The following comments can apply equally to the construction of a new house and also to the renovation of an existing house. The emphasis will be slightly different in each case but the general principles will still be applicable.
With any new house design, our clients typically seek an open plan living/dining/kitchen space. The kitchen is universally recognised as the heart of any house, the centre of many social activities and therefore it is integrated with the living and dining spaces. In many older houses, the kitchen occupies a traditional location at the rear of the house, separated from the living and dining rooms. It is not unusual in a renovation, for walls to be removed and a kitchen re-arranged to form part of a new open plan living/dining space.
With the current trend for the kitchen to be “on show”, the design and finishes of the kitchen take on far greater significance. Particular attention must be paid to the functional layout, provision for storage, presentation and the kitchen’s relationship to the remainder of the house in terms of colours and materials. In a modern house, a kitchen is often considered as elegant built-in joinery that underlines the design concept of the home.
Bathrooms and Powder Rooms have also assumed a greater importance. The number of bathrooms provided in a house has increased as people’s expectations of comfortable living increases. It is now common for every house to have a main bathroom and an ensuite bathroom. In many cases, there may also be a third bathroom or, if not, a separate powder room.
The vast increase in the availability of tiles, bathroom products, tapware, sanitary fittings etc. has resulted in competition amongst home owners to have the very best and the very latest products installed in their bathrooms. This is an area that will receive a great deal of scrutiny by any potential purchaser.
In an older property most often the bathrooms will be small and out-dated. They will need to be renovated and possibly enlarged. In some cases, it may be necessary to construct a new bathroom to serve as the ensuite bathroom to the main bedroom.
Many potential purchasers place particular value on the vehicle accommodation.There is an expectation that ideally each house is provided with a generous, double garage. The garage is not only for the parking of motor vehicles but also for the storage of all the other objects that cannot be stored satisfactorily within the house. These items can include boats, trailers, sporting equipment, gardening tools, hobby activities and many other household items.
Many older houses were built with a very small, single garage or without any garage. An owner can greatly increase the value of an older property by adding a garage and improving vehicle access. With any garage either for a new house or a house renovation, internal access into the house is a strong preference for both security purposes and also weather protection.
Part of our Australian lifestyle today is greater contact with the outdoors and the use of exterior spaces for entertaining and relaxation. For both a new house or an older property the creation of an outdoor living space is a prime prerequisite. Most owners are seeking a generous area suitable for outdoor dining with a BBQ, good lighting and weather protection.
Due to our benign climate, these outdoor living spaces can be used year round and greatly extend the internal space within a house. Ideally, the outdoor living area is located in an area that is private from the neighbours and takes advantage of the best orientation and any views available.
The proper maintenance and upkeep of the building are important, particularly in an older property. Most purchasers are seeking a property with little work to do once they move in. Not only does a house present much more favourably when it is well maintained with neat gardens and lawns but it also gives the potential purchaser the peace of mind that they are not faced with major inconvenience and costs associated with extensive building works.
The way a house presents to the street is important as it representative of the owner’s taste and aspirations. For example:
– How it relates to the surrounding context
– Whether it subtlety integrates with the streetscape or makes a bold statement
– What “attractive” elements are incorporated in the street front design
– How is landscaping and front fencing incorporated into the overall design of the home
All of these elements will influence the resale value of your property
Generally, a well-designed house that is architecturally distinctive, sells itself to the astute buyer. Factors that are important to be incorporated can often be neglected or overlooked.
An architect will ensure that critical design issues such as:
– Privacy from neighbours
– Correct orientation to gain winter sun whilst blocking the summer sun
– The sensible arrangement of rooms
– Minimising excessive hallways
If a purchaser is comparing a number of homes, it is obviously the house that does all things well or has the least problems, that will be most appealing.
While there are many other factors which come into play with the re-sale value of any property these brief notes give some guidance to the most salient points for the majority of houses.