When it comes to selling or letting your home, you want it to look its best before the viewings begin. But where to start? It’s perhaps not surprising to hear that research conducted by Nationwide found that adding an extra double bedroom and bathroom through carrying out a loft conversion will have the most impact on a property’s value.
A survey by mortgage and loans provider Ocean Finance found that 54% of home owners in the UK were planning to carry out improvements on their properties in 2015, with 12% wanting to create more useable space in their properties. So what about the often overlooked staircase? James Grace spoke to a number of leading estate agents to find out what they thought about renovating a staircase to give your property a boost in value.
For many properties, the staircase is the first thing that you see when entering, Andrew Thorpe from Savills said: “It helps with first impressions. We deal with best in class properties and what is quite a common feature in a lot of the properties we sell is an impressive reception hallway. And a big part of a reception hallway is often a feature staircase. We’ve actually had press requests from the national papers for properties for nice staircases. At some point last year we had a request for properties with glass staircases, for example. So although it isn’t necessarily a common feature we are asked about, it’s one of those features that creates a lasting impression for a property of a particular caliber and is often expected as part and parcel.”
It’s usually the norm to renovate certain rooms in a house before selling it, however Nic Lewis from Estates & Leisure said that he has started to see an uplift in staircase renovations lately: “From experience I have seen that when people are trying to sell or rent out their home they will usually get the kitchen or the bathroom done beforehand, but not so often the staircase. It is amazing how much of a difference it can make. Funnily enough, I showed a family around one of our properties recently and they said the staircase was the first thing they loved about it. It perhaps sounds a bit clichéd but I’d definitely go as far as to say that the staircase has the opportunity to provide the biggest ‘Wow Factor’ of all the aspects of a property. There are so many options when it comes to styles, you can really have some fun with it.”
Property Management expert and MD of Hogbens Property Services, James Hogben agrees that the staircase is a missed opportunity for a lot of homeowners: “A staircase is often something that people overlook when building or refurbishing a property, I find this quite strange given that it is often the first thing you see when entering through the front door.” A well designed and built staircase has the ability to transform a room into something quite special. Whether it be a contemporary floating stair case with glass infill panels or a more traditional timber staircase with intricate detailing, these essential items of furniture are used on a daily basis and often taken for granted. When it comes to selling or even renting your property a staircase that is complimentary to the subject property can make a huge impact on the purchasers or lessors decision to proceed with a transaction and could even increase the value.”
Of course, all of this depends on whether you actually plan to sell your home, or whether you just want to improve it to live in it longer. A survey conducted by Wooden Blinds Direct earlier this year found that 94% of UK homeowners would rather spend money improving their current home than sell up and move on. Lee from estate agents Holden Prescott agreed with the majority of homeowners, saying: “The real value would probably come from renovating the staircase whilst you’re living in the house so you can see the benefits of it and enjoy it. Then when you do come to sell, in theory it makes it more saleable.”
The trend of having a new feature staircase has already picked up amongst higher value properties, and from speaking to the experts it sounds like it is only a matter of time before this trend starts to become more prominent in a wide range of homes across the UK, especially those looking to make an impression on the housing market.