Every homeowner knows the driving factor that fuels real estate prices is location. But in today’s market a handy position near transport and amenities is no longer enough. A good floor plan is also essential if a property is to spark strong competition and achieve a high selling price.
Houses and apartments that have a functional floor plan – what architects call ‘good front-to-back flow’ – are far more likely to achieve above-market sales results.
James Buyer Advocates’ Mal James says houses with convoluted floor plans that require major changes can struggle to pull in buyers and often sell at a discount. He warns against purchasing properties that have a ‘disconnect’ between the living and kitchen areas and the bedrooms.
Houses and apartments that have a functional floor plan are far more likely to achieve above-market sales results.
So, what precisely is good flow? ‘It’s having a direct path from the front to the back of the home that is not interrupting other room spaces,’ says architect and buyers’ advocate Adam Woledge. ‘You shouldn’t have to walk through these rooms to get to the rear of the property. Rooms need to coexist harmoniously.’
There are other golden rules. It is bad form (not to mention unhygienic) to have the bathroom coming off the kitchen. Bedrooms that open onto living spaces don’t work well, either.
Another no-no is for homeowners to be compelled to walk diagonally across the living room to reach the kitchen. Similarly, bathrooms, laundries, walk-in wardrobes and pantries shouldn’t enjoy the finest outlook to the garden or to the north light. And flats and units almost always do better in the market if they have an entrance hall or foyer.
People are okay with having a small back yard, but one thing they’re not compromising on is bedroom sizes.
Buyers are taking greater notice of floor plans. As families forget the big backyard and make trade-offs on block sizes to be close to the city and transport hubs, they are demanding space-smart living. It’s little wonder that when a property sits on real estate marketing websites for a long time, it is typically because the bedrooms are too small or there is some other flow issue.
Woledge, of Melbourne-based Woledge Hatt, urges house-buyers to go for wide hallways and to make sure they can walk to the informal areas without twisting and turning.
‘The house should be well zoned: the bedrooms need to be in a logical position, not next to informal areas, and there should be no bathrooms off living spaces,’ he says. ‘People are okay with having a small backyard, but one thing they’re not compromising on is bedroom sizes. Three-metre-by-three-metre rooms are seen as too small.’
Many would-be buyers also don’t consider how their furniture will fit.
‘Sellers often put double beds in instead of queen-size beds, so it’s really important to step away from a floor plan and maybe take your own measurements and visualise the property with your own furniture.’