What parts of house design will affect resale value

hand holding house keys

The following comments can apply equally to the construction of a new house and also to the renovation of an existing house. The emphasis will be slightly different in each case, but the general principles will still be applicable. 

This blog does not include the tips an agent might give about presentation for sale or an open-house inspection (e.g. general housekeeping, cleaning, etc).

There are several areas inside and outside a house that receive particular attention from potential buyers. The way these areas are presented is critical and can be the difference to distinguish one property from another. 

If two or more houses offer more or less the same accommodation (e.g. 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 car spaces), it is the quality and presentation of the areas discussed below that will determine which home will achieve the higher sale price. 

Almost any investment spent to upgrade and finish these areas to a high standard will be repaid with increased sale valuation!

#1. KITCHEN

kitchen in architecturally designed home

This kitchen is part of an open plan living and dining space with an island bench, stone benchtops and stainless steel appliances.

With any new home design, our clients typically seek an open plan living, dining and kitchen space. The kitchen is universally recognised as the heart of any house, the centre of many social activities and therefore it is integrated with the living and dining spaces. 

In many older houses, the kitchen occupies a traditional location at the rear of the house, separated from the living and dining rooms. In a renovation, it is not unusual for walls to be removed and the kitchen rearranged to form part of a new open plan living and dining space.

With the current trend for the kitchen to be “on show”, the design and finishes of the kitchen take on far greater significance.

Particular attention must be paid to the functional layout, provision for storage, presentation and the kitchen’s relationship to the remainder of the house in terms of colours and materials. In a modern house, a kitchen is often considered as an elegant built-in joinery that underlines the design concept of the home.

Particular scrutiny is given to the appliances (e.g. European brands, stainless steel, size, etc), bench finishes (e.g. stone top, polyurethane doors and drawers), splashbacks (e.g. stone, glass or tiles) and storage (e.g. soft-close drawers, slide-out pantry racks, etc). 

With open-planning of the living, dining and kitchen, there is also a greater emphasis on a walk-in pantry to hide the messy cooking preparation and clean-up.

#2. BATHROOM

architecturally designed bathroom

A window to a private lookout, large mirror and light surfaces enhance this bathroom.

Bathrooms and powder rooms have also assumed a greater importance. 

The number of bathrooms provided in a house has increased as people’s expectations of comfortable living has increased. For example, it is now common for every house to have a main bathroom and an ensuite bathroom. In many cases, there is often a third bathroom or, if not, a separate powder room.

 The vast increase in the availability of tiles, bathroom products, tapware, sanitary fittings, etc. has resulted in competition amongst home owners to have the very best and the very latest products installed in their bathrooms. This is an area that will receive a great deal of scrutiny by any potential purchaser.

In an older property, most often the bathrooms will be small and outdated. They will need to be renovated and possibly enlarged. In some cases, it may be necessary to construct a new bathroom to serve as the ensuite bathroom to the main bedroom.

As a general rule, a bathroom should be well-lit and spacious. Good natural light and ventilation with large mirrors and light colours help achieve this effect. The careful selection of basins, taps, baths and shower screens will enhance the presentation, new bathroom products are constantly being added to the market.

#3. GARAGE

garage on a new home

Located in bushland, the natural materials of this house complement the setting with timber finishes used to integrate the garage door.

Many potential purchasers place particular value on vehicle accommodation. There is an expectation that each house be provided with a generous double garage. 

The garage is not only for the parking of motor vehicles but also for the storage of all the other objects that cannot be stored satisfactorily within the house. These items can include boats, trailers, sporting equipment, gardening tools, hobby activities and many other household items.

Many older houses were built with a very small single garage or without a garage at all. An owner can greatly increase the value of an older property by adding a garage and improving vehicle access. 

With any garage – either for a new house or a house renovation – internal access into the house is a strong preference for both security purposes and also weather protection.

A double garage is a large space and requires careful integration into the street façade. The colour and type of garage door can have a strong visual impact. The driveway selection will equally be important to coordinate with the landscaping and to avoid the harsh glare associated with large areas of plain concrete.

#4. OUTDOOR LIVING

outdoor living space with pool

This outdoor living space is self-sufficient with all the facilities needed for outdoor cooking, dining and relaxation.

Part of the Australian lifestyle today is greater contact with the outdoors and the use of exterior spaces for entertaining and relaxation. 

For both new houses and older properties, the creation of an outdoor living space is a prime prerequisite. Most owners are seeking a generous area suitable for outdoor dining with a BBQ, good lighting and weather protection. 

Due to our benign climate, these outdoor living spaces can be used year round and greatly extend the internal space within a house. Ideally, the outdoor living area is located in an area that is private from the neighbours and takes advantage of the best orientation and any views available.

#5. MAINTENANCE

well maintained facade

This renovation included replacement of cladding and roofing materials to minimise future maintenance.

The proper maintenance and upkeep of the building is important, particularly in an older property. Most purchasers are seeking a property with little work to do once they move in. 

Not only does a house present much more favourably when it is well maintained with neat gardens and lawns but it also gives the potential purchaser the peace of mind that they are not faced with major inconvenience and costs associated with extensive building works.

When repainting is required, this is an opportunity for a new, fresh colour scheme. This can be a very economical way to achieve a much improved presentation.

#6. STREET PRESENTATION

front of house

An interesting facade incorporating privacy, security and sun screening with subtle colours responds to this inner urban location.

The way a house presents to the street is important as it is representative of the owner’s taste and aspirations. The following factors will impact the value of a home:

  • How it relates to the surrounding context
  • Whether it subtlety integrates with the streetscape, or makes a bold statement 
  • What “attractive” elements are incorporated in the streetfront design
  • How landscaping and front fencing is incorporated

With an existing house, a bland presentation can be improved with the addition of an entry porch, veranda or pergola. A logically planned front path with gardens to provide an obvious entry and organisation to the yard can have a big impact.

Equally high quality landscaping and paving is essential for good street presentation.

GOOD DESIGN AND PLANNING

architectural dining area design

A well-designed house will be light, open and spacious. An ocean view is a bonus.

Generally, a well designed house that is Architecturally distinctive sells itself to the astute buyer. 

Factors that make an important contribution can often be neglected or overlooked by the homeowner. An Architect will ensure that critical design issues such as privacy from neighbours, correct orientation access to external areas, sensible arrangement of rooms, minimising excessive hallways are all properly resolved.

Good internal planning includes zoning to separate bedrooms and living spaces, good connection between external and internal living areas, consideration of orientation for sun and breezes. An existing house with a poor layout is an opportunity for improvements to increase the sale value.

A well-designed house will feel light, open and spacious. If a purchaser is comparing a number of homes, it is obviously the house that does all things well, or has the least problems, that will be most appealing.

While there are many other factors which come into play with the resale value of any property these brief notes give some guidance to the most salient points for the majority of houses. 

Contact Mark Lawler Architects for specific advice on how to increase the resale value of your home.

Image: Unsplash