This week I received a run of calls that I thought I would talk about. The calls theme being “can you send someone come to evaluate the condition of the windows and doors at a property we might like to buy.” It is becoming the accepted standard to negotiate the value of a property purchase based on structural soundness of sash windows and doors. Actually when I think back as long as I can remember, there has always been some of this, but now I believe it’s considered in every single sale. It’s becoming normal for buyer to expect sash windows and doors of an excellent structural standard and it’s bringing some horrible cover ups as well as some very positive restoration of period property. I’d like to help you understand how to spot both qualities.
The most important tip that will absolutely ensure you will not be left out of considerable pocket. Do not under any circumstances replace your original sash windows with UPVC. The most expensive mistake to date seen is a whole house replaced with UPVC whereby the owner considered the original sash windows beyond economical repair, cold, and draughty, however could not afford or warrant installation of a whole house of double glazed timber sash windows. The owner was fully aware that prospective buyers would find the original windows unattractive from repair and heat perspective. He assumed the UPVC to be an upgrade. Unfortunately this was not the case. After replacing all windows with UPVC ready for a potential sale (in the region of £8000). He then found himself in absolute shock that not only were the buyers dissatisfied, they all offered in the region of £20,000 to £30,000 less than asking on the basis of having sash windows installed in place of ugly and inappropriate UPVC. One should never take financial advice from a
UPVC window salesman looking at a payout for offering his/her services. Fortunately this expensive mistake is far less common now than twenty years ago with stricter controls and a far greater awareness for maintaining the originality of period properties.
The baseline expectation of any buyer is that windows and doors are structurally sound. This includes no rotten timber, and maintenance in good order. Windows should travel freely, be balanced well, have no broken sash cords, and sash window decoration should be in good order. It’s essential that if your windows are not to this standard that you have the sash window repairs carried out prior to sale. Do not perform low quality filler repairs, trapping rot, this will only serve as a very quick fix and sash windows in true need of repair will have tell tale signs very quickly from this type of bodge. A quick slap of paint will not do. Any trained eye is now looking for the tell tale signs of a quick fix job. Windows end up painted shut, the finish from glazing putty to glass is poor, and in general it looks shoddy. Spending half the money on doing a low quality job is throwing money down the drain. If a surveyor flags windows with such issues, many potential purchasers will pursue quotes which deem windows beyond repair, only offering new double glazed timber sash windows. If you would like to avoid this scenario then its worth looking at the sash window repair which details the services you may require.
Would I upgrade all my original sash windows to double glazed for sale in expectation of a better price? I would say this is unnecessary although I have carried out work on many projects that have done exactly this. The developers in question all believe double glazed sash windows with perfect maintenance to be a huge selling point. Notice I said selling point, they did not talk about increased sale price! It is quite obvious that if you had two identical properties selling at the same price with the one exception that house “A” had double glazed sash windows it would of course sell first and faster. So with that in mind I believe a developer is looking to tick all the boxes for a fast sale, with little or no room for negotiation on price from potential buyers. It is quite common that the cheapest option for double glazing of existing sash windows is explored. With a house sale close to the million pound price tag these days, it seems exceedingly good value to spend less than £800 a window double glazing existing sashes with the view to a quick sale. It wouldn’t take long for mortgage costs to catch up with that value should sale prove to take a little while. I honestly do not recommend this service for everyone, it is entirely unnecessary and completely at the discretion of the homeowner and their situation. It should be considered that energy savings from sash windows is hot for selling right now, homeowners are like bees to nectar over a green home.
The service which I would take advantage of right now wether selling or not would be sash window draught proofing. It offers as low as a three year payback, any small defects are fixed at the same time. To install the draught proofing system, we must remove sashes, replace cords and make window fully functioning. The payback period is covered in this detailed sash window draught proofing article and basically shows that financially overhauling and draught proofing your sash windows without delay is the best thing that can be done. Not only enjoying the benefits whilst still at the property, but also enjoying the benefits when it comes to sale time. A well maintained, overhauled, and draught proofed sash window is an attractive upgrade. This draught proofing page talks more about the process and what can be done with your original sash windows.
Sash window security is an important part often overlooked. Sash windows with a full security system in place make for a very attractive selling point. Often new homeowners are a little uneasy in their home the first few days and it is then that the highest number of calls will be received to come out and take a look at improved security. If your windows benefit from security restrictors, well fitted sash that cannot be levered open, staff beading with uprated fixings to stop the lower sash from being pushed in then it is certainly going to sit well with buyers of your property.
If your sash window decoration is a little aged it may be worth painting however if it’s tired and would benefit from a clean, then that would be a much better approach than new decoration in my opinion. Decoration that is fading a little shows the windows to still be structurally good, and proves the quality of your joinery beyond any doubt! A freshly painted property for sale always sends alarm bells to me when I am asked to inspect because the first question I have is what has been hidden? All too often I am called to newly purchased properties that appeared to have windows in excellent health, to find the decoration bubbling after a few short months. The expected result is covered up rot and moisture within the joinery. As a result it leaves the eye sharpe to any timber that is decorated, and especially decoration that does not look like a very nice finish.
Make sure that when you have your windows brought up to a structurally acceptable standard and any additional upgrades carried out that you have an invoice and guarantee to supply. This provides confidence in the repairs as well as proves the costings and works carried out. This is especially important if the repairs are carried out prior to sale as it can be provided to surveyor should any issues be found with your windows and will help to alleviate any concerns when a report come back “windows require checking”. This is where doing a quality job over a quick fix gives real value for money.
Internally decorating windows and doors to a high standard always improves to the saleability. All except in the event you accept that your windows are not up to scratch, however don’t feel the investment will improve your sale or the disruption to your home doesn’t warrant the effort. Decorating internally at this point would be of poor value as it is almost certain windows and doors will require removal to refurbish and repair. This will scuff any finishes and require as a bare minimum touching up, but more likely redecoration,
It is worth doing your homework and getting a couple of quotes from reputable window companies to protect yourself against outrageous claims after a price has been agreed if you do not wish to do the work yourself. You may supply purchasers with this quote so that they can take up the issue themselves. If you can ascertain the validity of the quotation and have the supplier put this in writing then it will be accepted in negotiations.