‘Dated’ features that devalue a property – how to add value

Worst House on the Street: Scarlette Douglas talks pebbledash

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Retaining the value of a property is important to every homeowner. They’ll want to maintain the elements that led them to purchase their house. Home improvements can be an expensive venture, but it’s no surprise that doing certain things can enhance the value of your home. Over time, a property will need to be given a new lease of life in the form of refurbishment, redecorating or even a large renovation. However, some improvements to your property might make it less attractive to others. 

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Channel 4 property experts Scarlette and Stuart Douglas shared what can devalue a property and essentially “put people off”.

Stuart said: “If you’re looking structurally, when you see things like subsidence, asbestos or damp in a house that could be problematic

“However if you’re looking at the more cosmetic side, I don’t think anyone ever likes carpet in the bathroom and basically old fashioned and dated designs will put people off.”

Flooring can be overlooked, but it’s an integral part of any home. For many buyers, hardwood flooring is top of their list. 

Homeowners can get away with carpet in bedrooms, but when it comes to other areas of the house, such as bathrooms, consistent hardwood flooring is desired. Carpets are harder to clean, it can also be a breeding ground for hair, especially in households with pets.

“Dated designs are to be avoided as not everyone has the vision or the foresight to see what something can look like. If you’re going to sell a house, why not make it as presentable as possible because first impressions count.”

One feature that Scarlette is not a fan of is pebbledash as it can make a home look as though it is stuck in the “60s or 70s era”.

Pebbledash can be a useful addition to a home as it protects the building from bad weather and is extremely hard-wearing. However, just like Scarlette, many people dislike the appearance of it.

The expert said: “Pebble dash is my least favourite type of decor, so I would definitely say get rid of pebbledash or you don’t have to get rid of it if you don’t have the budget. You can always paint it.”

She explained that in a recent episode of Worst House on the Street, a lady [who had pebbledash] had the whole front of her house sprayed and painted and “it just looked so much fresher and so much more inviting”. 

Scarlette added: “I guess it’s more about making old new and bringing decor into the now as opposed to stuck in the 60s or 70s era – so give your house a good spruce up.”

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On the switch side, when it comes to adding property value, explained that a “definite” way to do this is to make use of space effectively.

He said: “In my house that I’m in now, when I bought my house it needed a lot of work, which is the way I like it as I prefer to put my own stamp on it and make it personal to myself and my family. 

“It had a downstairs utility room/under-staircase cupboard which wasn’t really serving a purpose so I used that same space to create a downstairs toilet and that now has most definitely added value to my house. It’s because I have transformed the space into something that’s going to be used more often. 

“So if you can convert space that is not being used effectively into a more efficient useful space, that will definitely add value.”

Scarlette agreed and added that kerb appeal is a major factor in adding property value, especially for those who are looking for “cost effective” options.

She said: “We talk about this so much and obviously with our new show Worst House on the Street, it is all about the kerb appeal because it can add a lot of value to your home. 

“People want to walk up to somewhere and be proud of it and you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to make the outside of your house look beautiful. 

“There are lots of cost effective ways of doing things and even when you get into your house, soft furnishings, maybe a feature wall and you can even just buy a tub of paint and paint the wall yourself. 

“Try and do a lot of the work yourself and you’ll save on labour, but there are so many ways to make your house more desirable and add more value without having to break the bank.”

When it comes to certain rooms in the house to improve in order to add value, Stuart noted that it is mainly the bathroom and kitchens that give “the best return”. He said: “It’s the standard ones, so the bathroom and your kitchen. If you update your bathroom and your kitchen they’ve obviously going to give you the best return. 

“While they are the big ticket items there are other rooms which you can definitely change and modernise that would also add value to your house, it just depends on what’s right for you and your family at that time. 

“However, sometimes they are the most expensive rooms to do. If you can put a downstairs toilet in an under staircase cupboard, if it’s big enough or as part of a utility room, it will add value.”

The expert also pointed out that gardens can add great value if they are correctly transformed. He said: “People often forget the garden and I treat the garden as a separate room – it’s just an external room. 

“So if you can transform your garden again you’ve created an area which is probably going to be used more often than not and that can definitely add value.”

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