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Weird And Wacky Features: Do They Increase Your House Price Or Are They A Waste Of Money?

21/09/2016 15:55

We all like to put our own stamp on our homes and therefore one of the first things we will do, after moving in, is redecorate to our personal tastes.

However, some people have taken this to a whole other level and the question is, what happens when it comes to selling a home with a 25ft shark sticking out the roof?

There are plenty of turn-offs that are easily rectified. Take dirty kitchens and bathrooms - these have been found to be among the biggest turn-offs for potential buyers. But, the solution is simple; give them a deep clean. Similarly, clutter is a big no-no for potential buyers, and again has a simple solution; have a clear out and tidy up.

However, others aren't quite so simple and as well as being time-consuming, it can be incredibly costly to put them back to how they once were. And, bear in mind this is on top of the time and money that it took to change it in the first place.

I was lucky enough to sit down with Elliot Castle, MD of We Buy Any Home. So before we start adding weird and wacky features to our homes, Elliot tells me what it could do to the value of your property.

Feature: replica of the Sistine Chapel

Brighton resident, Robert Burns, spent little money, but an awfully long time recreating the Sistine Chapel inside his three bedroom council house. While supplies only cost him £350 throughout the project, it took him a whopping 12 years to complete his masterpiece.

Among the renaissance design, Robert, who has neither been to Italy nor been taught how to paint - has created images of Wayne Rooney, Simon Cowell, Nigella Lawson and Russell Brand - like you have never seen them before.

Elliot says, "Although this feature will not add value to the property it is unlikely that it will have a significant effect on the re-sale value. Undoubtedly the décor is an acquired taste and would have limited appeal to the general open market, however the feature is merely decorative and would be no different from a property where the décor has become outdated or is in need of a lick of paint.

We can't see any more than a small % drop in its value, simply to cover the costs of redecorating throughout."

Although it took three times longer to create this replica then the real thing, Robert said it was a 'labour of love' and therefore, to him, it was probably worth both the time and money. Although, perhaps heartbreaking for him, if he did want to get the value up he again could simply paint over it fairly cheaply and easily.


Feature: nuclear bunker

Are you prepared for an apocalypse? Probably not, unless your name is Colin Furze. The inventor from Stamford, Lincolnshire has built a massive underground bunker in his garden you know, because you can never be too prepared...

The 6x20ft space which can hold up to 20 people took nearly two months to build and, while Colin is keeping quiet on the costs, he did say it was "expensive".

Elliot explains, "Considering the garden and its layout will remain the same we cant see any decrease in value for this property. Although it's unlikely to add any real value it will certainly give the property a USP against other similar properties on the market - the feature will make for an interesting alternative to your traditional garden shed."

It may not be a feature you look for in a home but you would be incredibly grateful for it if an apocalypse were to happen. And, in the meantime, you have extra storage or a quirky spot for a party that won't bother the neighbours.

Although, it doesn't look like Colin is planning on selling anytime soon, saying "the bunker does tie me to that home."

Feature: shark through the roof

Look below the roofline and this Headington house doesn't look any different to those that surround it. But, look up a little further and you will see a 7.5 metre fibreglass shark protruding from the slates.

It landed in this roof in Oxford back in 1986 and has become a local landmark and even has its own website and Wikipedia page.

Elliot says, "Such a feature will undoubtedly be seen as an eyesore by most and will certainly detract from the property and its appearance. The feature has also been the subject of various action from the council and we believe any would-be buyer would need to have an open mind. Even if the feature were removed and the roof restored to its original form, the mass media attention it's had over the years means that the property now carries a stigma. We predict up to a 15% loss in value."

It doesn't look like this house will be for sale anytime soon, but you may be able to rent it. It was last advertised for £2,250 a month - perfect for fans of Jaws, if you don't mind people taking a photo of your house every couple of minutes, of course.

Feature: Banksy street art

You would be furious if you found someone had graffitied the side of your house, wouldn't you? Well, perhaps not if the artwork were by infamous street artist Banksy. Despite the fact it is effectively vandalism, Banksy's work has become worth thousands - wherever it may be.

Which is why, when an image of spies in trench coats appeared on the side of a house in Cheltenham, rather than taking away from the value of the home, it added a significant amount.

Elliot agrees, "Because of its uniqueness and its link to such a famous graffiti artist we think that this property could attract a premium up to 10% over its value. Some buyer might be attracted to a piece of history that relates to one of Britain's most famous street artists"

This took no time, money or effort for the homeowners - but they are set to see a huge reward from it. A similar work of art in the form of cut off brickwork in east London sold for £500,000. Now all you need is Bansky to choose your home as his next canvas...

Feature: a football pitch

Many little boys dream of having a full sized football pitch in their garden but, when the opportunity presents itself, is it worth actually doing it?

Firstly you probably will need planning permission. When Adam Lallana built a £40,000 football pitch in his garden and didn't have it, he got complaints from the neighbours, with the danger that it may need to be knocked down before the referee even blows his whistle.

Elliot says, "Again this will undoubtedly detract from the value and the sale ability of this property. Although the football pitch may seem like a fun idea to some, it is unlikely to be what most families are looking for when buying such a property. The structure has also been done without the necessary consents by the local council and is likely to be subject to legal action and or a fine."

This will leave you with very little garden space and is incredibly costly, especially if it has to be knocked down. So, perhaps just put up goal posts for now. They are much cheaper and can be placed in the shed when not in use!

Feature: purple décor

From the outside this home looks like your average semi-detached house, but step inside and it is decorated entirely in purple. Literally everything in every room, from the carpet to the wallpaper, is a shade of purple.

Elliot explains, "This will make the property less saleable. And, as property nowadays is mostly sold through the internet - many buyers will be scared off by the pictures alone. Unless they are lucky enough to find a buyer with a similar preference for the colour purple, then any buyer will need to factor in costs to redecorate the house entirely and change all of the carpets. This could costs tens of thousands."

Decorating your entire home is pretty expensive - then imagine you have to redecorate the whole thing again and you are doubling the original cost. Unless they find someone who loves purple as much as they do, that is what this purple home will probably have to do in order to sell it.

These features are, of course, an acquired taste and done out of personal preference rather than to necessarily add value to the house. However, if it is value you are after, rather than a novelty feature, there are much simpler ways to do it. Did you know, for example, that you could see an 88% return on your investment if you just did a bit of work in the garden? Or, that new carpets could provide you with a 50% return on investment?

So, before you go adding any weird or wacky features to your home, consider how much you really want it. Is the time and money you will spend creating, worth how much you will lose when it comes to selling your house - either in terms of time and money to cover it up or having to accept a lower offer on your house. If it is - great - go crazy and make those dreams a reality.

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