Want to sell or add value to your home?

Whether you’re think­ing longer term or con­sid­er­ing putting your prop­erty on the mar­ket soon, TV’S Phil Spencer shares some sound ad­vice with

Leek Post & Times - - YOUR MONEY - VICKY SHAW

HOME own­ers now stay put for an av­er­age of 19 years be­fore mov­ing, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port. Bar­clays Mort­gages teamed up with prop­erty an­a­lysts Home­track (home­track.com/uk) to find out how of­ten homes change hands – so why are peo­ple stay­ing put for nearly two decades typ­i­cally? And if you’re try­ing to sell your home over Christ­mas, are there any steps you can take to im­prove your chances?

Here, TV prop­erty ex­pert Phil Spencer, a spokesman for the Bar­clays Mort­gages home im­prove­ment re­port, shares his in­sight into cur­rent hous­ing trends, as well as the prop­erty pit­falls to watch out for...

Why do you think peo­ple are choos­ing to stay put for so long rather than mov­ing?

THE cost as­so­ci­ated with mov­ing has in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly in re­cent times, with agency fees, re­moval costs etc. With­out a boom­ing hous­ing mar­ket, home own­ers per­haps haven’t gen­er­ated eq­uity in their homes that they would have done in pre­vi­ous decades that would have en­abled them to take an­other step up the lad­der.

What changes have you seen over the years in what buy­ers are look­ing for and how sell­ers are pre­sent­ing their homes?

I’VE been in­volved in the hous­ing mar­ket for over 25 years and, as with all things, there are trends. There are el­e­ments of fash­ion and, as with cloth­ing, fash­ion changes, so be care­ful of that and don’t go too far out on a limb.

There was a trend for open plan and gen­er­ally open­ing things out, but I’d say that’s chang­ing again.

More en-suite bath­rooms have been pri­ori­tised re­cently. They take up more space and don’t al­ways add huge amounts of value when re-sell­ing, so it will be in­ter­est­ing to see if this lasts. Pantries and larders are also on the up, as we crave more and more space.

What do home own­ers need to be mind­ful of when think­ing about mak­ing im­prove­ments – are there pit­falls to watch out for?

SIM­PLY put – bad DIY. It’s ob­vi­ous when some­thing has been done cheaply, we should all be mind­ful of that. You also need to be real­is­tic with the space you’ve got. Ev­ery prop­erty has a ceil­ing price and as long as you’re aware of that, then you’re good.

I would say you need to be con­sis­tent. I’ve seen ex­pen­sive bath­rooms in cheap houses and it can look very out of place. Al­ways match the price bracket of fit­tings to that of the house.

Also, not to make things too per­sonal to you and your taste and life­style. If you’re do­ing it for you, great, but if you want to re-sell be care­ful. You al­ways need to ap­peal to the largest pos­si­ble de­nom­i­na­tor – there is a rea­son peo­ple use mag­no­lia!

What should home own­ers bear in mind when con­sid­er­ing whether to move or im­prove?

DO the maths and your re­search. Work out how long you would be able to stay in your prop­erty if you im­proved. Is it worth it?

What would it be worth hav­ing done the work? It’s a big de­ci­sion, and it’s rare that the an­swer is ob­vi­ous.

If you’ve done your re­search, go with your de­ci­sion and stick with it.

Is it worth spend­ing sig­nif­i­cant money on the gar­den as well as the home?

YES – treat your gar­den the way you would treat an­other room. Out­side space can be as valu­able, if not more so, than an­other room in the house. I’m pleased to say peo­ple have re­alised this and are spend­ing more time and ef­fort on their gar­dens.

Is it bet­ter as a buyer to pur­chase a ‘doerup­per’ or a turn-key home which needs no work - what are the pros and cons?

EACH to their own, to be hon­est. Some peo­ple are in the right stage of life to do a project, and some aren’t.

Last time I moved, tak­ing a project on was the last thing I wanted to do. I was chang­ing ar­eas, which meant chang­ing schools, and I just wanted a home I could move straight into.

Do you have any tips for sell­ers try­ing to present their home to buy­ers over Christ­mas, bear­ing in mind some may have Christ­mas trees and dec­o­ra­tions around the home?

“DON’T over-dec­o­rate. But (the) chances of se­ri­ous buy­ers look­ing at buy­ing house over the fes­tive pe­riod are rare. I wouldn’t take any es­tate agent pho­tos with dec­o­ra­tions, as they will date quickly.”

It’s im­por­tant to make the house look nice for buy­ers... but don’t go over the top as you might be wast­ing money

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