Selling your holiday home? Do it up first, or risk getting a far lower price. That’s the word form the iProperty Company, an online property portal. iProperty carried out a survey this year, asking 2, 000 British holiday home owners what their approach to décor and upkeep was. The results may surprise you – or perhaps not.
The survey found that 53% of British holiday home owners have an attitude to property upkeep and maintenance that’s most-politely described as ‘laid-back’ – when it comes to their holiday home. Often this attitude is at odds with the way they approach their main residence.
iProperty’s CEO, John Candia, remarked that ‘the allure of time spent away from the grind for the quarter of a million Brits who own holiday homes abroad… means the usual keeping up with the Joneses behaviour is abandoned, and household snags that would usually irritate at home, are overlooked.’
Unsurprisingly, respondents had had every intention of looking after their holiday home when they bought it – in fact, 100% of respondents said they had intended to improve the property when they bought it. But for most, that wasn’t how things really worked out, and 79% admitted that they hadn’t so much as touched a paintbrush since their first holiday stay there – even though they’d often go more than once a year, with 58% of respondents saying they visited their holiday home at least four times a year, sometimes going as often as once a month.
Despite visiting often, though, householders didn’t find the time to fix a litany of decrepitude that included broken toilets, ugly floral carpets, mismatched sofas, leaking taps, tacky avocado bathroom suites that had seen better years (the 1970s) and more. The décor faux pas included net curtains, novelty crockery and flocked wallpaper, while many of the holiday home owners surveyed admitted to having cupboards containing out-of-date tinned foods. Basic maintenance tasks like washing up, mowing the lawn and dusting were often left too late – or never done.
But the decay went further than long grass and old tins, or even avocado bathroom suites. In their holiday homes, respondents said that they often overlooked dead lightbulbs and two thirds even admitted to ‘forgetting’ missing doorknobs on doors, cupboards and drawers.
Mr. Candia pointed out that all these issues could significantly lower the sales price of otherwise highly desirable properties. ‘Obviously relaxation is important whilst on holiday,’ he observed, ‘but owners should be warned that continual neglect of their homes could seriously devalue the property when it comes to selling.’
Unfashionable décor, at one end of the scale, is likely to have a smaller effect on potential buyers than long term neglect that can lead to structural damage or degradation, though you should probably do the washing up before the viewing.
Mr. Candia also pointed to an emerging trend: while the holiday home owners surveyed owned holiday homes in the UK and abroad, the number of people who regard the UK as a desirable location for a holiday home has risen to 46% of the nation, with the most desirable areas being the South West, London and Wales.
Mr. Candia’s recommendation? If you’re selling your holiday home, look at it through the buyer’s eyes. Have it professionally cleaned if you can’t face doing a really deep clean yourself – it will pay for itself in added sales value. And face the fact that holiday homes tend to accumulate unwanted trinkets, momentoes, and unwanted household items, as well as avocado baths. Be ruthless, and you’ll be rewarded.