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Six Things That Can Devalue Your Property and How to Fix Them

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When selling your property, finding a buyer for the highest amount of money is crucial.

Lots of different factors impact the value of your house. Some of these are outside of your control, including the local and national property market.

On the other hand, your house may have its value compromised by elements that you can improve.

In the article below, we have highlighted six things that can devalue your property and how you can fix them.

1. Substandard renovations

One of the reasons that many property experts try to dissuade people from doing their own renovations is that it can often result in a substandard result.

You may be unaware of industry standards or regulatory requirements, which can negatively impact the value of your home.

You may also end up with a poor finish if you were trying to save as much money as possible and, therefore, hired the cheapest expert you could find.

While this might have saved you money in the short term, it is often more costly in the long run. This is because it reduces your property value and may even force you to do the work again.

For some renovations, you may have the skillset to do it yourself. For example, painting cabinets or installing new lightbulbs.

However, hire a qualified expert for anything more complicated, and don’t just go for the least expensive professional if you can help it. It may do more harm than good.

2. Poor maintenance

Sometimes, it isn’t a significant piece of work that has gone wrong: it is the slow and steady degradation of your home over a long period.

You may not notice this as the weeks and months pass, but a few years later, a potential buyer may be worried about all sorts of maintenance issues.

A few common examples that are worthy of your attention include:

  • Cracks in the wall
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Fading paint
  • Dirty grouting
  • Windows that don’t open properly
  • Worn carpet

Damp appearing throughout the house is another problem that many homeowners face.

While each one of these challenges won’t be the end of the world, they all come together to have a significant effect.

Your buyer won’t view your home as ‘new’, ‘fresh’ and ‘desirable’ – they will see it as a project that needs time, money and care put into it.

Sorting out these maintenance issues before you list your house for sale will be extremely valuable.

Get a quotation on any new materials you need, such as carpet or paint, and see if you can find any handymen who will do an excellent job for you.

3. Unattractive exterior

You have likely heard the phrase ‘curb appeal’ before now. Put simply, this refers to the aesthetic qualities of your home, and whether it looks attractive from the front curb.

This includes everything from your lawn, to your driveway, as well as the guttering and roofing on your house.

If you want to maximise the price you get for your home, making your exterior more attractive is a worthwhile step. Some potential ways to fix this include:

  • Repainting your front door
  • Fixing the guttering or roofing
  • Mowing your lawn
  • Filling in cracks in the driveway
  • Clearing any boxes or junk that is visible in the windows
  • Cutting back plants or trees that are out of control

Although some exterior features may be easily fixed, others will be more dramatic problems, requiring an expert’s intervention.

A common example is Japanese Knotweed, a widespread problem in many parts of the UK.

Your house’s exterior will appear in all marketing channels, including Rightmove, Zoopla, and the printed brochure that your estate agent creates for you.

You don’t get a second chance at a first impression – so fix your aesthetic qualities, and do it soon!

4. Low energy efficiency rating

Your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating indicates the energy efficiency of your house, and if this score is low, it has ramifications for any potential buyer.

Firstly, the energy bills during the winter months for your house will be higher, which inherently makes your property less valuable.

Secondly, poor energy efficiency can prevent the new owners from potentially renting out the house in the future.

This is because the UK government will soon require all let-out homes to have a minimum rating of ‘C’.

To fix your energy-efficiency rating, there are several steps you can take: 

  • Use energy-efficient lightbulbs
  • Insulate the walls and roof
  • Buy double-glazed windows (or triple!)
  • Use a smart meter on appliances, where possible
  • Upgrade your boiler

In an ideal world, your EPC document would provide guidance on where the problems lie and, therefore, help you know how to fix them.

If this isn’t the case, you should get an expert in again to review the house and make suggestions on how to proceed.

5. Pets in your home

Most people love their pets, but even if a potential owner has no problem with dogs or cats, owning these animals will often impact the smell and condition of your property – especially if you have carpet.

On viewing day, you should keep your pets (and their toys) out of sight. If necessary, you should also do major touch-ups to the carpet and walls before you start showing off the property.

For example, you may want to pay for a deep-clean of all carpets, and then create steps to ensure that your pets don’t re-offend moving forwards.

Any damage to the skirting boards and any other problems your pets have caused should also be fixed prior to selling.

As a slightly more drastic solution, removing your carpets and putting in wooden flooring can help eliminate bad owners and damage to the fabric.

However, some people prefer carpet flooring, so this may have a separate knock-on effect regarding house value. 

6. Noise Pollution

Living near a main road has benefits, but the noise of traffic can also cause problems.

If the noise is too loud inside your property, it could negatively impact its value. However, you can dampen the noise by installing double-glazing and even soundproofing.

Noisy neighbours can also cause a problem if you’re selling your home. You have to legally declare to potential buyers if your neighbours are boisterous and you’ve had to complain to the local authority.

So, it’s best to speak to your neighbours first, to try to resolve any disputes calmly.

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