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News: Loosing a house sale over maintenance neglect

Vendors are never more vulnerable of losing a sale than at survey stage. And as well as the risk of loosing a sale, homeowners are set to collectively loose approximately £47million off the estimated value of their homes, a new report shows.

Home improvement chain, B&Q has teamed up with haart estate agency to advise home owners how to maximise their homes' potential market value, by following three golden rules.

  • Rule 1: Hold value through essential maintenance works
  • Rule 2: Add value through clever improvements
  • Rule 3: Sell your home within the first 8 seconds

Vendors should place equal importance on all 3 factors, however essential maintenance work is often neglected and will result in the largest loss of value.

Jo Kenrick, B&Q Director said, "With Easter traditionally marking the start of the home selling season, we notice a considerable increase in the number of people decorating to sell. However it's also vital to assess the whole house and make the necessary repairs and improvements prior to going on the market. This will maximise return on the initial investment and can make the difference between clinching or losing your sale."

Paul Smith, haart CEO explained: "Buying a home today can be as much about buying a lifestyle as admiring the room size and layout. But while creating instant appeal is important, problems often show up on a survey, which can cost dear."

"If your property has rising damp, for example, the buyer can insist you deal with the problem before progressing. The work might involve stripping off the plaster, treating it and redecorating, let alone the time lost in the sale process. It needn't cost a fortune but potential buyers can be put off by problems like these and insist the price of the property is reduced to reflect the work needed to be done."

Rule 1: Hold value through essential maintenance works

With more than 1.5 million households living in turn of the last century homes, and a further 4.5 million in mid twentieth century properties, haart has identified maintenance flashpoints to ensure properties maintain their value.

Most commonplace problems in turn of the last century properties are:

  • Rotting windows which need replacing
  • Rising damp
  • Woodworm

In mid 20th century homes, recurring costly problems are:

  • Faulty electrics which often need completely replacing
  • Aluminium framed metal windows which are both no longer popular and can cause draughts
  • Un-insulated lofts

Rule 2: Add value through clever improvements

Seven out of 10 UK buyers say they're willing to pay more for an energy efficient home and nearly half would pay up to £10,000 more. To maximise value, B&Q has identified the top energy saving home improvements to ensure homes receive a high energy rating:

  • replace a boiler if it's more than 15 years old to an energy efficiency boiler
  • install double glazed windows
  • carry out draught proofing
  • insulate the loft

Rule 3: Sell your home within the first 8 seconds

Staff at haart frequently notice potential buyers make their mind up within the first 8 seconds of a viewing. The estate agents have identified the key home improvements that can make the best first impression:

  • newly painted front door and a new letterbox
  • neat and tidy front garden - flowers beds and hanging baskets are always appealing
  • natural décor throughout
  • good quality laminate flooring
  • plenty of electrical sockets
  • decorations and products to match the era of the property
  • central heating in every room, regardless of the age of the house
  • a new kitchen or bathroom will substantially bolster appeal and the price of a property

With approximately 14 million people living in turn of and mid 20th century homes, it's well worth vendors taking a good look at their property to maximise value before selling.

Regional breakdown

  • £2.4m wiped off value of North East properties
  • £4.4m wiped off value of South West properties
  • £2.2 m wiped off value of Glasgow properties
  • £6.5 m wiped off value of Scottish properties
  • £1.9 m wiped off value of Welsh properties
  • £4.1m wiped off value of Yorkshire & Humberside properties
  • £15.2 m wiped off value of London and South East properties
  • £3.8m wiped off value of West Midlands properties
  • £3.5m wiped off value of East Midlands properties
  • £2m wiped off value of East Anglian properties

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