Buyers who have difficulty in seeing the potential in properties offered for sale around their chosen area may soon get help, thanks to an innovative new offering from Claire McManus and the team at Open Architects. Read on…

Improving your home to sell? She’ll show you how


Thu, Oct 28, 2010

HOW can you get buyers to see the potential in your home if you don’t have the spare cash to realise that potential? That’s the conundrum architect Claire McManus set out to solve when she established a new service for sellers.

“Even though people are generally advised to spend a bit of money doing their houses up before bringing them to market,” says McManus, of Open Architects, “they can’t always afford it. We can reveal the full potential of a house or apartment so that buyers can see how it could be achieved.” Virtually speaking that is.

Open Architects will provide before and after 3D images of a property, highlighting possible structural and decorative changes. Owners also receive estimates for the work involved and an outline timeframe from planning to completion. This can then be displayed along with the property as an added inducement to would-be buyers.

The cost: €500, with an additional €2,000 if the property gets sold. McManus set up Open Architects in 2005 with Majella Stack. They specialise in renovations and extensions, working country-wide. Recent projects include a house in Rathfarnham and one at the Ecovillage in Cloughjordan.

“This project makes use of current technology, but takes it a step further,” says McManus, who came up with the idea while househunting herself. “Most people use internet searches when buying, and you’ll see architects’ drawings and models on the pages of sites such as This is the next stage.”

Existing small rooms can be shown knocked through, dark kitchens can be seen to benefit from light-filled extensions, or completely refitted, and interiors can be utterly re-imagined.

McManus remembers viewing one Dublin home, and being shown a similar house a few doors down, which had had a lot of work done to it and had sold at a premium price. “Often an estate agent will tell you there’s development potential in a house. Sometimes they’re wrong, but often there’s even more potential than they can see.” The service benefits the owner, as it can help to make the house more saleable, but, as McManus says, “the real benefit is for the buyer, who acquires a house with the preliminary design work and costings already done”.

© 2010 The Irish Times

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