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Ten tips to increase the value of your property

Virginia Ewart-James

Research has confirmed what many have suspected: that the differentials between a top-end property and a truly luxurious one are increasing. The super-rich, it would appear, are finding ever more extravagant ways to increase the value of their property but the not-so-rich can also make use of these tips to increase the value of their home. Britannicus Stone, which carried out the research, found that there are eight additions to a property which can increase its value significantly, sometimes adding 50 percent to the initial cost, whilst also making it sell 30 percent faster.  Most of these additions are bespoke – thus not readily available on the open market.

Some additions can add only 5 percent to the value but others by as much as 15 percent, so a combination can increase the value of a luxury property by up to 50 percent or more.With additions costing very little the return on investment can be exceedingly good, a significantly greater return than a savings account or the Stock Market.

Where once an en-suite bathroom and a dedicated study were seen as the height of luxury, when an indoor pool and dimmer switches were the preserve of only the very wealthy, and when a triple-garage and electric gates were key selling points – now they are all viewed as standard by some high-end buyers.Cinema rooms (such as the one pictured above), digging out basements and wet rooms are also common place in luxury homes, so high-end buyers are seeking other ways to increase the value of one of their key investments.

The last few years has seen a rush for ever increasing ‘knobs and whistles’, said Orlando Boyne, Director of Britannicus Stone.

The term luxury has been redefined. Bespoke is the order of the day. The super-rich want things that are rare; and this usually means expensive.”

Here are some tips to add value and help you home sell faster.

Mood rooms are becoming ever more popular. The ability to control the entire room’s environment from one pre-programmed switch is regarded as a huge bonus. Not only can a room’s temperature differ from others in a house, but so too can the music and the light – not just in terms of brightness but also colour. Filtered air can also be pumped into the room with different moisture content and aromas.   And all this is pre-programmed, so the room can instantly become romantic, business-like, tropical, relaxing, vibrant or even bucolic (smelling of recently cut grass).

An atrium (double height at least, sometimes triple-height) entrance hall paved with stone, either in a medieval pattern or an uber-modern one, is one of the key differentials. British stone is much sought after; it is seen as a rival to Italian marble but it has unique properties. Also much of it is extremely rare and the opportunity for facsimile is therefore severely curtailed – another prerequisite of luxury developments.

Bespoke inbuilt cabinets and furniture. The super-rich prefer not to buy furniture and cabinets in a shop, regardless of its exclusivity, but are opting to have everything bespoke. Marquetry is becoming increasingly fashionable as it displays the uniqueness of a product, and rather than inlaid with contrasting woods as has been common practice, silver and other precious metals are being chosen instead. In addition, the more ornate and intricate the design, the better. Patterns are often reflective of the origin of the home owner; so designs can have a global influence.

Triple glazed or even bullet proof glass windows are now de rigueur in luxury properties. Regulating the ‘noise environment’ is seen as essential.  Double glazing is no longer viewed as sufficient in dampening exterior noise pollution; it has to be triple glazing. This also increases the effectiveness of the Mood Room; the required mood can be established without outside influence or distraction. Even the roof space is being sound proofed.

Kitchen design integration: where the central island, work surfaces, floors and tiles all match or complement each other in similar materials and colour. Not that most of the people who own these properties ever cook for themselves, but the design and detail of their kitchen is a key selling asset and increases the value of their home enormously.  A named interior designer is essential as are branded white goods (fridges, washing machines etc) but by far the most important element is a seamless look; all the surfaces, island worktop, the floor and the wall tiles should now match. The rarer the work surface the more prestigious the build.

Revolving garages – three-storey garages that appear as only one-storey are being built in city-based properties where space is at a minimum and a premium. Cars are driven into a normal-sized single garage which houses a revolving lift system allowing for the cars to be lowered down floors where they are stacked in underground bunkers, and retrieved by a simple switch which whisks the chosen car back to ground level. These garages are now seen as essential by the uber-rich, as the luxury, very expensive, and often irreplaceable cars can be parked and stored securely off-road.

Cantilevered staircases are much in demand. The engineering of massive staircases that appear to have no support is both complex and very expensive. This, in turn, ensures staircases of this ilk are rare and built to order. The elegant appearance of floating stairs, usually incorporating substantial amounts of marble, delivers exceptional elegance to any property.

Laser lit gardens, as opposed to light bulb ones, are seen as the last differential. Shards of precise directed light rather than an ambient glow give uniqueness to a property.  Operated in the same way as a Mood room, a dazzling laser show can be orchestrated across the garden; a wonder for owners and neighbours alike.

Living walls are becoming increasingly popular; a popularity arising from their expensive, still rare appearance and beauty. Rather than opt for a traditional garden the super-rich are planting vertical gardens that can cover an entire outside wall of a three- or four-storey house. They’re also becoming a more common feature throughout Southeast Asia due to conducive climate.

Sliding roofs open up a number of opportunities for luxury residences. They can create covered courtyards; al fresco dining for the summer and additional living space during the cooler winters, or simply just open a room up to the elements whenever required.  Whether flat or sloping roof it does not matter, sliding alternatives are available for both.