‘Significant’ factors that can slash £58,000 from property value – puts sale ‘at risk’

Sarah Beeny gives advice on selling your home fast

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House prices have constantly been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic, with the latest data from Halifax revealing house price inflation is at its strongest level since late 2004. While this is good news for those looking to sell their home, there are some key features that could devalue their property or even hinder their chances of selling.

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Following the recent survey form Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors that forecasted a house price slow between now and September, property expert, Gemma Caulfield, senior valuer at Bramleys, one of Yorkshire’s largest estate agencies, has outlined the main factors that put buyers off a home and how to fix them.

Here are seven factors that can lead to thousands being knocked off a property value, meaning her advice could counteract a potential drop in the market value of a home.

One of the first issues that can devalue a property and even render a sale is Japanese knotweed.

Gemma explained: “Japanese Knotweed is a significant factor that can put the sale and structure of your home at risk.”

The property guru noted that this factor can knock off between 10 to 20 percent off of a house value as it “will cause issues with mortgages”.

As the average UK house price stands at £294,845, according to Halifax’s latest House price Index, Japanese knotweed could mean that sellers miss out on £58,969.

However, she did note that “there are specialists you can employ to remove it”.

The expert added: “As a guide, a typical semi-detached property with an infestation in the rear garden in several places could cost between £3,000 and £5,000 for a full treatment. 

“Japanese Knotweed removals should always come complete with a 10-year insurance backed guarantee and indemnity policy that ensures that the treatment will be completed.

“If your neighbours have it too, they will need it removed too, or it will come back.”

Surprisingly, disputes with neighbours can also lower house value to as much as 20 percent too.

Gemma explained: “Disputes that have material importance to the buyer, such as parking, boundary lines or shared access, must also be reported. 

“As an ongoing neighbour dispute can affect your home’s saleability, you should try to resolve any disputes before you put your property on the market. 

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“Using third party mediation may help both parties to seek an agreement. Although there is a cost involved in using mediation, it is less expensive than what it might knock off the value of your home.”

“Any anti-social behaviour by neighbours or ongoing disputes will need to be documented. This includes shouting or excessive noise, using abusive or rude language, bullying or threatening behaviour and littering or dumping rubbish.

Poor maintenance or any sight of damage to a property can result in a devaluation of 10 percent, which can equate to a £29,485 loss.

The property expert said: “Buyers can be put off by homes that don’t seem well maintained or there is damage. E.g. doors hanging off, light fixtures on their last legs, a dirty oven or kitchen cabinets that are wonky. 

“Take a tour around your home, pretend you’re seeing it for the first time and write a list of anything you’ve been putting off that would be simple enough to fix.”

Poor presentation can also slash property value by 10 percent as it paints a home in a negative light.

Gemma said: “If your home is untidy, cluttered, or your garden overgrown, give it a major overhaul. 

“Tidying and cleaning cost next to nothing but it majorly affects desirability, and people will offer less if a property is messy or unloved.”

Doing work without Building Control approval or without certificates e.g. electrical work can knock off anywhere between £5,000 to £25,000, however, this “depends on the size of the property”, according to the expert.

Gemma warned: “If you’ve altered your house, carried out an extension or done electrical work without getting certificates or Building Control approval, this can significantly affect the value of your property and can put your sale at risk.

“The easiest, cheapest and most common way of dealing with a lack of building regulations approval (in most cases) is by purchasing an indemnity insurance policy. 

“An indemnity policy will cover the new owner of the property against costs and losses as the result of the local authority carrying out enforcement action.”

Mould and damp is another serious issue that can affect property value by between £5,000 to £10,000, “depending if it’s damp or condensation”, says the property pro.

She explained: “Damp homes can seriously put off buyers and knock value off your home. Sometimes, the damp can be caused by a structural issue.

“However, condensation is actually the most common cause of dampness or black mould in the UK.

“Many people assume these are caused by more severe issues, when in fact some simple lifestyle changes could quickly eradicate damp problems and get the home in great condition for a sale. 

“Ensure you’re using extractor fans, buy a dehumidifier and avoid drying clothes indoors. Open your windows regularly and wipe your walls down.”

Last but not least, no phone signal or connectivity can “put a lot of buyers off” and cause a loss of £3,000 to £5,000 to the overall value.

Gemma said: “Poor mobile coverage can put off a lot of buyers, especially if they turn up to the viewing and can’t take calls. 

“It’s an inconvenience that may put some professionals off. However, this can be an easy fix. 

“Some mobile phone carriers will offer cheap solutions that you can have installed.”

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