Buyers will be impressed with more than a lick of paint
MOST people putting their homes on the market at the moment are reluctant to spend any money on redecoration and you can understand why. In these tough economic times, investing in new paintwork can feel like throwing good money after bad, especially if your house isn’t worth as much as you thought it was.
And yet, ironically, with the property market so unpredictable, now is absolutely the time to present your home to its greatest effect. Buyers are pickier than ever and it doesn’t seem to take much for twitchy purchasers to be put off. You’re shooting yourself in the foot if you allow your home to be viewed as an unfinished project.
A poorly-presented property is not only off-putting to potential buyers, but it gives the impression that your house is uncared for and may have serious underlying problems. You also have to put yourself in a buyer’s shoes.
Most people these days are “cash rich, time poor” or in other words, they’d rather pay for the privilege of having a ready decorated home, rather than waste a weekend getting splattered with paint. Even in these lean times, most people still don’t want to get their hands dirty; research from the Alliance and Leicester found nearly 80 per cent of buyers are looking for a property that requires little or no redecorating.
But don’t crack open the tin of hot pink paint quite yet. If you’re a fan of bright colours, as I am, it can be tedious to admit that neutrals are still king when it comes to selling a house.
Buyers find it easier to imagine themselves and their belongings in a neutral colour scheme. Light colours will make your home feel brighter and cleaner and you risk alienatating buyers if your home is too flamboyant.
Be cautious with strong patterns too. The wrong colours or wallpapers can make a room feel smaller or squatter than it really is.
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. Exquisite handblocked prints and bold colour schemes can look amazing in the right setting and when applied with skill, but let’s face it, most of us aren’t in that habit of spending £100 a metre on one-off wallpapers at the moment.
So what is the right amount to spend? You would have thought it would have been a simple matter of cost vs. profit. As ever, it’s not that straightforward. According to recent research by the Halifax, redecorating is the most popular home improvement carried out in the hope that it adds value.
More than a third of people who had redecorated their home believed that their efforts had added up to £2,500 to the value of their property and almost one in three thought it would add between £2,500 and £10,000.
It’s actually much more difficult to quantify, as they are so many factors involved including quality of paint, quality of finish and size of house, but what you can say is that repainting your home is probably the cheapest way to add value. Equally importantly, fresh decor will certainly help your house to sell quicker and for the asking price.
Depending on who you speak to, estimates vary as to how much value repainting a house will add. At the conservative end of the spectrum it is £1,000-£2,000, while a fantastic paint job in a large home may add up to 10 per cent to the value.
It may be easier to think about repainting in terms of a return on your investment. A figure of between 200 per cent and 300 per cent on your outlay is not unreasonable.
However, as always there is a proviso to this. You must get an excellent finish. You need to be meticulous in attention to detail.
A bad paint job will look disastrous and will certainly reduce your home’s value.
If you are in any doubt about whether you have the skill-level to do an adequate paint job, call in the professionals; you won’t make any money on your outlay, but you’ll certainly break even and your house will be eminently more saleable as a result.
And let’s face it, we need all the help we can get at the moment.