Time to tech up at home

Family homes with solar panels on the roof.
Family homes with solar panels on the roof.

As property prices continue to rise, it seems that technology is increasingly featuring on house hunters’ wish lists.

A new report has looked at just how much extra home buyers would be willing to pay if the latest must-have technology was installed in a property.

A couple organising Christmas together.

A couple organising Christmas together.

More than one in four (28%) home buyers would find a property more appealing if it was equipped with the latest home technology, according to the report from Barclays Mortgages.

On average, home buyers who would spend more, would be willing to pay an extra £3,310 for a new home that came kitted out with high-tech gizmos.

Some people said they would pay up to £10,000 extra for a property with cutting edge technology installed, while the technology people were most likely to fork out extra for was solar panels.

Fibre optic cable was the next most desirable form of technology, followed by a smart security alarm.

The research also suggests that fast broadband is on a par with a big garden on wish lists.

Commenting on the report, property show presenter Amanda Lamb explains that, when it comes to the sort of technology that home buyers will find most appealing, “anything that saves you money and time” is likely to go down well, whether it’s solar panels, superfast broadband, music systems or technology to control heating remotely.

But she also says that homeowners should think about what suits the needs of their own family, rather than trying to second-guess what a prospective buyer may find appealing if they ever decide to sell up.

Lamb says: “You have to buy the things that work for you and that suit you, don’t be led by the trends.

“Go for what’s good for you and your family.”

Before splashing out on any smart technology, it’s also worth taking the time to shop around and check that it’s likely to live up to your expectations.

If you’re buying technology with the aim of it saving you money, weigh this up against the initial outlay.

Lamb says that during her time looking round the nation’s properties, she has seen the wow factor technology can add to a home - from intelligent lighting systems to privacy glass that turns opaque when you tap it.

Although lights that change colour may be more of a novelty than something that would save prospective buyers money and time, Lamb says: “It’s a nice little quirky twist. For me, when you’re trying to sell your house, the best thing to do is to make it memorable.

“It’s making your house stand out from the crowd. If you’re doing five to 10 viewings a day as a buyer, you’ve got to think (as a seller) what makes yours different from the other nine? What makes yours stand out?”

If your home isn’t filled with the latest technology, there are other ways to make your home impress.

Here are Lamb’s top tips:

:: Think about your kerb appeal. The first thing anybody is going to look at is the outside of your property. So if the door needs painting or the window frame needs doing or a tub of flowers needs placing outside, you’ve got to get that bit right.

:: Keep things neutral. Decide on a scheme and run it though your house. That could be anything from two or three different colours that you use in different ways throughout the property.

:: De-clutter. Imagine the removal firm is turning up tomorrow. You need to make sure your home is a reflection of you, but most buyers can’t see through other people’s clutter. I always say get three boxes. One is the sentimental box for stuff that you don’t want to throw away but you don’t want out on display all the time, one is the charity shop/car boot sale box and the other one is the keep box. And you want the keep box to be the smallest amount. Just have a massive, massive de-clutter.

HOW MUCH... WILL YOU SPEND ON THE KIDS THIS CHRISTMAS?

Parents spend £177 on average on each child at Christmas, according to research from Halifax.

More money is spent on 10 and 13 year olds, who typically receive £228 worth of gifts from their parents.

On average, children were found to receive £120 in cash at Christmas from parents, friends and relatives, up almost a third, from £88 in 2014. Seventeen-year-olds receive the most Christmas money — an average of £170.

And nearly a fifth (19%) of children use their pocket money to buy Christmas presents for other people, according to the research.

POUNDNOTES

Financial fact: Mortgage borrowing grew to its strongest level in seven years in October, according to the British Bankers’ Association (BBA). Gross mortgage borrowing reached £12.9 billion in October — marking the highest figure since August 2008.

PARKING CHARGES PUTTING OLDER SHOPPERS OFF, SAGA FINDS

One in three over-50s avoid town centres because it is too expensive to park, according to research from Saga Car Insurance.

Expensive parking is less likely to turn women away from their local high street than men, the research among more than 9,000 people suggested.

Sue Green, head of car insurance at Saga, says: “For many older people a car is key to maintaining their independence. Being able to get to their local high street for essential shopping, picking up prescriptions or going for a coffee with friends should not be hindered by the cost of parking.”

NEW DRIVE TO SPELL OUT MORTGAGE CHARGES

Mortgage lenders have launched a new drive to simplify how they display their fees, following concerns that people were at risk of paying over the odds due to complex charges.

A new tariff, spelling out mortgage fees in a standardised format, has been launched jointly by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and consumer group Which?.

Research by Which? in 2014 found more than 40 different names for fees and charges across the market.