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How to make warming alterations without adversely impacting on resale value

Monday 9th December 2013

Jan HÓ±tch, President of NAEA, says some homeowners should avoid making alterations that could potentially affect period features in case they negatively impact on resale value. 
 
Energy efficiency may be a seasonal consideration of home owners’ agendas when it comes to saving money over the winter period, but the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is warning potential home sellers to take heed when making alterations that affect period features in case they negatively impact on resale value.
 
Year round, many buyers actively seek period properties with traditional features, and in winter, who could resist the atmosphere generated by a log fire crackling in a Victorian grate, or the flicker of flames within the wood burner in the heavily beamed lounge of a cosy thatched cottage?
 
Add some seasonal decorations, and these qualities often appear all the more appealing by evoking the traditional Christmas Day scene. However, it is important to remember that though these aspects of a home can often win over the hearts of buyers, less romantic but practical qualities like energy efficiency can ultimately seal the deal. 
 
The issue of rising energy bills remains a matter of concern for home owners though and it’s important that any renovations to insulate a period home are done with aesthetic sensitivity and respect to the property’s character. By following NAEA’s tips, sellers can promote the personality of the home as well as to improve the outcome of the energy performance assessment (EPC).”
 
NAEA’s top tips for those considering winter-busting changes to their period property are as follows:
 
Keep the home fires burning – Boxing in a traditional fireplace can seem like the best defence against cold draughts, but in many cases a hidden insulated chimney ‘balloon’ may offer the same benefits, without losing a key marketable feature of your home. It may also be worth considering a wood burning stove as a practical, efficient and aesthetically pleasing alternative to a traditional open fire, if the chimney is suitable.
 
Window dressing – Upgrading to double glazed windows may seem like a no-brainer in terms of improving the EPC of a property. However, it is always worth ensuring any such changes comply with relevant local regulations, and remain sympathetic to the character of a property. A good joinery firm can make extremely effective and efficient double glazed replacement sash windows, for instance, for little more than the UPVC equivalent ‘pseudo sash’. Asking neighbours about what solutions they have used is always a good start point to get an idea of what works in a similar property. Be aware that others in your area may have the opportunity to object to you changing the exterior of your home.
 
Welcome home – Tiled flooring in an entry hall can be a visually attractive element to many period homes, however the colder months can present the temptation to carpet over this feature. If you do have one eye on resale, it is always worth considering a less permanent option. A fitted rug or mat can help the hallway feel warmer, without compromising the long-term value of this feature.
 
Find your ceiling – Period features such as cornicing or ceiling roses on high ceiling rooms can often add character and value to a property. While these rooms can sometimes be more difficult to keep warm in the winter months, always consider the potentially negative impact on the resale value that any alterations in this area, such as a suspended ceiling, could have.
 
Drafty doors – As older homes naturally settle, some draft around doors is almost inevitable. One simple way to combat the winter chill is to consider fitting heavy curtains over less-used external doors, to key in with the soft furnishings in the room. These will not disturb the aesthetic qualities of original doors and will offer a degree of protection against drafts.
 
              

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