The 10 things most likely to affect the value of your home

There’s not much that upsets homeowners more than finding out their property is worth less than they thought.House-for-sale-signs

There are a number of factors which can reduce the value of a home, some of which can be avoided by taking practical measures, others which you can’t do much about.

Either way, whether you’re a potential house seller or home buyer, knowing what those factors are could be useful ammunition when it comes to making your next property move.

Here are the 10 things which most commonly impact on the value of a home:

  • Home improvements that are illegal

Even if you’re not sure, you should always check whether any home improvements of a major nature you’re considering carrying out on your home need planning permission and building regulations.

From loft conversions to kitchen extensions, you’ll need to show potential buyers that you had the correct permissions and that they were granted. If not, you might be unable to sell your home, and, potentially, be made to undo work which cost thousands.

  • Homes in flood plains

Any savvy home buyer, and any half-decent solicitor, will quickly and easily find out if a home is on a flood plain by checking on Environment and local Government flood plain maps.

You’d expect a reduced price for a home compared to a similar property not on a flood plain in a similar area. If a home’s flooding history shows it’s only been flooded once or twice in, say, 30 years, don’t expect much of a reduction.

  • A scary history

Properties where terrible things have happened, such as murders or suicides, may be hard to sell, as most people simply can’t stand the idea of being permanently in the same building where the events took place.

Even someone dying of natural causes (particularly if it’s at an ‘unnatural’ age) can put some people off.

  • Poor external maintenance

Most homes are sold before the buyers have even got through the door, such is the importance of how a home looks from the front.

Halifax bank’s estimates that having an unkempt front can wipe around 5% off the value of a property. Ugly, scrappy front gardens and yards, guttering that is falling apart, dirty and peeling paintwork, filthy windows, cracked stone and crumbling pointing and bay window supports can make a home worth thousands less than a neighbouring property which has put such problems right.

  • Neighbours from hell

Unruly, noisy and rude neighbours are a relatively common problem and can have a major impact on the value of a property. The most common problem is noise, followed by rude and intimidating behaviour and arguments over boundaries.

It’s difficult to prove prior knowledge, but buyers may be able to seek compensation from sellers if they move in and subsequently find the neighbours are making their lives miserable.

  • Developments springing up next door

From wind turbines to a new homes being built next door to or in front of a property, building developments are crucial to a home’s value.

If you’re a buyer, most solicitors’ searches look for outstanding planning permissions up to half-a-mile from a home, but you can ask for a search which is broader in scope.

  • Homes with ‘bad taste’

You might think that painting your home purple, and having a retro 1950s style kitchen put in is the height of good taste, but such ‘niche’ style additions can seriously affect the price you’ll get for your property.

Artex ceilings, wood-panelling (unless it’s in a stately home!), pebble dash, stone cladding, garish paintwork and carpets, as well as badly done, ugly garden features are all a big turn off for buyers.

  • Increasing crime levels

Savvy home buyers will check the levels of crime in an area, and these days are even able to find out what crime is like on a particular street.

If it’s well above average, and the home clearly has poor locks and general security, it will in all likelihood influence the level of offers you get for you home.

  • Pet smells

While most people will profess a love of either dogs or cats, as well as other household pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs, they certainly don’t really want to be made very aware of them when they’re looking around a home they’re thinking of buying.

Pet smells can be a major reason why a home isn’t selling, and while one or even two cats or dogs being around during viewings might not be particularly off-putting, anymore and you may find the viewings don’t take very long!

  • Local schools getting worse

It’s been estimated that you can add 10% to the value of a home within the catchment area of a good school. Likewise, you can knock up to 10% off if the local school is poor or going downhill.

A bad OFSTED report or two showing a school going down the pan can knock the property prices in an area for six.

What this might mean for your insurance cover

Insurers need to be told about factors mentioned above such as flooding and home improvements when you first take out cover, and may increase the cost of your cover.

Others, such as local schools and homes that are in ‘bad taste’ clearly don’t!

Policy Expert

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