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Not painting your house could cost you 10% of its value

To find out more about how to ‘stage’ a property, TheJournal.ie spoke to Graham Murray from Savills estate agents.

IF YOU ARE thinking of putting your house up for sale, presentation is pretty important.

First impressions count for a lot. And when it comes to what is probably your most valuable asset, it is worth putting in that bit of extra effort.

‘Staging’ can be something of a mystical process for somebody new to housing sales.

To find out a bit more about what you should be doing, TheJournal.ie spoke to Head of Residential with Dublin estate agent Savills, Graham Murray, about how to squeeze as much value as possible out of your home.

So, say someone has a house. It’s not in the best condition – chipped wallpaper, rubbish in the garden – what in the first thing they should do? 

If you are an individual living in the house, probably the first step would be having a good overview of your own property and start by decluttering. What you are doing there is getting rid of any non-essential items in the house – so any stacks of books in the corner or any additional furniture that isn’t really required.

After that, once you’ve done that sort of decluttering process, you should probably take a view then at getting the house painted. Doing this is a great way to refresh a property at a very low cost.

It will make the house feel bigger, brighter, and give a nice finish to the house internally.

Would having an old bathtub in your front garden drag a property’s price down? (They’re buying the house, not the garden, right?)

It is a good idea to improve what they call the ‘kerb appeal’. Anyone walking by or driving by and having a look at the house from the outside would want to see a lovely freshly painted house. All the gardens would be neatly trimmed and then maybe some fresh planting as well.

cutting the hedges Source: Giphy

This does sound like a lot of work. Is there a way to pay someone to do this so you don’t have to? 

I think for a lot of people if they are selling their own home they can undertake the work themselves. But say in the case where it might be an executor sale or indeed you might have the property rented out for sometime – you might just not have the inclination or the wherewithall to do it.

If that is the case then a good estate agent would have good contacts in terms of being able to advise you to a specialist who is able to do these certain jobs or to give you a list of recommendations from painters to gardeners.

In the case where a house is in really bad condition for whatever reason – is there someone who can come in and do everything? 

If you have a property that is vacant and has no furniture in it at all – it might feel a bit drab on the interior. We can recommend house staging companies who can come in and do the whole house – they come in and do all the furniture – the bed linen, the sofas, the tables, the gardens, the painting and everything else.

shutterstock_195067544 Having a well-presented house can improve its value by as much as 10% Source: Shutterstock/romakoma

And are there any big improvements that can push up a house’s value? Could a loft conversion or conservatory be a good move? 

If it was an individual who had the inclination to do it, we could certainly point out or give recommendations to areas where they could try to do that kind of development work. Whether it is getting a house renovated from top to toe or going the extra step in terms of replacing windows, heating, wiring, plumbing, new kitchens, new bathrooms.

So, if you had two houses of the same size in the same street – both of them on the market – one of them very shoddy and the other in top condition. How much would the difference in price be? 

From our own experience we have had a property on the market that is vacant, has no furniture in it, and is in very poor condition on the inside. We have gone in and repainted, redone the garden and had them restaged with furniture. We have seen in a lot of cases that it can add anywhere from 8% up to 10% in value. It is certainly a way of making the property a lot more appealing and probably giving it appeal to a wider audience as well.

Are lots of personal effects a turn off for potential buyers?   

Depending on a property itself, if you have a family home that you are getting ready to bring to the market – probably like a lot of families do, you’ll probably have a lot of added items, whether it’s toys, or pictures, and maybe additional bits of furniture. When you do go to sell the property you want to thin it down a bit in terms of making the house look bigger, brighter and more spacious.

I am also aware that if it is a family home and there is a family living there – you don’t go too far in the de-mooding process. If it is a family buying it, they’ll want to see that there has been a happy family life in there as well.

And would you ever force someone to sort their house out before taking it on?

We can never force anybody to do anything. We are there to advise people correctly. We will always give them our recommendation in terms of what we feel is the best course of action to achieve the maximum return for the owner.

Graham Murray’s top tips on getting the most value out of your house

  • Make sure to declutter your property, getting rid of unnecessary items. 
  • Painting a property can be an easy and cheap way to improve its value.
  • Big changes can add value – but should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
  • Personal effects can be of benefit when selling to a family.
  • A well presented house can add up to 10% in value. 

Read: Thinking of putting your home on Ebay? You might want to read this first

Also: Five properties to view this weekend… under €250,000

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