CHARLIE WELLS

Charlie Wells
What’s in a name?
11 April 2018

How much value can be placed on the name of a property? While it is hard to quantify, anecdotally we know that properties with unusual or slightly derogatory names can take longer to sell. Indeed, some don’t sell at all until the name is changed to something more aspirational or just less peculiar.

We bought a house for a client, which had been called the Old Stables for years, because part of it had been used as stabling for horses long before it was converted to living accommodation. The client changed the name to the Dower House, which made it much more desirable.

Sometimes ‘farm’ is dropped from a name, so Manor Farm will be shortened and effectively traded up to ‘The Manor’. In other instances we have seen it added to a name, with ‘Rowan Trees’ upgrading to Home Farm, for example.

Animal and plant names are the most popular, according to the Royal Mail. Recently, we came across Little Rabbits, a house with an odd name that had been on the market for two and a half years. The agent thought it was the name that could be the issue and was it any coincidence that after it was changed to Mulberry House - rather less unusual and grander sounding - that it sold to the next buyer? Television programmes are also an influence: I have noticed many Toad Halls and Highcleres (with a nod to Downton Abbey). Even the odd house has been called Brookside but changed its name because of the relation to the long-running television series so the snob factor works both ways.

When it comes to house names, there is definitely a pecking order in a village. The top house would be the Hall or The Manor, then the Grove, the Dower House and the Rectory. When homeowners change names it is generally to trade up but one must be wary of overdoing it. I visited The Manor in the Cotswolds with ball finial gates and a sweeping drive but it was effectively an old coach house. There may have been a manor behind it at some stage but visitors would have arrived with anticipation and inevitably been disappointed when they got there.

Changing a name is fairly straightforward. Write to your local council, which will consult with Royal Mail to check the name doesn’t conflict with others in the area and doesn’t cause offence. The renaming certificate must be sent to the Land Registry, Electoral Registration and Council Tax and Planning Department.

If you are struggling to sell, it may be worth considering. What will you call yours?

 

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