What brings down the value of a house?

What brings down the value of a house?

If you’re looking to sell your home, of course you’ll want to achieve a sale price that matches your property’s valuation.

But whether or not you can achieve that could be affected by a whole host of issues that could devalue your property.

Here, we’ll explore some of the things that could affect your property’s value…


Does removing a chimney breast devalue a house?

Removing a chimney breast can create more space and more space usually means more value.

However, if you’re lucky enough to live in a London period property, there are other factors you should consider before removing a chimney breast.

If removing a chimney breast will mean losing period features in your home, such as Victorian or Edwardian fireplaces, consider how this could affect the saleability of your property.

Think, also, about the people who would potentially want to buy your home in the future. Would they want a traditional fireplace, or would they prefer to have more square footage?


Does underpinning devalue property?

Subsidence can be scary as a homeowner and there’s no doubt that properties with structural problems do suffer drops in value.

However, underpinning is the process used to fix subsidence and structural issues, so purchasing a property that has been underpinned should be no problem for most buyers.

However, some may be put off by a property with a history of structural issues, even if those problems have been rectified – and this could potentially reduce the value of your home in the eyes of those buyers.


Does converting a garage devalue your house?

Converting your garage into additional inside space is a big decision.

And depending on what any potential buyer is looking for, it could add value to your home or reduce it.

Before converting your garage space, consider:

• How much on-street and off-street parking you still have once the garage is converted. Is it enough for potential buyers?

• How much space you have inside your home and the amount of additional space a garage conversion would add. How would buyers use this space?


Does removing a conservatory devalue a house?

Conservatories can be great ways to add extra square footage to a property.

But if your conservatory was built decades ago and has seen better days, you could actually increase your property’s value by removing it.

Conservatories that add value are:

• Modern and well-built

• Usable during all seasons – not too cold in winter and too hot in summer

• In place for a reason, such as a dining space

Conservatories that could reduce your property’s value are:

• Old, with a dated décor

• Unusable during cold or hot months

• Using up space that could make your garden bigger or be used for an extension


Does smoking devalue a house?

Smoking indoors could devalue your home by up to 29%, according to estimates.

That’s potentially a huge amount of money – and it’s easy to see why this is the case.

Smoking in your property:

• Cigarette smoke stains walls, floors, window frames and furniture

• Leaves a lingering smell that is difficult to shift

• Will almost certainly put off buyers as soon as they walk through the door


Do pools devalue houses?

Whether or not an outdoor swimming pool devalues your property may depend on when buyers view it.

The sight of a swimming pool on a baking hot day in July could peak a buyer’s interest – especially if no other properties in the area have pools.

However, a swimming pool in January could be seen by buyers as an expensive and time-consuming luxury – not to mention something that takes up valuable garden space. It’s estimated that a swimming pool costs between £5 and £10 a day to heat and keep clean with chemicals, so it’s expensive, and this can be a turn-off for buyers.


Will a neighbour’s extension devalue my house?

Extensions can sometimes be areas of dispute between neighbours.

Even if a neighbour is granted planning permission for a large extension, it can be off-putting for buyers if they fear overlooking or a lack of sunlight.

A 2018 study by Powertools2U estimated that an imposing extension can devalue a neighbouring house by up to £15,845.


What else devalues a house?

Here are eight other things that could be affecting your property's value...


1. A lack of kerb appeal

As a buyer, there's nothing more disappointing than turning up for a viewing and seeing an un-kempt, poorly cared-for property.

It's an immediate turn-off.

And even if a buyer can find a way past the rubbish and leaves on the pathway and peeling woodwork, it's unlikely they will want to pay full price for something that will need a great deal of their own tender loving care.


2. Poor decor

While you might love the 'nostalgic' decor of your home, orange carpets and kaleidoscopic wallpaper aren't for everyone. And even though decorative changes don't often break the bank, buyers will look at your asking price and factor in your 'unique' decoration before making an offer.

Make sure your home is decorated to appeal to a wide range of buyers - or at least that it’s neutral, meaning a blank canvas for its next owner.


3. Your neighbour’s property

Even if your property is the most pristine in the street, if your neighbour's home doesn't match it, it's likely to affect your property's value.

Of course, you can't really change your neighbours, but you can help spruce up their property.

If you're out mowing your front lawn, or pruning hedges, offer to do the same for your neighbour - you'll be boosting your own property's chances of a sale and your neighbour will be grateful.


4. Poor schools

School catchments are always high on the wish lists of families looking to buy a new home.

So, if your property sits in the catchment area of a poor-performing primary or secondary school, it is almost certainly going to affect its value.

On the other side of the coin, being in catchment of a 'Good' or 'Outstanding' school can boost your property's value substantially.


5. Poor cleanliness and smells

Vendors who smoke or keep pets will always have to work hard to remove bad odours from their homes.

And the truth is, doing so completely is almost impossible.

Unfortunately, smells like these or poor cleanliness can really drive down your property's value, as buyers will find it hard to look past these issues when viewing.


6. Bad energy efficiency

Buyers in this day and age are far more environmentally friendly than any other buyers before them.

They place energy efficiency high on their property wish list, also, because most like to know that a property will not cost too much to run.

So, if your property's single glazed windows and poor insulation are driving down its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, they'll also be driving down its value.


7. Traffic and noise pollution

While most London home buyers will want to be near an Underground station or bus stop for an easy commute to work, they'll also be mindful of pollution caused by traffic and noise.

So, if your property is on a busy through-route or has a train or Overground line running close to it, it could affect its value due to increased noise and vehicle pollution. It's very much a case of being 'close' but 'not too close...'


8. Economic changes and legislation

This one, unfortunately, is out of your hands to an extent.

Economic uncertainty, such as what we’ve experienced through Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, can often have a negative effect on property prices. Changes to regulations regarding things like Stamp Duty can also have a positive or negative effect – and there’s no doubt the stamp duty ‘holiday’ introduced in 2020 played its part in keeping the housing market buoyant.

The only thing you can do to negate these issues is time your sale appropriately when sellers have a degree of control and buyer demand is high, as this can help maximise your property's value.


Further reading…

If you’re looking to add some value and appeal to your home before selling, but you’re on a tight budget, consider dressing your windows.

If your budget is larger and you’re thinking of carrying out major work to your property, you may have considered a basement conversion – our guide tells you everything you need to know.

And if you’re deciding whether to buy or sell a property, our top tips on both can help you make the right decision.