Those factors which are within your control include:
Home improvements carried out without the necessary planning consent or building regulations approval - Apart from the risk of enforcement action due to lack of planning consent, buildings regulations approval is a strong indication that the work involved in the home improvement (for example, extension or loft conversion and so on) has been carried out correctly and the home improvement is structurally sound.
Shoddy workmanship on home improvements or repairs - Poorly fitting cupboard doors or worktops that are not level do not inspire confidence in potential buyers and can be indicative of a reckless approach to the maintenance of the property.
Decor which is in bad taste -Decor which is in bad taste can devalue the property by as much as 5 to 10%. A classic example of this was the stone cladding on the front of properties that became popular in the late 70s and early 80s, other examples include our text ceilings, timber panelling and textured walls. Walls painted in garish colours or for example deep dark colours are another example.
Poor maintenance and general dilapidation of the property -Flaking paintwork, cracks appearing in the walls, leaking gutters and downpipes and missing or cracked roof tiles are all indications that the property has not been adequately contained. Apart from making the appearance the property less appealing to a potential buyer, poor maintenance may cause potential buyers to suspect that there are underlying or latent defects in the property.
The cleanliness of the property - A property which is not clean or is cluttered is likely to make a potential buyer uncomfortable, this is particularly so if there are unpleasant smells from which the potential buyer will develop negative associations to the property. A property which is not in a clean and tidy state will also give the impression that the property is neglected.
Allowing pets to take over the property- Despite the well-known therapeutic effects and enjoyment that owning a pet brings, owning a pet can have detrimental effect on the value of your property.
Cats can for example, you scratch floors, carpets and doors if their claws are not trimmed regularly. The odour produced by a cat urinating on the floors or spraying the walls with their scent can be difficult to remove. Stray cats may also be a problem for property owners as they may rummage through bins and take shelter under porches and in sheds or other outbuildings marking their territory as they go with foul-smelling liquid.
Dogs may cause the property to have a “dog-like” odour even though the dog may be well looked after. Docile dogs are unlikely to cause any damage however some breeds such as the bull breeds, or boxes, can break through windows and doors. An anxious dog may chew skirting boards, doors and door frames. Laminate flooring can be damaged by dogs who do not have their claws regularly trimmed.
Those factors which may not be within your control include:
Nuisance neighbours : A recent survey by the Halifax revealed that nuisance neighbours can reduce the average house value by up to £31,000.
A nuisance neighbour can be a neighbour who is noisy, disrupting or maybe even threatening. A neighbouring property which is neglected (for example, has a overgrown garden or a garden full of rubbish or broken windows and broken doors) may be off putting to potential buyers of your property. Failure to reveal a nuisance neighbour or a neighbour dispute to a potential buyer may result in legal action being taken against you once the buyer has moved in and discovered the fact that the neighbours are a nuisance.
An increase in the neighbourhood crime rate - Apart from an area acquiring a general reputation for say muggings, car theft burglaries Information on crime levels in certain areas are freely available on the Internet. Any potential buyer can look up information on the level of crime within the area in which the property is situated. Although potential buyers are likely to be reassured by the fitting of approved locks on doors and windows and a working burglar alarm, they are unlikely to want to move into an area with a high crime rate. An area in which there has been a record of sex offences or has a bail hostel within it, is unlikely to attract families.
Development - A development close to your property may reduce the value of your property. An example would be where your property benefited from a lot of light and a good view when you moved in but that there has subsequently been built a block of flats either behind or outside the property which now cuts out a significant amount of the light and blocks the view. Another example may be the building of a new factory or large warehouse fairly close to the street in which your property is situated which has caused a significant increase in the traffic flowing up and down your street.
Flooding - Living in a area which it has been deemed to be a floodplain can make your property more difficult or expensive to insure and this can be off putting to any potential buyers). It may be, that the area in which your property is situated had not got a history of flooding when you first moved in and then on a particularly bad winter is flooded. Just one instance of significant flooding can seriously reduce the value of your property due to the fact that it will be expensive to obtain buildings insurance (in some areas of particularly bad flooding it may be impossible to obtain buildings insurance). Difficulty in obtaining buildings insurance may mean that mainstream mortgage lenders will not lend on the property which will put the property out of the reach of most potential buyers.
Failing schools - According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (R ICS) a high performing school can result in the value of properties within the catchment area for that school increasing by as much as 8%. Similarly properties within the catchment area of a failing school may lose value as a result of a school having a poor OFSTED report or general reputation.