those with ‘Queen’ or ‘Princess’. Rude street names can have a big impact on property value too, so if you live on a snigger-inducing street you may find you have to work harder to draw in prospective buyers.