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How to add thousands to the value of your house by spending just £40

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 03/04/2017 By Andrea Marechal Watson
How to add thousands to the value of your house by spending just £40

Less is more when it comes to an address. Posh houses don’t have numbers, let alone the dreaded word “street” in the address. However, you can’t always trust a name: Highclere House, Pendragon Hall, and Matchwood Manor sound like ancient family seats but all are new (and one is a bungalow).

People usually rename homes when they move in as a way of erasing former owners. A posh address also adds value. The London market is particularly sensitive to snobbery; a survey commissioned by Mayfair estate agent Wetherell found the best addresses can add as much as 40 per cent to the price.

Another survey, by property portal, found that up to £30,000 could be added to the price of homes with regal titles. So when London estate agent Tim Day decided to rename his Suffolk home to something more exciting, he inadvertently struck gold.  

“I changed it from the mundane Esher Cottage to the far grander Crown Cottage,” he says. “It was unbelievably easy and took just 24 hours.”

Newly-named Crown Cottage, now on Castle Lane, is £500,000 with Castle Estates© Castle Estates/Telegraph Newly-named Crown Cottage, now on Castle Lane, is £500,000 with Castle Estates

Day also managed to have his full address changed from Munday’s Lane to Castle Lane. “On my deeds there was a historic map showing that Castle Lane originally extended to where my property stands. The gazetteer officer agreed and I had that changed, too.”

Crown Cottage, on the market at £500,000 with Castle Estates, has two other desirable factors in its name as well as its monarchical moniker. Homes with lane in their address sell for £100,000 more than those with street, a report by HomeTrack found.

“Similarly, we often find that homes named ‘Cottage’ are seen as more desirable than a street number,” says Cheffins director Bruce King. “There is definitely the snob factor of having a home with an aspirational name. Anything named ‘Hall’ or ‘House’ can help add to desirability.”  

So can I call my house, for example, Toad Hall? The answer is probably yes – but I would not be alone. A recent report by Royal Mail, which consulted its database of 28 million addresses, found no fewer than 496 Toad Halls, many of which are very humble homes, indeed.

The most common British house names are pastoral – with meadows, fields, trees and plants high on the list. But the Royal Mail research also shows that names follow fashion: there has been a surge in the number of houses called Clarence, Balmoral and Sandringham since the Jubilee.    

Renaming a house costs as little as £40 and can be easy, but there are lots of rules. Local authorities maintain gazettes of addresses to prevent duplication. Generally, new names must not be difficult to pronounce or spell, advertise a business or be offensive.

The protocol involves the local council, Post Office and emergency services (so you can be found), and in some cases the public. About 7,000 names were agreed for new housing developments last year.   

“A historical fact or feature helps communicate a sense of the life on offer before the homes are built,” says St James managing director, Paul Hopkins. When David Wilson Homes asked local schoolchildren to name its new housing scheme in Godmanchester in Cambridgeshire, they selected Roman’s Edge, submitted by pupil Ethan Stevenson.

In other cases, developers want to forget the heritage of a place. Many Victorian mental asylums have morphed into luxury apartments with grandiose names. Are residents of Princess Park Manor in North London (who include pop stars and footballers) aware that it was once the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum?

Renaming a street is far more tricky – and expensive – but even so Royal Mail says 494 streets were renamed in 2015, mainly to clear up satnav anomalies. Two thirds of residents must agree the change, but the council has the last word.

However, once a property has been issued a number, it will always form part of the address. That’s hard luck for those who live at number 13 . Houses with 13 in their address are £8,974 cheaper than the average UK property, according to Zoopla.

Superstitions abound beyond the number 13. Some people say that it’s unlucky to change the name of your house at all. Unless, of course, you are going to market.

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