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UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS; Whether you are buying or selling, the value of any property could plummet if the bathroom is on the ground floor.

The recent interest rate rise by the Bank of England was just 0.25%. But that - and with some forecasting more increases to come - has been enough to put many people off buying and selling property.

According to AA Financial Services, one in four who had intended to move are now dissuaded by higher borrowing costs.

For many, the alternative to move is to improve. Selling and buying a property with all the taxes, legal and other fees, plus probably taking on a bigger loan is a pricey business.

You may be able to stretch your home upwards or sideways or build a garden room or just make better use of the existing space.

It's worth spending money if it means avoiding moving - especially if your remodelled home will fit your needs for years to come.

But there's one possible home improvement you should definitely avoid. Having a downstairs bathroom could slash more from the value of your home than it costs to build and make the property harder to sell.

New figures from Direct Line Home Insurance reveal having the family bathroom downstairs can wipe Moving the upstairs will thousands from the sale value of a property. People want a bathroom near their bedrooms.

If you already have one upstairs, an increasing number of property buyers now demand a second bathroom en-suite.

Estate agents say a downstairs bathroom can plunge a property's value by as much as 6%, which would amount to PS13,580 off the average UK property compared to properties with an upstairs family bathroom.

As many as 23 million adults, Direct Line says, bathroom add value would not even look at a home with a downstairs bathroom - the main exception are those with mobility problems who cannot climb stairs.

Downstairs bathrooms are usually found in older properties and accessed through the kitchen.

They are often seen as cheap conversions - but older folk may remember homes without bathrooms where there was a weekly wash in a tin tub by the fire - sometimes with more than one family member sharing the water!

Estate agents say the expense of relocating a downstairs bathroom upstairs could more than pay for itself should you want to sell.

Bathroom quality is important when trying to sell a property too, according to nine out of 10 estate agents.

One in three say it is the top factor.

TOP TIPS 1. Use a poor quality or outdated bathroom to bargain prices down if you are buying. Find out what a new set-up would cost. You might consider underfloor heating.

2. Separate toilets increase the value of a property.

3. Don't forget to notify home insurers if you are having substantial building works such as a new bathroom. Besides possible damage, there is an added security risk if you can't lock your home.

4. Check home improvement builders have insurance against any mishap in your property, that they are qualified and registered with a recognised governing body, and there is a contract in place.

5. Ensure builders know local regulations to ensure renovations meet building and fire rules.

6. Notify neighbours of any improvement work, so they won't be surprised by the noise and other activity. Sort out any issues over party walls - walls you share with next door - before you start.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 6, 2018
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