Property: Can Carol Vorderman really help you sell your home?

As the TV schedules fill up with property programming, Ginetta Vedrickis looks at the makeover phenomenon

SOME VENDORS go to extreme lengths. Inviting Carol Smillie or even Carol Vorderman to give your home a quick makeover might be going a little far but could it help you sell?

Changing Rooms famously uses staple guns, MDF and Handy Andy to transform suburban domesticity into, if Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen has a say, something more closely resembling a bordello. Its ITV rival, Better Homes, features Carol Vordermann overseeing sledgehammers and wrecking balls with the emphasis on serious structural change as two families compete to see who can add most value to their properties.

Cynics might assume the bordello look hinders sales but some estate agents are keen to try unconventional ways of achieving commissions. Paul Curtis of Roy Brooks' Dulwich branch appeared in C5's House Doctor, in which "real estate stylist" Ann Maurice advises vendors how to improve their properties' appearance.

Paul Curtis nominated two properties on his books which had not sold and viewers saw prospective buyers give opinions before and after Ann's makeover. Did the programme attract buyers? "We didn't sell either of them," says Paul who still credits the improvements of one "appalling" house: "Basically it was heaped with underwear and what the cameras couldn't capture was the smell."

After Ann Maurice fearlessly advised the vendor to remove the clutter, including the surfeit of undergarments, the property looked (and must have smelt) fresher - so why didn't Paul sell it? "We had an instant buyer but the vendor got greedy and sold through another agent for pounds 10,000 more."

In contrast, Paul's other property was a beautiful roof-terrace flat which proved surprisingly difficult to sell: "It's a lovely flat but the programme couldn't change the fact that it's on a main road," says Paul who firmly believes that House Doctor, unlike programmes featuring structural changes, reminds vendors of the obvious advantages of ensuring that their assets always look their best: "It's not necessary to renovate but it's common sense to tidy up and it pays."

Daisy Goodwin, House Doctor's editor, agrees - and takes credit for turning around the infamous "house with underpants": "No one in their right mind would have bought that house but we sold it." She believes that most properties "given the Ann treatment" sell quicker and for more: "You've got to look at your house as others see it, which is hard if you've lived there for some time. But you wouldn't turn up for an interview wearing old jeans and trainers and it's the same when selling."

Comparing buying to interviewing, Daisy says that prospective buyers decide within 10 seconds and she calls Ann Maurice's advice brutal but effective: "On TV it's essential not to pull punches." How did recipients respond to brutal criticism? "Some of them were dumbstruck until they saw their homes re-done and then they were convinced."

Daisy believes that Ann's background as an American real-estate agent gives her the edge over her British counterparts: "Agents there have a professional attitude and must pass exams. Most are mature women with a real sense of what people want. Here you get spotty 24-year-olds who just have to be able to drive VW Golfs. They are too worried about losing their commissions but I think sellers would prefer agents who say, `Do this and you can make thirty grand more'."

Daisy admits to a serious distaste for other peoples' belongings and her own three purchases have all been of empty properties. When selling she makes strenuous efforts to erase any trace of human life: "We put fresh flowers out and clear everything away so it's like a hotel. Trouble is, it looks so good that we don't want to move." She previously worked on Homefront, another makeover programme, but admits that she wouldn't undergo one herself: "Not in a million years. You don't have much control and the stress of TV crews and builders in your home is a nightmare. You can get pushed into doing things you don't want to do." She views House Doctor differently: "All these houses weren't selling and we helped them do it."

Someone who agreed to a TV makeover is Terrie Towell who, with husband Brian, allowed the BBC Changing Rooms team to transform their bedroom while they, with stylist Linda Barker, remade their neighbour's son's room. Though it was originally the neighbour's idea to apply, Terrie enjoyed the experience but says it was easy to be "talked into things". While she calls her pre-makeover bedroom "disgusting" she liked the end results: "It was hard work but I loved everything they did."

On 10 February the nation (well a few million viewers) will be privy to the inside of Terrie's lavender bedroom and, yes, she does cry on screen but puts this down to exhaustion rather than elation. All will be revealed then but the prospect of being recognised in the street is not a worry: "I don't mind if they buy me a drink." She believes her TV makeover will not affect future sales in real terms but will definitely improve saleability: "I don't think it will add pounds on but it could be a good selling point."

Paul Curtis agrees that properties which have appeared on TV hold added attraction for buyers and, by drawing attention to an area, help push up local prices. This week's tabloid headline "Changing Rooms wrecked my marriage" told the story of Stewart Bush, whose relationship foundered following his wife's reaction to the "futuristic silver revamp", forcing him to sell his Sidcup house.

Mr Bush won't be interested but if you're not the shy retiring type Daisy Goodwin is seeking vendors with hard-to-sell properties for House Doctor's spring series. Not everyone need apply: "We rejected one which had been on the market for six years. If you're next to the M4 there are some houses that will never sell."

House Doctor: 0171-436 6064;

Roy Brooks: 0181-299 3021;

Changing Rooms: Wed 8pm BBC1;

Better Homes: Mon 8.30pm ITV

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
News
people
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album