If you’re thinking of selling your home what can you do to set your house apart from all the others?
If you’re looking to make the move up the property ladder it’s important to explore the different ways you can maximise the value of your existing home. Here are some ways you can do this:
Fix structural defects
First things first, fix all major structural problems. That means:
- Cracks to walls
- Missing/broken roof tiles
- Leaking roof
- Growing damp
Do this before moving on to making cosmetic enhancements. Fixing these issues may be pricey but ensuring these are taken care of is crucial in terms of adding value.
Then fix all existing minor structural problems. While these don’t directly affect the value of your home, they can put potential buyers off. Fortunately, they’re easy fixes. Examples include:
- Door handles/locks and catches that don’t work
- Dripping taps
- Loose tiles
- Cracks in ceiling/plasterwork
You need to get buyers through the front door and first impressions can be lasting. The outside of your home must look its finest. Consider a fresh lick of paint, cleaning the windows, unblocking the gutters and clearing the driveway. Hang mirrors in the hall because a cramped, cluttered corridor is often the first thing potential buyers will see. Hanging mirrors can visually enlarge a corridor or hall and reflect light, brightening it up.
Thinking of selling? Read our guide How to Sell Your Property
Attract the right buyer
Try to establish your most likely type of buyer. A family? A professional couple? Once you know who your viewer will be you can decide on how best to present a spare room. You might decide to showcase it as an office for professionals, or a play room for a family. Other options include a gym, reading room or games room. How you sell the space is up to you.
Add another room to your property
Adding an extra bedroom or bathroom is one of the most effective ways to boost your property’s value. There are a couple of ways to do this and the easiest one is often a loft conversion. It’s a cheaper and more practical option than converting a basement, but you still need to make sure that the benefits will outweigh the costs.
Another way to add space is a conservatory. Although not a bedroom or bathroom, a well-built conservatory can add around 5% to the value of your home. If you decide to go all-out and add an extension, they can add around 10% to the value.
Unless you use it all the time, transforming the garage into an extra room is also a great way to increase space. Make sure the new room is properly linked to the main body of your house for the most financial gain.
Create your own parking space
If you live in an area where parking is difficult (common in more urban areas) consider maximising every inch of exterior space. If you have a front garden, you could consider putting in a permeable driveway. Using a porous material to create a driveway is better for the environment, and means you’re more likely to secure planning permission if necessary. As well as creating a new driveway, you will also need to consider adding a drop the kerb to allow cars up and onto the drive; this is likely to need planning permission though, so make sure to speak to your local planning department before doing any work.
Put in central heating
If you don’t already have this, it can add a lot of value to a property. It can cost between £1,000 and £3,000* but could boost your home’s value by £5,000.
Bring the outdoors in
Create flow between your garden and the home, place some plants and greenery around the rooms or simply light up your garden with some twinkly lighting to make it look appealing. Make sure your garden looks its best too by trimming the grass and cutting back any overhanging trees or bushes.
Update windows and doors
You should opt for windows that suit the age and style of your property. Don’t choose metal windows when they should be wood and vice versa. If the windows need replacing, it’s a worthwhile investment. Double glazed PVC windows can also add value to a property and are easy to maintain, secure and very energy efficient.
It might be surprising, but a front door refurbishment can add value too. It’s all part of the first impressions your house makes on a potential buyer. You can smarten it up with a new doorknob, brass letterbox, or new door number (choose stainless steel for long lasting shine).
Invest in the kitchen, keep the bathroom simple
Whether we’re preparing dinner, hosting parties, doing homework or watching television, the kitchen is one of the important rooms in the house. Many buyers look out for the perfect kitchen when searching for a new home, and valuation surveyors place a great deal of importance on it.
Your aim is to create an attractive and hygienic looking kitchen, with excellent work surfaces and easy access between its three main areas: the sink, fridge and cooker.
Ensure all equipment that’s installed is up to date but take care that your choices won’t be outdated in 10 years’ time.
Other kitchen features worth considering include:
- Lighting – ensure there’s plenty of light throughout
- Extractor hood – to remove cooking smells
- Flooring – it should be hygienic, easy to maintain and fitted properly
Your bathroom’s important but you don’t need a big overhaul to make a difference to the space. New taps, towel rails, shower heads and a glass door or screen instead of a standard curtain will suffice. Be sure to add decorative touches for a wow factor – fake plants that require no maintenance can look great in a bathroom setting, as can candles and colourful bath mats.
Plan for any projects you are undertaking to add value, especially if you are hiring a builder. The bigger the building company, the faster the job will be done, but the higher the price. Hire a smaller firm to save on costs and factor in the extra time it may take them to complete the job.
Listen to friends, colleagues or family who are singing the praises of their builder or contractor. That way you are more likely to trust the work they will do and their way of doing it.
A note on planning permission
Applying for planning permission doesn’t mean you have to spend the money on an extension, it’s simply another way of adding value to your property. It erases any doubt in the buyer’s minds on whether the council would allow the work to be done on the house in the future.
*Prices are correct as of July 2019