Curb appeal or location - which will add more value?

(47 Posts)

Argh trying to find a house to buy is doing my head in!

There is very little on the market in our price range in our area of SE London, so our dream of a lovely period or 1930s property in our ideal area just isn't going to happen.

We need to make sure whatever we buy is a sound investment as may have to move again in around 5 years.

There are two properties that we may consider putting an offer in after a second viewing. They both need work to update.

One is a fugly 60s house. I could never love the outside (all weird shaped windows) and there isnt any way to really improve it. However it's a really good size, has huge potential to be really lovely inside (it has a fireplace which I think really helps as it means the main living space isn't too much of a 'box') and the location is fantastic (close to both outstanding primary and secondary schools, parks, woodland walks, swimming pool, shops and cafes etc). All the things we like to do as a family basically. But it will always be ugly from the front.

The other is an attractive 1930s house - needs heaps of work but could be brought back to life to be a lovely family home. It's not a bad location (next to a nice park) but is much further away from the shops etc, not very close to any schools, and the postcode is definitely not desirable. It's a very nice quiet road though, and a short drive or busride away from all the local amenities.

What will attract more buyers in the future? My head hurts from all of this!

BlackMogul Tue 03-Sep-13 12:52:58

Probably the currently ugly one. I bet you could make it more attractive. A website I love is Houzz. It is American but the ideas on it are amazing. I am sure you will find ideas to improve this house. Can the windows be improved in size and shape?. May cost a bit but could pay dividends. What about an attractive porch and great front garden ( if it has one). Being close to amenities is the really important thing I think. Go for the 60s. I am sure no house is beyond improvement.

georgedawes Tue 03-Sep-13 13:51:44

first one. Look online about how to make the outside nice, you can do wonders with cladding.

I'll have a look for inspiration - thanks for the tip. It is on a terrace on identical properties though, I wonder if it would look weird if it was the only one to have the appearance changed?

Just realised I spelt kerb wrong blush

georgedawes Tue 03-Sep-13 14:06:18

Have a look at Sarah Beeny's first double your house for half the money show, a couple of weeks ago. They renovated their 60s house and it looked great, it was detached though.

primallass Wed 04-Sep-13 10:37:38
icravecheese Wed 04-Sep-13 11:49:38

I'm gonna go against everyone else and say the I'd rather go for the attractive one in the not quite so good location!

I might be mad, but I would much rather come home and drive up to my house and see a beauty of a building, than drive up to my house and think "feck, that house looks minging. Oh hell, its mine!".

Beeny said the other night to someone on her show 'how often do you sit and look at the front of your house? Never - you're living inside it', but I disagree - you have to look at your house every time you come home to it, and I think Kerb appeal is really important (personally for me).

Dont worry about what might be attractive to future buyers - this is YOUR house, for YOU to live in. If you buy the attractive house in not so good location, chances are that somebody in the future will feel the same as you.

I'm sort of sick of property programs always banging on about what will add value when you come to sell it on - houses are for living in and enjoying, and not forever thinking about what might be in 10-20years time when you might want to move-on.

Having said all that - a 60's house could be renovated to be attractive on the outside too (although I think you worry it might look odd in a street of identical houses), but worth investigating what you could do to give it more kerb appeal.

SadPander Wed 04-Sep-13 13:48:32

The Fugly one I think. I've seen some great transformations with wooden cladding and new windows, or if you were on a tigher budget then a nice front door and lots of plants and greenery to detract from the fugliness. I'd say the schools will be what most people go for.

ClaudiaCutie Thu 05-Sep-13 15:51:31

Picklehead, GRAB the ugly house with both hands. You CAN change it, a lot. Have a google of Back to Front house designs, they have great before and after pics. We are buying a super bland 50s house and looking at that website for ideas - they did the conversion of the Sarah Beeny series mentioned upthread.

Yama Thu 05-Sep-13 18:15:05

I'd go for location. I live in a fugly-from-the-outside house and I absolutely love it. Really, really love it. First time I saw it on Rightmove, I did this shock at it's fugliness. However, Sarah Beeny is right - once I'm inside that just doesn't matter a jot.

Look at police call outs to both areas and judge based on that....

(But I would go for the ugly house)

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 05-Sep-13 19:09:19

I always thought the rule was you bought the worst house in the best location. On the basis that you can change the house, but not the location.

Barbabeau Thu 05-Sep-13 20:04:58

Ugly house. We live in one with limited curb appeal though we've got longer term plans to make it a bit more attractive. I don't care as it is great on the inside and the layout is a lot better than more attractive from the outside Victorian terraces.

Good luck!

teainteacher Thu 05-Sep-13 20:40:14

Most people say location is much more important. Ours is cute and in a great location, but needs complete updating inside. Doesn't even have central heating!

Retroformica Fri 06-Sep-13 19:01:35

If prefer the ugly one. I think you should post an image of the front so we can work out how to make it nicer

If you choose the one with the great location - you can always make over the outside - take a look at this for some inspiration JamesHardie | HardiePlank® Cladding
(I'm hoping that will be a link - if it doesn't work - google them !! Well worth it !!)

Sorry for delay in reply - I'll try and post a pic (on phone so not sure if I can!). DH is currently vetoing as he thinks its too much money for that kind of house, so maybe if you do have some ideas it could convince him...(though he may be right on the money thing)

This is the house (outing myself!)

PareyMortas Sat 07-Sep-13 10:01:59

I'd pick 60's over 30's every time even though I've always gone for Victorian/Edwardian so prefer a period home. I think 30's houses are ugly whereas with a 60's house you can make them look fab, contemporary, light etc.

MomOrMum Sat 07-Sep-13 12:51:27

I don't think that is too fugly at all - you can definitely do loads to improve the outside. Location is brilliant! I live very nearby. I think that will soon seem a bargain for this area! I would snap it up and save a bit of money for a consult with a great architect or landscape designer who can give you some ideas to improve the front over time. Love the views!

I don't think the cladding will work - unless you can persuade a few of your neighbours to go down the same route too ?! I agree the inside is fab - so much space ! And the views are great !! So when you come home - it takes about 30seconds to walk up the path - and then you are inside !! For the sake of those 30 seconds - I think I could live with how it looks outside - its really not that bad !!!

Barbabeau Sat 07-Sep-13 14:12:02

Fair enough the outside isn't the best but the layout is nice and the view is excellent.

It is a great location. We've got friends that live nearby with children going to EB.

I walk inside my ugly house and the beautiful view out the reception window calms me down instantly. It is also something every single visitor to our house comments upon.

thecatfromjapan Sat 07-Sep-13 14:20:32

Is it really in the catchment of outstanding non-faith primary and non-faith, mixed secondary?

I'm astonished it's still on the market ...

(And it's not ugly.)

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Sat 07-Sep-13 14:25:18

I recall an early episode of LLL when Phil or Kirsty basically said to go for the best location - better to have the smallest house in a good location than a massive house in a poor location. We did the former and it's much, much better for our quality of life.

MortifiedAdams Sat 07-Sep-13 14:27:24

It is all.about location. Even if the house is falling down around your ears, if it is the right location someone will want it.

A palace in a shit area will be hard to shift.

MortifiedAdams Sat 07-Sep-13 14:29:17

Can anyone do a clicky link, am.on phone

MissMalonex2 Sat 07-Sep-13 14:34:48

Location. Don't under estimate the proximity of schools for future buyers

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 07-Sep-13 14:35:23

Its not that ugly, i've seen much worse.

Relaxedandhappyperson Sat 07-Sep-13 14:40:07

Wow - amazing views - I didn't know views like that existed in London (isn't it all built-up?). <revises ideas about London>

Not the world's most gorgeous house but it seems to tick the boxes for you. And the views!!

Silverfoxballs Sat 07-Sep-13 14:49:51

Location always, my mate lived in a lovely Victorian town house, really pretty with door in the middle. It had been the mill owners house and was rather grand compared to all the little terraces that had been workers cottages around it.I cannot tell you how many times her car was keyed. She moved years ago and it has changed hands at least three times since.

I'm going to go against the grain and say that in south London, Victorian, Edwardian or 30s properties with character will sell far easier than anything modern. Certainly in the mid-family market.

I know the area well OP and while the views are nice that particular cul de sac is a bit scrappy and suburban in feel and not very 'London' and therefore I reckon you'll struggle to sell when the time comes.

Do you need 4 bedrooms? This has 3 but is a great house in a great road.

This is a far better buy IMO. Period house in a good road on the right side of the south circular, with potential to extend into loft, add value, and sell on at a good price.

MortifiedAdams Sat 07-Sep-13 15:29:07


Yama Sat 07-Sep-13 15:34:17

That is indeed a lovely house but only one toilet and it's on the ground floor. My last house was like that - never again.

Plenty of room in the lofts of those houses to put a bathroom and/or perhaps a small Jack & Jill wet room between beds 1 and 2. Yes, dealing with the toilet issue would be a good idea in that house.

Wow starfish that house has literally just come on the market - I'm booked onto the open day now so thanks for alerting me to it.

Agree that the house is much prettier - they are in extremely short supply though, and the half houses are not very big really. But you are right about the cul de sac for the other one - it is a bit crappy looking which is why we were umming and ahhing. I suspect that's why it's still on the market when everything else round here is selling within the week...

MortifiedAdams Sat 07-Sep-13 16:13:45

Bedroom into attic, bathroom into the back bedroom, turn the ground floor bathroom.into a futility room.

You are right mortified, that would work well. Even if we couldn't do the work immediately, I feel better knowing that it's possible to do.

Oh well, fingers crossed for the viewing, I feel quite excited about this one - lets just hope it doesn't go for too much over the asking price!

Ooh, hope it's as lovely as it looks in the pictures! Good idea mortified

MortifiedAdams Sat 07-Sep-13 16:58:24

I grew a house with a downstairs bathroom, and my current home is a flat with the bathroom off the kitchen. Neither have ever bothered me.

I use the bathroom mainly during the day (never get pee in the night), so infact an upstairs bathroom would be a faff for me as id be going up.and down the stairs numerous times a day.

I also tend to clean the bathroom and the kitchen at the same time so quite efficient (rather than traipsig the mop and bucket upstairs etc).

It might not be bad to live with while you save to the attic.

vess Sat 07-Sep-13 23:08:00

I like the 60s one. From the outside. It looks like it has a face!
I wonder who designed them.

Mefisto Sun 08-Sep-13 08:11:39

I like the 1960s one and it has loads of potential but as an ex local who is generally a big fan of the area I agree with starfish about that stretch of road. Not a pleasant walk home from Sydenham station on a dark night.

Mefisto Sun 08-Sep-13 09:37:44

Have been thinking more and it really is a brilliant location for many reasons especially primary and secondary schools and maybe I'm being over-cautious about the immediate area. It does give a lot of space for your money and the schools issue for me would be a big factor especially in an area like that with such pressure on local schools.

Barbabeau Sun 08-Sep-13 10:49:53

The one in HOP is prettier and in a nice location. Having a kitchen big enough to eat in is a bonus for a house that size. But it's only 748 square feet. The price per square foot is pretty painful, especially if it winds up going above the asking price. It would be worth scouting out the road to see if the other houses of that style have been able to extend.

My guess would be that the Kirkdale one would go below the asking price or is the fact that it hasn't sold yet means that they won't drop? I wouldn't want to pay the asking price for it.

Agree with others that the Victorian / Edwardian places sell quicker in this area. However I'm not sure whether they're necessarily nicer to live in.

You are right about the size barbabeu - it's only about 70sq ft larger than our current place, which considering the different in price is probably madness. We do gain a bedroom and eat in kitchen (plus the loft space) but all the other rooms and garden are smaller than we currently have. Then we have the coat to extend on top. Prices are just so ridiculous now, and as it's taking is so long to find somewhere the gap between what we sold for and what we can buy is widening (we've even got rival agents trying to get us to go back on the market with them as we could get so much more now, but really don't want to make that decision!)

With the kirkdale one the schools aren't so much of an issue for us as DD already has a school place - although it's on the other side of forest hill so in that respect it doesn't work so well for us.

In all honesty the best bet financially and in terms of location is for us to extend, we could get around 850sq ft for a fraction of the cost. I'm just not sure if its going to be possible as there are a few problems to solve to be able to do so (I have a thread on planning permission if anyone has any pearls of wisdom to add!)

So frustrating, we just need a family home in the area we currently live, and it's impossible (I blame Phil and Kirstie wink)

MortifiedAdams Sun 08-Sep-13 12:18:56

Get Sarah Beeny on the case. Shes doing a TV show "Double Your HOuse for Half the Money" - may even get a fee for appearing in it too.

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