In general, people in Spain don’t tend to present a property for sale. if you do then you already have an advantage as the initial impression is “cool” rather than “omfg”
As agents, we go round to take a look at a property, give suggestions for easy changes to make, value the property and start marketing it once everything is agreed. Once we get the first visits we go back and generally find out that nothing has changed. The junk room is still a junk room, there may be boxes everywhere and most importantly that scary collection of dolls is still staring pasty faced and glassy eyed out of a timewarped 1970s glass cabinet. Just like one of our clients did last week, get rid of these!
As a seller looking to put your property on the market there are little changes that could easily make the property instantly more valuable. And sometimes it’s not just about the extra value you have put into the property it is more to do with the fact that the property becomes more visually appealing for the potential buyer.
These tips will also help you as a buyer looking to spot what work has been done to sell a property which means that there will be less work for you to do on moving in and obviously less cost for you once you do move in.
In this post we will take a look at what can be done to add value to properties in terms of apartments. We will come back to this in our next post about villas and townhouses because obviously there is a lot more scope for adding value in houses. However, there are things you can do in apartments too that make it just that more visually attractive. You might not be able to do anything about the common areas on going into the apartment building but it is good to give a potential buyer a nice surprise when they get into the apartment itself.
Painting is a no brainer. Over the years walls get scuffed, they get holes in from hanging up artwork and family photos and just get dirty. Freshening up an apartment with a decent paint job done by a professional will cost between 600 and 1500 euros normally depending on the size of the apartment but it can add considerably more to the value and the initial impression when walking into the flat. And yes, we know that it would be altogether more satisfactory to get rid of the Gotelé on the walls but that costs considerably more and a simple paint job may be enough to give a totally different look to an apartment. The good news is that usually there is no such thing as wallpaper in Spanish apartments unless it is stuck in a 1950s timewarp so no scraping off paper for hours on end.
White is the way to go usually but maybe consider a feature wall in the living room with either a striking different colour or a wall covering such as imitation brickwork.
Cost: 600-1500 Euros
Many apartments look small because they are full of years of accumulated junk and detritus. Boxes of cables that will never see the light of day again, old kids’ toys, broken chairs and tables, too much bedding and more. At times we try to go into rooms and the door will not open because Valencians never throw anything out, it always might come in useful one day and one day never comes. We had an example of this today with a client where the first bedroom door wouldn’t open fully due to the “stuff” in there that was piled up above my head height all the way through the room!
Decluttering is not just for Maria Kondo fanatics, it’s a method of selling a property. An open room with plenty of light and space is much more attractive than a dungeon full of dusty books and old furniture. As an owner it’s time to see if these things really belong in your life. Ask yourself if you would be using them in your new property once you have sold, if you will have space or if you really want to cart them to your next house. If you don’t think you will have them in your next property then get rid. Sell, donate or chuck. Three piles and then get busy on Wallapop for sales, with local charities for donations and bin bags for chucking things out.
And once you have the rooms and shelves cleared out then clear up, clean up and paint!
Cost: Your time and you might make money by selling stuff you don’t want.
It may seem counterintuitive to someone selling their house and proudly announcing “we are selling it furnished” that a potential buyer is not overjoyed at that prospect. The furniture they have in the apartment has a value to them both the cost of when they bought it and the emotional value to them as it contains their memories “My nan bought me this” etc… That value means nothing to a buyer.
It’s much better to have new furniture and sell the property with the furniture. You can furnish a flat for a few thousand euros from IKEA (Other shops are available for value furniture eg Conforama, Tucan, Carrefour etc…) and guarantee that it will add more value into the sale price. You can even go around the flea markets if you have a good eye and pick up furniture that will look great in a more eclectic way.
Cost: Around 3000 Euros
If the floors in the apartment are tired but solid you have a few choices as an owner but one of the best to give a new look to the property at a cheap price is the possibility of vinyl floors. They are hard wearing, easy to fit and usually mean that you don’t need to shave anything of the bottom of doors when placed on top of current flooring. As there are a huge number of colours and finishings, as a cheap way of making a floor look a lot better you could do a lot worse.
We are not going to suggest wooden floors or new floor tiles in this post as we are looking at ways to spruce up an apartment rather than totally remodel one and the cost is low of vinyl compared to the other solutions.
Cost: Around 1000 Euros
Lighting and Blinds
We often find that a bare 40w lightbulb hanging from a wire in the middle of a room doesn’t give a great impressions of a place on walking in. Even when turned on the room continues to resemble a cell at times. Where possible change the lights to LED and add bulbs or other light points in the room such as corner or recessed lamps.
Before a visit also open the blinds and if the blinds cannot be opened, which sometimes happens, then get them fixed. Nobody wants to have to turn on their phone torches because the blinds cannot be opened and you haven’t got a lightbulb that works in the room. Again, this afternoon this happened!
Cost: Around 200 Euros
Matching Electrical Appliances
Get a toaster, kettle and juicer that match for the kitchen. Add to this a bread bin, biscuit tin and other things that go together and make sure the buyer is aware that they come with the property. we saw this done recently to great effect in a kitchen in an apartment in Mislata where it would have been criminal to take the appliances and extras away as they were perfect for that apartment.
Cost: Around 300 Euros
Breakfast Bar and Stools
If you have space in the kitchen then a simple way to increase the perceived space is with a breakfast bar and stools. This can be done on the opposite wall to the appliances and cupboards if you have a long rectangular kitchen and the bar can be a fold down which is easy to install. Even if the bar is just big enough for a couple of cups of coffee and small plates with the stools either side it is perceived as a useful space. Even better if there is a plug above it for the phone of computer and space for your laptop.
Cost: Around 200 Euros
Big Art on Walls
We like big art on walls! Especially if the walls are Gotelé and there is a big white space otherwise. You can get really large prints from Conforama, Leroy Merlin, IKEA and even the local Chinese Shops that are framed and ready to put up. Big art breaks up the monotony of a long wall and gives more of a focus to a room. If you have a good eye this can be a feature rather than a feature wall.
Cost: 50-100 Euros
A Splash of Colour
Whether it’s the art, some furniture, rugs, roller blinds or some throws, it’s always good to add a touch of colour to a room especially if you have painted everything white. Adding colourful touches without overwhelming the room will give it a more homely feel. You can also do this through lighting in certain areas of the room but you may want to avoid red lightbulbs for obvious reasons. Maybe kill two birds with one stone by getting a lamp that changes colours according to your mood. These are cheap to buy and can make a huge difference in a room to both atmosphere and lighting.
Cost: From Zero to 500 Euros
Lose the Curtains
We know, you have chintzy curtains and they have been there forever. However, they are just dust collectors and lightsucks meaning less light gets into the room. Roller blinds are much better, take up less space and can be used effectively to black out rooms that may not have exterior roller blinds incorporated into the windows.
Cost: 30 Euros per window
Bathrooms and Kitchens
We are not going to suggest here a full modernisation of the bathrooms or kitchen unless they are truly horrible. The reason is simple, a buyer coming into the property might not want to pay for your tastes. They may want to change the kitchen even if you have installed a cheap Leroy Merlin or IKEA kitchen recently. However there are little things you can do to make these areas better.
In the bathrooms make sure that there are no leaks, that the taps, sinks and toilet have no water marks, limescale and other marks (Use your imagination). Make sure the toilet lid works, that you clean the bathroom regularly and that the floors are not full of hairs. Make sure that there are towel holders and toilet roll holders that are not broken or damaged and have new towels and plenty of toilet rolls out and keep the bathroom spotlessly clean and aired. if you have smells from the drains clean and air the room regularly.
In the case of the kitchen make sure that there are not dirty plates piled up, hide them in the dishwasher if needed. No crumbs, burn marks, dirty ovens and hobs, that the doors to the cupboards are clean and the handles especially cleaned before each visit so they don’t feel greasy to the touch. if your washing machine is in the kitchen make sure it is not on when the client visits and that there isn’t any washing piled up ready to be collected. Open the windows before a visit where possible and do the usual things with coffee and bread smells.
There is nothing more off putting than walking into the bathrooms and kitchen of a place and immediately wanting to walk out.
Cost: A deep clean each visit
Make the beds. It shouldn’t need saying but do it. Keep the floors clean and uncluttered and keep wardrobe doors closed as they can hide a multitude of sins. And make sure the cupboards and drawers are not bulging with your stuff. This will always suggest there is little space in there.
Cost: Your time
Keep An Eye Out For Our Villa Tips
In the next post we will expand on this into tips for putting value into your villa so it’s easier to sell. Meanwhile there are other ways to make your apartment in Valencia look better too and we have written about them before. Take a look at our posts below, just click on the images.