Buy­ers will be im­pressed with more than a lick of paint

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sally Coulthard

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.

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