1. ANTI-SOCIAL NEIGHBOURS
According to a survey conducted as part of Halifax Home Insurance’s Peace of Mind campaign, one in five (17%) homeowners encountered serious problems with their neighbours during 2012 – the hi2.
2. ILLEGAL HOME ‘IMPROVEMENTS’
When making major changes or building onto your home, you must adhere to building regulations and, in many cases, seek planning permission.
However, some people don’t bother, says Dean Sanderson, managing director of Manchester-based estate agents, Sanderson James.
“If a property has had illegal changes made to it, new buyers will have to factor in the cost of rectifying the problem.” Visit planningportal.gov.uk to see what is legal – with and without permission.
The recent level of flooding is testament to the changing global climate – something homeowners can do nothing about.
“A local authority search will throw up whether a house is situated on a flood plain, so it’s not something vendors can mask,” explains Charles Smailes, former president of the National Association of Estate Agents.
Failing to keep up with general maintenance, such as a neat front garden, fresh paintwork, effective guttering and clean windows, can wipe up to 5% off the value of your property, according to experts.
Yet this so-called ‘kerb appeal’ is one of the cheapest measures you can take to retain your home’s value, according to Halifax research.
While you won’t have to legally disclose superstitious gossip about your home or if there’s been a death in the house, if it’s common knowledge, it’s a good idea to be upfront about the issue from the start, thereby building trust with a prospective buyer.
Smailes points out, however, that some homes are just unsellable. “For example, if it was still standing, 25 Cromwell Street – the home of Fred and Rose West. You could forget selling a home like that for any price.”
Bad taste and workmanship can wipe between 5% and 10% off the value of an otherwise perfectly good home. “Stone-cladding on the front of the house can look cheap, while nasty-looking conservatories will also put off new buyers,” she says.
The same applies to other semi-permanent changes that are not in line with modern tastes, such as timber panelling, textured walls and Artex ceilings.
It might be that, soon after you moved into your home, the surrounding environment took a turn for the worse. For example, your garden now sits in the shadow of a mobile phone mast.
While you can campaign and register objections with the local council, in many cases you will just have to swallow the change – which can significantly devalue your home.
If your area has seen an increase in crime levels it’s not going to bode well for the value of your property.
What’s more, local crime levels are now very transparent – prospective buyers can use websites such as upmystreet.co.uk – so you can bet your bottom dollar this will be factored into any offer price you receive for your home.
Fitting approved locks on doors and windows and installing a working alarm should ease the blow. But most importantly, flag up vigilant neighbours. You could even start a Neighbourhood Watch scheme – which is even more difficult for criminals to negotiate.
An estimated 39% of people in the UK own a dog or a cat and in most cases this will have no effect at all on the value of your home when you come to sell.
However, if pets are smelly, intimidating or simply too many in number, it’s very off-putting for potential buyers. Even if your furry friend is overlooked, you can expect offers of as much as 5% below the asking price.
After property, good schools must be the UK’s most popular obsession. It should come as no surprise then, that the performance results of state schools within the catchment area of your property will have a direct effect on its value.