Add Value to your House: The Ultimate Guide
Impress potential buyers and up the price
If you’re thinking of selling your home in the future (as in it’s not your ‘forever home’) then you’ve probably thought of ways to add value to your property.
Why does this matter?
Adding value makes perfect sense, because when you come to sell, you’ll be able to sell for a higher sale price.
There are many ways in which you can add that value.
From huge renovation projects to smaller things you can do around the home, we’re going to take a look at methods and approaches you can use to bring a better asking price when the time to sell arrives.
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Adding or updating central heating
Believe it or not, there are still buildings in the country that don't have central heating.
If you own one, installing a system will give your property a huge boost in value. And if you do have central heating but it’s a little dated, you might want to consider installing an update.
Either way, buyers will expect to have the system in place.
You can also make sure that you derive the most value by:
- Replacing old and/or broken windows and frames with double glazing
- If you have a loft, add some insulation
- Adding heated towel rails
- Managing drafts around rear, side and front doors and windows by sealing them
By covering all of these points, you will make the home more energy efficient.
- Use this Home Energy Check by the Energy Saving Trust to check the energy efficiency of your home (it will also help you achieve lower energy bills win-win!)
- Order your Energy Performance Certificates from a Domestic Energy Assessor (you'll need it to sell or buy a home).
Making over the kitchen
This is one of those big areas that, if done right, can add considerable value to a property. You’d also be quite surprised to hear how cost-effective it can be. You can buy kitchens for tens of thousands of pounds, but you don’t have to, especially if you're trying to add value for a sale.
It’s always tempting to go all-out on this part of the home.
If you approach the task of renovating with a careful pace, you should be able to create a new kitchen that adds lots of value, without any financial strain.
One way to get things moving is to buy new door panels for the units in the kitchen. These will be relatively inexpensive, and definitely less expensive than buying a new set of units. It's a good way of making the kitchen look brand new with minimal cost.
This is probably the simplest way to get a new look for the kitchen.
Try the following ideas to give the kitchen a new lease of life:
|Feature||What you can do|
|Units||New doors and handles|
|White goods (washing machine etc)||Purchase integrated units, which give a kitchen a neater look|
|Lighting||Invest in high quality lighting that gives the kitchen a feeling of spaciousness|
|The cooker||Invest in a ‘range’ cooker, and ensure that there is a quality extractor hood|
|Flooring||Ensure it is clean and that there are no rough edges. Buy a nice, bright rug for the center of the kitchen|
|Walls||Paint one wall as a feature wall|
A garden can be very appealing, especially if buyers have children.
If you have the funds, it’s a good idea to bring in a professional gardener and landscaper.
Their expertise can look at the garden space and develop ideas to make it neater and more welcoming. This is worth doing because a buyer will look at the garden space and then know, immediately, whether or not the property is worth buying.
Your landscaper or gardener should be able to advise on how you can create specific areas in the garden. This is a crucial aspect when it comes to making a garden look like a home. Making distinct areas for entertaining, for example, will pay off as buyers see how they can spend their time in the garden.
If you’re not able to afford a complete transformation of your garden, at least make sure that the important parts are dealt with. For example, get rid of weeds and dead leaves, plant a few colourful plants, and cut and feed the lawn.
If you’ve ever watched a DIY or home improvements TV show, this is a crucial element.
The kerb appeal is important to selling a house because it makes a powerful first impression.
You may consider a full rework of the front of your house. If it's particularly drab and uninteresting this is worth considering and it could add huge value to the property. There are many things you can do on this larger scale, including fitting a new roof (modern smart tiles always make a good impression) or changing windows.
Get Inspired: A Few Image Ideas for Kerb Appeal
This a great idea, and it may well be necessary. But if you’re going down this road, check to see there are no limits on what you can do with the local council.
On a smaller scale, you could consider the following measures:
- Repairing and painting window frames, and of course cleaning them
- Any house signs or house numbers could be replaced with smart new ones
- Repainting exterior walls (masonry paint is quite inexpensive)
- Buy a trellis and fix to the outside walls and then buy some climbing plants
- Any cracked or broken rendering may be beyond your skills, but you can usually find a tradesman to get the job done
Install a conservatory
This has always been a bit of a favourite among homeowners.
Not only dos it add value to a home but also some extra natural light. Bear in mind though, they’re not low-cost affairs, and you’ll have to get a number of quotes to ensure you get the best deal. Yet for obvious reasons it’s always a good idea to have a high quality job done.
It's for that reason that it’s worth getting a solid picture of how much you can reasonably afford.
What's the real story?
Conservatory costs are strongly determined by the size of the property, and in some cases, especially with older properties, you can be looking at a bill in the tens of thousands.
A lot of the process of building a conservatory will of course be handled by the contractors who are doing it, but if you choose to make your own:
- Ensure it faces south
- Include heating or it will be a liability for a new buyer rather than a bonus
- A major factor is the extent to which adding a conservatory feels like a part of the house. If it doesn’t, then it will seem like a ‘bolt on’, with no flow to the rest of the building
Another popular option is to expand into the loft or attic.
A loft conversion has the added advantage of creating a new living space or extra bedroom for the home, instantly adding value to your home.
This is obviously a very big undertaking. But it will add value.
So, if you’re able to afford it, it could well be the feature that gets the house sold. It's disruptive, and can take months to get finished, not to mention changing the interior of your home (a new set of stairs will be needed) but very much worth the hard work.
Be aware that, while a loft conversion doesn't need any planning permission, you will have to seek permission if your windows are facing a road. Your builder will also have to fit insulation to the conversion so that you meet with building regulations.
The smaller aspects
Every home has it’s DIY problems, and buyers are not expecting to walk into an absolutely perfect home. They will expect a couple of small things to be in need of repair.
The word though, is ‘small’.
There are elements of the repairs around the house that you as a homeowner need to take care of. These can often be done by anyone with even a tiny bit of DIY experience, so they shouldn't be stressful to get done quickly and efficiently.
You should be able to manage the work involved in the following, and if you can’t do this kind of work, then it should be easy enough to contact a builder to get it done for you:
- Dripping taps. These can be quite easily handled by anyone with minimal DIY skills
- Broken door latches. Or simply not working
- Any loose tiles. Could be fixed or replaced
- Cracks In the paintwork of the interior of the home. All this requires is some filler and a lick of paint, and should be very easy to manage quickly
Create a parking option
Many people will say that they like a home to have off-street parking. It’s more secure than the street, and it also makes people feel safe.
Insurance companies are interested in this too, and will use the lack of off-street parking in calculating the premiums you'll pay.
To create off-street parking you don't have to apply for planning permission. You'll have to liaise with the your local council though, primarily because they'll have to be involved with the drop kerb (the pavement ‘ramp’ to make it possible for a car to enter). Apply for a dropped kerb here.
Most buyers will be pleased to see a driveway, especially in cities, where it's often the case that on-street parking is the norm.
The finish is the overall look and feel of the place.
A few finishes:
- Sweep the property. For a clean and tidy feel
- Add wooden flooring. Or use cheaper (yet still attractive) laminate flooring
- Add more storage to the home. This can be through new shelving or new alcoves and areas to store items
- Repaint the interior. Apply neutral shades so that the buyer is able to visualise the living spaces before they move in
- Clean everywhere. Ensure that no space or surface in the home is cluttered
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Adding value takes work!
With all the ways to add value to your property, it really does take work.
Much of what you want to do will be contracted out, but you need to keep an overview of all of it. Work out your budget, cost effectively and see how much you can achieve, and then prioritise the jobs so that you get maximum benefit.
And always think about what potential buyers would want to see.
The value-added approach is not for you, it’s for someone else.
This is a key distinction for anyone who wants to sell their home as quickly as possible.