If there’s one thing that’s likely to deter a would-be homebuyer, it’s evidence of damp. This is the kind of persistent problem that can worsen over the years, be expensive to manage, and ultimately render the property uninhabitable, thereby losing the buyer a considerable chunk of their investment.
A survey commissioned by Hammonds furniture asked 2,000 Brits about the factors they consider when viewing a property. Sure enough, the presence of mould or damp was the most commonly-cited complaint, with 62% of respondents indicating that they would be put off by it. The nearest competitor was a pest infestation, which came in at 57%.
Where these problems are mild, they can be managed. But where they are severe, they can impact the ultimate sale value of the property. Michael Patterson, Managing Director of We Buy Any House, says that a fifth of the property’s value can be lost thanks to mould and pests.
“Mild cases of mould may not affect value too dramatically if all is needed is a dehumidifier and some mould-resistant paint, but very severe cases can reduce a property’s value up to 20%. Pests can also cause extensive damage, especially rats that are prone to chewing through electrics and wooden beams, which you would need to repair. Depending on the damage done, you could be looking at between 5-20% of a decrease in value.”
What can I do to manage the problem?
Patterson cites two measures that might help to minimise the problem of damp.
A dehumidifier works a little bit like an air-conditioner. It’ll suck air across a condenser, and collect the moisture that it draws from the air in a reservoir in the bottom. They’re inexpensive, and can suck dozens of litres of airborne water from the property in a single day.
Special paint will disguise the formation of mould; it’ll look good, even if the underlying problem is still there.
What steps can I take to boost the sale price?
Even if you’ve gotten the damp problem under control, there are other factors which can inhibit your success with potential buyers. Clutter and mess can make your home seem cramped and pokey. In fact, according to the Hammonds survey, almost a fourth (39%) of buyers would think twice if they saw that the neighbour’s garden was messy.
Redecorating, converting the loft, or installing a conservatory can all add up to more interest in your home, and a higher asking price. Updating the kitchen is a traditional route – it’s the most valuable room in the property per square metre, and a little investment here can yield substantial rewards when you come to sell up. But in 2020, with more people working from home than ever before, the presence of a home office might be a feature that many are looking for – and you can install one for a very modest investment.