Posted on: 01/08/2020
How much does my apartment cost? This question is not easy to answer, especially since our attachment to the apartment often influences the assessment. However, there are several objective criteria that can help you get a real picture of your options and make the most of them.
1. Location is one of the most important criteria in determining the price of any property - a fact that real estate professionals will never stop repeating. Other factors however may also give a positive or negative emphasis to the assessment. We've identified eight more - with the help of Richard Tiberghien, a real estate broker with Etude Wagram, a Paris-based real estate agency.
2. "Find out the address and you’ll know whether it's worth a visit" is one of the first lessons Richard has learned when started his first job as a broker more than 20 years ago. This principle is still valid today, and not only in Paris. There will always be more interest in the apartment if it is located in a good neighborhood. Even locations that seem noisy at first glance could be perfect homes if well designed – if, for example, the bedroom window looks out onto a patio rather than a boulevard. Such features, however, will certainly increase the price of the property. Before buying or renting a property, seek information from traders and agents, but don't overlook your gut feelings - stroll through the neighborhood, smell the air and try to imagine it as your new home. Sometimes that’s exactly what you need.
3. The environment and shops
In some cases, the environment can be both a plus (a park, schools, shops) and a minus. Rent a property with a bedroom overlooking the schoolyard, and you can forget how to use an alarm clock - the school bell and students’ voices will successfully fulfill its functions. A 24/7 grocery store nearby is definitely a plus. A restaurant on the ground floor of your building can quickly become a nuisance, especially if smokers gather to chatter at the entrance.
A restaurant business next door to your property does not influence its price in a good way, especially an eatery or a bar on the ground floor of the building if you are on the first floor. It's always good to have tasty food at your fingertips, but there are also smells, noises and traffic from deliveries – all are factors that lower the price of your property by 3 to 10 percent depending on the market.
4. Condition of the building or house
Before you even enter the apartment or the house, you already have an emotional setting for what you are going see. The particular property for sale may be beautiful, renovated and furnished, but issues with the roof, staircase and rusty elevator do not play to your advantage. If the building itself needs a major renovation, be prepared for a price discount… regardless of how well you have managed your own unit therein.
5. The floor
Differences in property prices within the same building and the same floor can be huge. According to Richard Tiberghien's observations, they can vary between 30 and 40% per square meter between the ground floor in a dark courtyard and the last floor with a large terrace. The ground floor and first floor are lower-priced compared to every upper floor, especially if there is an elevator. Why? More clarity, more light, but also more sense of security. There are significantly fewer burglaries on the fourth floor than on the ground or first floor. An exception is the last floor, where thieves can go unnoticed through the roof - the price difference of this unit can reach up to 5% compared to the lower floors.
The ground floor remains one that may, however, interest liberal professionals and people with reduced mobility. Terraces are also a huge factor in choosing a home and often times raise the price of a property.
It is more important than you think. In Paris, the ideal (and most expensive) layout consists of "an entry hallway with a living room to the right and a kitchen to the left, bedrooms at the back with good separation between the bedroom and the living area." There is another room that plays a significant role in determining the price - the bathroom. The golden rule is that the more bathrooms in the unit, the more expensive it is, and ideally, each bedroom would have an adjoining bathroom.
The view! A house overlooking Vitosha costs much more than a house overlooking the adjacent terrace of the opposite condominium. A view to a famous monument, such as the Eiffel Tower or Alexander Nevsky, also affects prices, especially if you're targeting a foreign clientele. If the view is to a neighboring building, this will inevitably affect the price of the property. However, it is affected by even minor details such as positioning in relation to the sun. In the most expensive case, the sun will look in your bedroom in the morning and in your living room in the afternoon. The good news is that now you can find out the sun exposure yourself with a phone app.
8. Communal fees
Richard notes that just a few years ago the communal fees were a minor factor in determining the price of a property. In his observations, however, more and more attention is paid to this circumstance. If the building requires too many or too high maintenance fees, this may affect the interest toward it, and therefore, its price. Our advice is, before buying an apartment in a building, ask to see the minutes and decisions of its general meetings.
9. Energy efficiency
Insulation and ways to heat the property are of great importance for its future costs. Energy performance diagnostics is of increasing interest to potential home buyers. The most advantageous way of heating is through gas, and according to Richard Tiberghien, precisely the properties heated by gas deserve to be sold at 5% to 15% higher prices.
10. The need for home repair
Let's not turn a blind eye to the obvious - the more renovations the apartment needs, the lower its value. If you are not able to invest time and money in the apartment, be prepared to sell it at a much lower price than the cost of repair works alone would suggest. The less work you leave to the future owners of the property to make it their home, the more you can afford to ask from them. Remember, in many cases buying a home is strongly guided by the emotional reaction of the buyer, in other words, it’s a love at first sight. Create comfort and coziness and your efforts will be rewarded.
Old furniture, dusty corners and dirty surfaces are not the factors that will drive potential buyers to bid for a property. Cleaning up takes significantly less resources than a major overhaul, but it can drastically affect the way your guests will feel during the view, and the cost respectively.
12. Lack of investment in the property
The home is the place where you feel comfortable, relaxed and cozy regardless of the weather. Bad fitting window frames and molds on the exterior walls will not make any potential buyers feel at home – at least not in a good way. Changing window frames and installing external thermal insulation is not a big investment, but it is essential for any building willing to house a home. If there is none, prepare for two options - either to sell your property at an undeservedly low price, or prepare for a long stay on the market, which in turn also has negative consequences.