Naomi Astley Clarke is an expert on how to get above-asking offers when selling your home (Naomi Astley Clarke)
When it comes to selling your house, everyone knows about the importance of “kerb appeal”. I, for one, can’t help but throw admiring glances at my neighbours’ homes, with their sleek black and white chequerboard-tile entranceways and especially well kept ever-blooming front gardens. But, according to the experts, thoughtful interior design is the key to increasing your odds of fetching a good selling price.
After all, if your home’s exterior is ravishing but the inside is more shabby than chic, it’s akin to wearing a perfectly tailored Loro Piana coat over decade-old tracksuit bottoms. But not every renovation is created equal. With some changes seeing a bigger increase in a property’s value than others, I turned to luxury London-based interior designer to the stars, Naomi Astley Clarke, for advice. Here are her tips for curating a home that will woo buyers, and ultimately deliver a high return on your investment.
Excellent design will thoughtfully maximise space (Paul Massey & Judita Kunis)
“Whilst the cost of a designer might eat into a small portion of your profits on resale, the truth of the matter is that a well-designed home will sell fast and that is hard to put a price on. You want to have at least two parties fighting for the property to reach the above-asking offers,” Naomi begins. She explains: “Engaging experts can even lessen your home-improvement costs overall as your margin of error is greatly reduced when working with a professional.” Investing in an interior designer will help you to avoid costly mistakes.
Naomi tells me: “Extending your property is one of the most profitable renovations you can plan, as the size of your home is the biggest driver of price no matter the area you live in. Adding an extra bedroom or extending your kitchen can boost your property value by 10 per cent. If you embark on a kitchen extension or full renovation, an open-plan layout allows light to flow through the space and creates the sense of a larger home, instantly improving its look.”
She adds: “If space is limited or you don’t want to make any drastic changes like knocking through walls, a simpler kitchen improvement, such as replacing cabinets and appliances, and repainting the space, is a good place to start.”
Annabel Blackett, a property consultant at Strutt & Parker Country House Department echoes this, emphasising how a well-executed kitchen can help to future-proof your property, increasing its value, and creating a major selling point for potential buyers. She tells me: “A country house with an amazing kitchen can achieve anything from 10 to 15 per cent increase in home value, depending on the price of the property.”
A well-designed home will sell much faster and increase the likelihood of interest from multiple parties (Paul Massey)
Blackett continues: “The Strutt & Parker annual Housing Futures survey asks people looking to move in the next five years questions about their future home. We always ask about the ‘dream’ kitchen items on people’s tick lists. In first place this year is a statement island, which is no surprise – they really do become the heart of a kitchen. In second place is an American-style fridge and freezer. And the third most aspirational kitchen feature for buyers is a large pantry or larder. A walk-in pantry will always be desired – it is a true mark of a quintessentially English kitchen.”
Naomi shares: “Whilst bathroom renovations won’t add as much value to your property as a kitchen, they are an easier and more affordable alternative. I’d recommend investing in high-quality polished brass or chrome taps and fixtures that you use daily – they will be more long-lasting than cheaper alternatives and will impress visitors or viewers.”
Think of it like a simple white T-shirt and jeans look that is instantly elevated by the addition of sparkling jewellery.
For taps and fixtures that you use daily, choosing high-quality polished brass or chrome is a worthwhile investment (Jonathan Bond)
Above all, Naomi emphasises: “Make use of every last inch of space. Focus on what is the worst area of the house, the least desirable room, and turn it into a jewel. Make someone draw a breath as they enter a space and you’re onto a winner.”
She concludes: “Sometimes the most profitable renovations simply come down to reorganising a room to maximise the feeling of space, rather than actually adding more space in. For example, I once turned a client’s storeroom into a table tennis room, which made what had once been a dead space into a lively play area. Excellent design will thoughtfully maximise space – which is a major selling point for city apartments where it is at a premium – and will create a sense of being somewhere special, unlike anything else on the market.”