As property prices in Northern Ireland hit a five-year high, many homeowners with an itch to sell are getting their house in order and on the market.
With the stamp duty exemption on houses under £500,000 running out in March, more people are making the move now to the home of their dreams. There is also a rise in demand for homes with gardens, perhaps a demand being driven by those who endured lockdown with no outside space to enjoy.
The information comes from a major survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Ulster Bank.
The pandemic has also driven more people back ‘home’ and also given people more time to save for a deposit and consider buying a house or moving.
Homeowners in Northern Ireland looking to sell their property are being urged to check their heating system to stand out from the crowd for potential buyers.
All homes marketed for sale require an Energy Performance Certificate. With many properties on the market, OFTEC, the organisation that represents the liquid fuel industry in Ireland, has produced a helpful checklist to ensure your heating systems is in sellable condition and tip top shape to assist your house sale:
Know your boiler’s history
- The HSENI recommended that your boiler should be serviced at least once a year to make sure it is working correctly and efficiently. If you haven’t had the system checked over, contact an OFTEC registered technician who is qualified, competent and insured to provide you with evidence, such as servicing reports. Using non-qualified technicians to carry out any work could make buyers more cautious.
How much does it cost to run?
- Energy costs are often one of the most important factors people consider when buying a property so make sure you know the facts and share them with potential buyers. With over 65% of homes using a liquid fuel, this is the most popular home heating source across Northern Ireland. Heating oil remains the cheapest major fuel over the last three months and over a four-year average, when comparing typical annual running costs for an average three-bedroom house. (Sutherland Tables – July 2020).
How smart are the heating controls?
- Outdated and or no heating controls could potentially put off a buyer because they can make it more difficult to regulate the temperature, leading to higher energy consumption and fuel bills. Upgrading to more efficient technology which enables you to set different temperatures for each room can be an additional selling point. Modern systems can also connect with smart devices which offers even greater flexibility allowing you to turn the heat on remotely before you get home!
How old is the boiler?
- Modern condensing boilers are more efficient (up to 93%), quieter and cheaper to run. If the boiler is over 15 years old, it will definitely be worth replacing. You can save up to 20% on your annual home heating bill with a new condensing boiler. If the boiler has been installed in the past five years, prospective buyers may ask to see a boiler passport.
Love your oil tank
- Don’t forget the oil tank! This should be serviced annually as well to check that it is robust, fittings are correct and the storage is sound. Again, a record of servicing for potential buyers is very important.
Insulate and increase your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
- To maximise the efficiency level on your EPC think about adding insulation to your loft, energy efficient light bulbs and TRV’s/room stats to your existing heating system. These small additions can greatly improve your energy efficiency rating and will be at the forefront of any buyer’s mind.
David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland Manager, said: “Selling a home can be a difficult experience. With the busy lives that many of us now lead, we want to do this in the quickest and simplest way possible. For this reason, a quick win is checking your heating system to ensure you stand-out in the crowded marketplace. Whilst most of us focus on getting our home interiors looking as pleasing as possible, the heating system is often forgotten about.
However, it’s an important consideration because if it hasn’t been maintained it could be flagged on a mortgage survey and may put off potential buyers or lead to a reduced offer. Taking the time to check everything is in good working order and knowing the facts can make a big difference. Buyers today are much savvier and want to get the best deal. Having an annual boiler service carried out by an OFTEC registered technician will give you the physical documentation, to present to any potential buyers.”
For more information and advice, visit www.oftec.ie