A lady called me this week from rural Lincolnshire; she’s been trying to sell her lovely modern home for two years now, but with only a handful of viewings during that time, she was understandably beginning to feel very despondent. Unwilling to drop her asking price, as it is funding her next purchase and lots more besides, she wondered what else she could do to add value to her home. As we talked, it transpired that she actually owned a paddock next to the house, which she was thinking of keeping hold of, in the hope of a future increase in its worth. As it was only a couple of acres, its value separated from a house could be very little, and I explained to her that added to the house, the perceived value to a buyer of the whole “package” would potentially be much higher. Anyone looking for an equestrian property, or seeking a move for a better quality of life, will appreciate an adjoining paddock much more than say, a farmer who would like a couple more acres for his sheep. I suggested she add it into the sale, without increasing the asking price, to make the proposition for a buyer that much more attractive. After all, a modern, executive style home with new bathrooms and kitchen, and an adjoining paddock, is pretty rare in the area.
Whilst she ponders this issue, it got me to thinking about the whole idea of adding value without dropping your price. I’ve come up with a list of possibilities for you to consider, if you’re not getting serious interest in your property, and want to attract a buyer in other ways than your asking price:
- Updating your kitchen – kitchens are always a bit tricky, as you’d be risking installing a kitchen that your buyer may not like. However, so long as it’s neutral, ie white or cream, and in keeping with your property age, for under £10,000 the extra value that it would give your home is far in excess of this. Definitely worth considering.
- Install a new bathroom - look at the latest trends, and make sure that you have a power shower, fully tiled walls, and towel rails. Bathrooms really matter, so make sure yours have the wow factor. If possible, keep the spend per bathroom around £5,000.
- New carpets - carpets can make a house look dated more than any other area, and they can also give a buyer a reason to make a low offer. A good quality, neutral carpet throughout the house can add several times its cost in the perception that the house has been kept up to date. Re-carpeting an average-sized house will cost around £4,000 but it’s definitely a very worthwhile investment.
- New flooring in ‘wet’ rooms – by wet rooms, I mean kitchens, utility rooms, cloakrooms and bathrooms; the general rule of thumb with the flooring in these rooms is that it needs to be ‘moppable’ – in other words, a hard floor. It doesn’t need to be expensive, in fact there are some fabulous vinyls out there that will only cost a couple of hundred pounds per room. Again, the difference in how a buyer will see your home is high: a bathroom that is carpeted will look dated to a modern buyer, regardless of whether it is or not.
- Adding a home office – most buyers want the ability to work from home these days, or at least, to have a space in which they can keep their computer, paperwork and perhaps books. If you have a room in the house that can be dressed as an office, it would be a worthwhile investment to add some contemporary office furniture, and smart accessories. If you don’t have any space in the house, can you add one outside, in the form of a garden office? These cost from around £10,000, including fitting and adding an electricity supply, but having such an important feature will really help your property stand out to a buyer.
Consider it this way: if you were to do all the above, the investment would be in the region of £40,000, but your home would have all that a buyer is looking for: it would be ready to move into, and give a buyer no excuse to think that it needs work. If your home is on the market for £400,000 or more, this investment would represent only 10% of its value, and given that asking price to sale ratios are only around 90% at the moment, and much less in some areas, surely it’s better to consider improving your home than dropping the price by say, £50,000. I’ve seen price drops recently of £100,000 and more on properties previously marketed at under £1 million.
Giving the buyer what they need is not always about price; increasing its value may just get your home sold for more.