12 Ways to Add Character to Your Thai Home

12 Ways to Add Character to Your Thai Home

With so much choice for the potential purchaser in Thailand it amazes me just how blind and misguided many sellers are. Additionally, several Real Estate agents here in the ‘land of smiles’ are scared of upsetting owners and rarely provide constructive criticism to improve the chances of a speedy sale at maximum value.

Want to increase the price of your home without spending a fortune? Here are some well proven ways to add value to your property.

If you are looking to sell your home then chances are that you’ll want to squeeze out every penny possible from the sale. So what can you do to get the best price?

1. Sort out the exterior

When a perspective buyer arrives to view your home it’s likely they will already know the asking price. As a result they will immediately start judging whether it’s worth the cost?

Making sure that the outside of your home is neat and tidy can make a powerful positive first impression and have a knock-on effect for the rest of the visit.

It’s not very expensive to weed the garden, paint boundary walls and if wood, paint your external windows. However doing these things can make a big difference to the value of your home.

“Keep it simple’ – white or off white paint only. You or your partner might like purple but most buyers don’t!

2. Sort out the roof

Problems with structural essentials can easily reduce the value of your home; but a damaged roof is on display for everyone to see.

It’s important to remember that your roof forms part of the image of your home, unlike the foundations or pipe work; because of this any visible damage will immediately be evident to potential buyers and no doubt have a significant impact on the amount they’re willing to offer – if it doesn’t put them off completely.

The best thing to do is repair any damage before anyone comes to see your property even if it is just a few loose tiles. Clearing gutters and drains is also a cheap way of improving the appearance of your roof.

3. Make your home lighter

Light creates the illusion of space. A dark and dingy property is of less value than a lighter one, even if it’s slightly smaller. So making your home lighter is a cheap and easy way to increase the value.

One of the first steps you can take is to clean your windows, this will allow more light in to the house and make both the inside and outside look more appealing.

Secondly, consider installing brighter and more energy efficient lights. This can be especially important if you are looking to sell your home in the rainy season when it can be dark and miserable outside.

Within reason – the more lights the better. Without question make sure you opt for the crisp, brilliant white energy lamps and not soft yellowy white, as these do not create the right sort of ‘white’ and can actually make your rooms feel old fashioned.

You could also install skylights, or additional sliding patio doors to increase the illusion of space your home. While these are more expensive options, more natural light and an unobstructed view of the garden can be very appealing to buyers.

4. Paint & Decorate

This piece of advice comes as standard for homeowners looking to sell, and the simple reason is because it works!

If you home falls under the category ‘needs work’ then you can bet that it will have a bearing on the price. Doing odd jobs such as fixing door handles and painting drab looking walls can make a significant difference to the price.

While a home covered in Magnolia can be somewhat uninspiring, if you do decide to wield your paintbrush avoid using bright colours. Painting a room in lime green or a deep violet will likely be unappealing to most buyers, and it will simply draw attention to the fact that they will need to redecorate themselves when they move.

It’s worth thinking, every job you do and room that you decorate is one less task that the new owners will need to worry about. Inexpensive updates can make all the difference. If in doubt – stick to white!

5. Flooring

If the flooring in your home is quite old then you may want to consider modernising. Larger (60 x 60) plain off-white floor tiles with a gloss finish are all the rage and here to stay. Go check out any new development and you will see a common theme with the flooring tiles used. Why? Again – because it works! Labour and materials in Thailand are relatively cheap and modern floor tiles will transform your property and you are highly likely to recoup your costs.

If you have wooden floors in your home then consider freshening them up by sanding them down and adding a light oak varnish finish, or again just give them a thorough wash before viewings.

Remember, if a buyer thinks that they will have to replace the flooring they will expect this to be reflected in the price.

6. Front Door

A solid, attractive front door is as important for a house as it is a condo. First impressions! A ‘spy whole’ is also a simple yet appreciated feature in any external door.

7. Security & Locks

Making your home secure is a must when it comes to selling your property. Installing extra security measures from a chain on the front door to an automatic light sensor can add to the value of your home.

Remember, if the person viewing your home doesn’t feel that it is secure then it may put them off making an offer.

Of course be careful not to try too hard with this improvement, if you install motion detectors and CCTV surveillance, they may wonder just how safe your neighbourhood is!

8. Extra Sockets

In a world where we rely on electrical appliances a house with cables trailing everywhere is unlikely to be very appealing. In a sense it may show a perspective buyer moves that they too would end up with cables everywhere if they moved in.

So consider getting an electrician to install a couple of extra electrical sockets in more convenient locations, especially in the living room, kitchen and bedrooms and remove this irritation.

While it’s unlikely to add thousands on to your purchase price it could equally be that little extra positive that seals the deal.

9. Internet Connection

In Thailand it seems that 99.9% of people now rely on a mobile phone as their main means of communication day-to-day. This has meant many houses and condos are without a telephone line. Just like there are increasing numbers of people who will not book a hotel if it doesn’t have internet access (or it is expensive) there are an increasing number of purchasers who will be put off buying your house/condo if there is no telephone line installed.

You really do need to install an [ADSL] phone line, even if it is not connected. Making it easy for a buyer to connect to the internet is an absolute must nowadays – and will help no end to maximize the attractiveness of your property.

You do not need to install more than one internet access point/telephone socket as the majority of people now use WiFi, but it is handy to have the telephone point ‘central’ to your property so that any WiFi signal is likely to be picked up anywhere around the house/condo.

10. Kitchen

Old fashioned solid wood cabinets everywhere, two tiny electric hobs and no oven sound familiar? You might not be a budding Michelin Chef but with eating out becoming increasingly expensive, many long-stay expats eat and entertain at home.

Replacing your whole kitchen can be expensive, so unless you own a larger house or condo with the ‘wow factor’ (panoramic sea views or beautiful garden) a new kitchen is unfeasible. Instead why not retain the units and change the doors for something clean, crisp and modern? The carcasses and be repainted white/off white and any work surfaces covered or replaced with marble/onyx-look work tops.

Installing a four hob stove and an oven will also win-over any expat wife/partner and believe you me, they are the ones who wear the trousers when it comes to deciding whether to put in an offer or not!

11. Don’t overspend

Although the tips listed are focused on what you can do to increase the value of your home on a budget, there is sometimes the temptation to keep spending in the hope that you will re-coup your money and more when you sell.

However, be warned! No matter how many extensions and extra features you add to your home there is likely to be a ceiling price for your property. Essentially this is where your home becomes too expensive in comparison to the other properties in your neighbourhood/building.

If you are unsure what this might be for your area then you may want to contact your local Real Estate Agent or simply look online to see what prices homes in your area are being sold for.

It may also be a good idea to see what properties currently on offer in your area offer potential buyers and their asking price so you can match or better what’s available.

12. Buyers need to be led

Take some time to consider what type of lifestyle you have and the kind of person who is likely to be attracted to your property? If you have a beautiful, quiet or private garden then put tables and chairs outside. Similarly, outside seating on the balcony of a condo with great views will inspire purchasers, who will subconsciously imagine themselves outside relaxing and/or eating.

It is also worthwhile prompting Real Estate Agents and buyers with a list of positives about your property, such as any of the items (above) that you have already seen to.

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