While it’s true that adding to a property – an extra bathroom, a new boiler or an upgraded kitchen – will also add value, there is another side of home improvement where the ‘less is more’ mantra definitely applies. After all, the Queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo, says ‘life truly begins after you have put your house in order’.
Clutter is one of the biggest contributors to a negative property perception. Whether it’s an agent going out to provide a valuation or a potential mover taking a tour, being met by piles of personal effects and belongings collected over the years can seriously affect what value we place on a property.
The significance of clutter in relation to worth was recently highlighted in a TV show called the Big House Clear Out, where a deep clean and a declutter added £35,000 to the value of one particular property.
You too could add substantially more value if your home is in need of attention, as a new post-pandemic survey by Rated People found movers are placing increasing emphasis on a tidy property. Clutter, dirt and bad smells can collectively knock almost £54,000 off a home’s value, while 43% of respondents said they wouldn’t even arrange a viewing for a property if it looked unclean in photos.
The survey also uncovered what particular aspects of a cluttered property would dent the value the most. A dirty bathroom would reduce a home’s value by £8,966, while rubbish or debris in the front garden could take off £8,964.
Unlike adding value with expensive improvements, decluttering and cleaning takes little more than time and some elbow grease. Wherever you are on the scale – from messy home maker to full-blown hoarder – here are 5 steps to follow if you’re determined to cut out the clutter.
- Set aside time: block out a weekend to really get to grips with clutter but if this thought is overwhelming, set a daily alarm and spend 30 minutes clearing one area of one room – perhaps a chest of drawers.
- Arm yourself with the right tools: just as you would decorating, preparation is key to efficient decluttering. Gather black sacks, recycling bins, expanding files, paperclips and storage boxes before you make a start.
- Be mindful of where clutter goes: if you dump your junk in the garden, you will continue to damage your home’s value so always remove, rehome or recycle. If you must store items on top of wardrobes or under beds, use boxes or risk spoiling the neat look.
- Recognise what is too much: if you can’t see your floor, your kitchen work tops or surfaces such as sideboards, you need to be ruthless. Bag up and bin what’s unsalvageable, file paperwork and tackle laundry piles.
- Remember it’s not forever: if you’re decluttering ahead of a home move and want to impress viewers, a good rule of thumb is ‘50% less’ when clearing personal items and knick-knacks. Use your loft or even a storage facility for anything you can’t bear to part with.
If you would like an impartial opinion on your property’s condition, ask us for honest yet friendly advice.