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Halloween: tricks to avoid and treats to discover

Trick or treat? In the spirit of Halloween, we look at five treats and five tricks that potential buyers should look for when searching for their next home.

Trick or treat? In the spirit of Halloween, we look at five treats – unexpected bonuses that can add value to your property overnight. And five tricks that might lie in wait, little surprises that potential buyers should look for when searching for their next home.

Treats...

  • A strip of land you didn’t know you owned. You thought that vacant strip of land at the bottom of the garden belonged to your neighbour. Now he assures you it is all yours. It may sound unusual, but this does happen. Perhaps it could be put to better use and become a nice little earner?
  • Treasure in the attic. You probably won’t find the Mona Lisa, but who is to say you won’t come across something in your attic – a cache of old letters, a dusty jewellery box, a first-edition print covered in dust – which could be worth something at auction?
  • A notable former resident. Was a Nobel Prize-winning chemist born in your house? Did one of the Beatles spend a week there in the 1950s? Unearth a colourful bit of history like that and it may nudge up the asking price when you come to sell it.
  • A new Waitrose in the neighbourhood. You had been told that the brown land beside the railway had been earmarked for a shoe factory. Now you hear on the grapevine that Waitrose has purchased the plot. Could you be about to find yourself in a property hot-spot?
  • A hidden well in the garden. It could have been lurking under some shrubbery or a manhole cover, but nothing lends more romance to a garden than an old disused well. Make sure it is safe, then set to work turning it into a garden feature that may catch buyers’ attention.

Tricks...

  • Bats in the belfry. Or, if not the belfry, the out-house that you were hoping to convert. The ultimate in Halloween trick, bats on the premises can be a nuisance. Bur fear not. There is a wealth of advice on how to remove them safely and humanely on the website, www.batsintheattic.org
  • Dodgy wiring. Or, for that matter, plumbing. If you live in an old property or are thinking about buying an old property, it is wise to ask an electrician to take a look at the wiring. You don’t want to pay the penalty when your washing-machine suddenly gives up the ghost.
  • The neighbours from hell. They seemed so friendly when you first moved in, but now they have become a nightmare, partying at unsocial hours. This is a true test of your diplomatic skills! Try to meet the neighbours and introduce yourself before you buy your next home.
  • A leaky roof. It only takes a few loose tiles for your roof to spring a leak. After which you may hear drip-drip sounds in the middle of the night. Some sellers will explain if the roof needs repairing. Alternatively, ask your surveyor to inspect the roof before you buy.
  • High heating bills. Why is your first heating bill higher than you expected? Check the insulation and talk to the agent or owners for average heating costs for the property. If you decide to bite the bullet to get it properly insulated, there are grants available to help with the costs. You will find further information at www.government-grants.co.uk/insulation-grants

Whether it is full of tricks or treats, your home will probably surprise you at some point. It’s our job to make house selling or buying less scary.

Are you looking to sell, buy, let or rent? Contact your local Winkworth office, visit www.winkworth.co.uk/branches

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