If you want to add value to a house quickly, you need to know one thing: the way we value the cleanliness of our homes has completely changed since the pandemic. While a nicely presented and clean home used to be a 'nice to have', it is now essential if you want to command your home's full financial potential.
The simple fact is that people will pay (a lot) more for houses they perceive to be clean and germ-free.
New research from the find-a-tradesperson platform Rated People shows the pandemic has increased the value of cleanliness and hygiene for homebuyers. Dirt, clutter, and bad smells were found collectively to knock almost £54,000 off a property’s value.
A nationwide survey of 2,000 people reveals that three in five prospective buyers (61 per cent) say they’d put in a lower offer if a property wasn’t clean when they viewed it. And more than 40% (43 per cent) say they wouldn’t even arrange a viewing for a property if it looked unclean in photos. So, what cleaning jobs and areas of the house should you focus on to increase – not lose – the value of your property?
Declutter, clean, then declutter some more
Decluttering is all the rage these days, but if you're planning to sell, it's essential. According to the research, mess and clutter will see an offer on a house decrease by an average of £9,290. That means getting rid of all the stuff you don't need permanently, not storing it in your front garden. Rubbish or debris in the front garden would take off £8,964 from the value of your house.
Cleaning, of course, is a must as part of any impending house sale, but there are two rooms that are non-negotiable when it comes to getting spotlessly clean – and kitchen and the bathroom. Almost incredibly, an impeccable bathroom could add £8,966, to the value of your home, and the kitchen – £8,882.
Don't bother cleaning and you could lose out on an astonishing amount of money. Oh, and don't forget to wash and clean all soft furnishings and upholstery – those dirty carpets or sofa could cost you almost another £9,000. Follow our guide for how to clean a upholstery to tackle the issue swiftly.
Eliminate bad smells
How much do people really care about an unpleasant smell during a house viewing? A lot. Bad smells inside are a sure-fire way to make a bad first impression. Plus they would also result in almost £9,000 (£8,946) being taken off a home’s value.
Mind, this doesn't have to be a really bad smell like mould or refuse – if a house smells like your dog, people will make a lower offer. Simply cleaning your upholstery and washing pet bedding before viewings (and maybe making sure someone takes the dog out for a walk) could substantially increase your house value.
These types of issues could easily be fixed within a day or two, either with a bit of elbow grease or by getting the professionals in. By getting them sorted prior to selling, offers are likely to be £53,897 higher than if the issues weren’t fixed.
Adrienne Minster, CEO at Rated People commented: 'We wanted to discover how the last year has impacted homebuyers’ priorities and to find out what they’re now looking for from their properties in a post-pandemic world. Given our increased emphasis on hygiene, including washing hands, social distancing and cleanliness in general, it’s easy to see why a messy or dirty home can spoil your chances of securing a good offer if you’re looking to sell. Yet, it’s still surprising to see just how much these types of issues will now affect the value of your home.'
We say better the lovely surprise of receiving a higher offer than a nasty one just because the bathroom was a bit messy.
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Anna Cottrell is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.
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