House sicknesses

PinkNews Staff Writer June 28, 2008
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Your property is your biggest asset, so you should make the most of it. That’s what House Doctor and many other home decorating shows will tell you. Garish colour schemes, flower-power curtains and messy clutter are just some of the ways to devalue your property.

Perhaps it is time to do a bit of DIY doctoring and cure your home of its ills. Homes are viewed at face value, even if they are beautiful inside. Weedy, shabby front gardens, cracks in plasterwork, dirty, paint-peeling windows, dead pot plants, dreaded pebble dashing and a clapped-out old banger on bricks are guaranteed ways to take thousands of pounds off the asking price. A home should feel welcoming to viewers, not like a visit to Norman Bates’ creepy house on the hill.

Not all homeowners see the value of keeping on top of odd jobs such as dripping taps, cracks in the walls, peeling 70s wallpaper, mould-dotted ceilings in the bathroom or worse. Inside and out, a home cannot look beautiful without a little slap on. Stripping down and mending all signs of disrepair and premature ageing could add tens of thousands to your property.

Home improvement stores make it all too easy for people to give it a go themselves. While you might be impressed with your first attempt at tiling, viewers may not be quite as eager to hand out a gold star for your effort. Anything you do badly yourself, whether it’s plastering or plumbing, will add to a potential buyer’s expensive list of corrections, and you will be paying for it when you are forced to reduce your price.
Even sillier people who build extensions, loft conversions, conservatories or homemade lead-tos without planning permission might have got away with putting them up, but the result could see the property value falling down, if not the improvements themselves if the council demand so.

“That will have to go…” This is what any viewer will think if they walk in to find an antique or poorly designed excuse for the heart of a home – the kitchen. Installing a modern, tasteful kitchen brings life and a centre to your home. But installing a modern kitchen with limited appeal will be just as bad as an antique disaster.
Always opt for styles with a wide appeal and longevity in design. If you have wild, bold tastes, you can always accessorise and decorate to make more of a personal mark while you are living there and then remove all traces when you come to sell it.

Bathrooms come second in the value stakes and again, you should install a funky, offbeat bathroom at your peril. Not only will you not recoup the money you spent on it, you will also lose money off the sale to pay for a new one. The last few decades have wiped out most of the pink, blue, brown, beige, burgundy and avocado suites, and good riddance. White ones are sweetest by far.

Most buyers can live with a bit of subtle artexing above their heads, but seeing it on the walls will tot up a hefty plastering bill in your buyers mind. Estate agents generally agree that smooth ceilings and walls are the least likely to cause offence to potential buyers.

You might have grown accustomed to pet odours, but this will really turn off your home’s appeal to buyers. Worse still, it could spark a serious allergy to you home if their fur gets up the wrong nose. Apologise to Oscar the cat and Sassy the dog and put them out in the garden, along with their chewed up toys and hair.
House sicknesses

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