9 ways to add value to your property

8th August 2016

When it comes to getting the best price for your home, the devil is in the details. A study by architecture firm, Mae found that, while location remains a top consideration for homebuyers, 55% of those surveyed were willing to forego local shops, schools and services for a home that felt ‘just right’. But how can you create that feeling for prospective buyers?

To you, your home may already feel perfect. After all, you’ve spent years living there, making little changes and decorating it to fit your needs and tastes. However, there are a number of details you can consider in order to increase the value of your property.

Your home is much more than the sum of its parts - but that’s not to say that those parts don’t make a big difference to its overall value. Here’s how to spruce them up to add extra value to your property:

1: Fix superficial defects

Good news for sellers on a budget - it’s often the smallest details that make the biggest impact. Looking at your property through impartial eyes and noticing all the minor improvements that can be made is a hugely valuable endeavour when it comes to presenting a modern and well-looked-after space that will sell for the optimum price.

Look out for peeling paint, sticking doors and windows, eroding bathroom sealant, cracked plaster and squeaky floorboards. Individually, this minor wear and tear will take minimum time and money to fix, but overall such repairs give the impression of a well-loved, well-looked-after home ready for habitation.

2: Boost your kerb appeal

One thing we’ve learned about prospective buyers is that they always judge a book by its cover. Creating a facade that people can imagine calling home is important when it comes to informing viewers’ snap decisions.

Adding kerb appeal can be as simple as painting your front door and window surrounds a bold colour that will stick in potential buyers’ memories. Ensure that the walkway up to your front door is clean, clear and distinct, drawing the eye to the house itself and creating a welcoming feel. No matter how small your front borders may be, adding some greenery instantly creates a ‘homely’ feeling. Try climbing plants and trellis to spruce up a street-facing facade.

3: Improve insulation

A poor energy rating can be a big turn-off for potential buyers - they’ll imagine the money they’ll lose monthly on heating bills, or the cash they’ll have to splash on improving the rating themselves. Likewise, any hint of damp in the house during viewings will likely decrease what you’re offered for it.

You could instantly increase the value of your property by adding or updating central heating to an energy-efficient model, adding insulation to loft spaces, and ensuring that any drafts around windows and doors are sealed off. While a new central heating system in a 3-bedroomed house can cost upward of £3,000, not paying sufficient attention to heating and insulation can cost you far more when it comes to selling.

4: Replace windows

Replacing older windows with double glazing can also go a long way to saving energy and keeping your home warm and damp-free. In the lower end of the market, modern PVCu double glazing is considered an essential - particularly by first-time buyers.

Be aware that in period properties, replacing windows with overly modern styles can detract from the property’s overall value, so be sure to replace panes in a way that’s sympathetic to the original look of the building. In Brighton and Hove, many older properties are listed or protected, and therefore extra attention needs to be given to altering windows. Check whether you’re in a conservation area before making any big changes - a lick of paint can work wonders in the meantime!

5: Make-over the kitchen

The kitchen is considered the heart of the home, and is often one of the first things that triggers a gut reaction in potential buyers. Presenting a modern, bright and hygienic kitchen space is vital to putting viewers’ minds at ease about your house’s short and long-term livability. In fact, Research by HSBC has found that replacing or renovating the kitchen can add up to £5,000 to a property’s price.

If structural changes to your kitchen space are unnecessary or not possible, you can still increase the value by replacing cupboard doors and worktops, adding integrated white goods, and under-unit halogen lighting. The key is creating a well-lit and easy-to-clean space that viewers can imagine moving into without hassle. Painting old units can have a similar effect on a shoestring budget!

6: Make over the bathroom

Like kitchens, bathrooms need to look clean and modern, and stand up to intense scrutiny from viewers - a touch of luxury can’t hurt either! One of the biggest turn-offs for potential buyers is a lack of shower, so if you don’t have one, you can instantly up the value by adding a gravity-fed or combi system over an existing bath.

Stick to light and neutral shades for walls and tiling, and opt for large tiles over a mosaic look, as the thought of scrubbing all the grout can be offputting! Modern inset halogen lighting is a low-maintenance way to ensure a bright aspect. Replacing any cracked or chipped porcelain units, or any discoloured plastic or enamel is key.

Also important to presenting a clean and instantly usable bathroom is ventilation. Ensure that a sufficiently powerful extractor fan is installed, to assuage viewers’ worries about damp and condensation.

Don’t forget to declutter - removing excess shampoo bottles from your shower cubicle or bathtub can draw more attention to the room’s positive features.

7: Add more storage space

A detail that’s often overlooked but makes a huge difference to viewers is storage. Utilise any ‘spare’ space in your home to create stylish integrated storage. You may not notice the difference at first, but potential buyers certainly will!

Space on either side of a chimney breast can accommodate low, built-in cabinets that double up as media stands, while space under the stairs or at the end of a corridor is invaluable for a full-height utility or linen cupboard. Particularly if you are selling a smaller property such as a flat or cottage, these details will propel your property to the top of buyers’ shortlists.

8: Get into the garden

Particularly in the summer months, a well-maintained and attractive outdoor space can really make a property stand out in potential buyers’ minds. If you’re lucky enough to have a small garden, patio or even a balcony, make the most of this space! Even a small gesture such as placing seating, cushions and plants on a balcony can encourage viewers to imagine themselves enjoying the space.

Adding a feature such as decking, a pergola or a small water feature to a garden will instantly grab viewers’ attention, while a variety of mature plants will encourage potential buyers to jump right in and enjoy the space, without having to worry about creating a landscape from scratch.

9. Do some spring cleaning

Creating a clean, comfortable atmosphere in your home is probably the most cost-effective way to add instant value before each viewing. Show viewers that you can take care of the small things in your home, and they’ll trust that you’ve looked after the bigger things. While it’s important to declutter, you still want your house to feel like a home, so that potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. 

Keep some simple tricks in mind to create a feeling of space: Ensure that no doorways are obstructed. Remove coats and bags from the backs of doors, allowing the doors to open fully. Remove net curtains from the windows, and make sure the panes are streak-free. Make your beds with light-coloured bedding, and replace any dark-coloured rugs with lighter ones.

Open windows before viewings to banish musty scents. Don’t try to hide smells with room fresheners or scented candles, as potential buyers can often see through that. Instead, making a policy of no smoking or pets in the house while it’s on the market can keep the air remarkably fresh. And when in doubt, freshly brewed coffee or cake in the oven can add a pleasant yet lived-in scent.

Whether your home is currently on the market, you’re considering selling in the near future, or you’ve only just invested in a property, these tips will add value both to your lifestyle in the short-term and your property’s value in the long term - now that’s what we call a win-win situation!


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