Inspecting House

Which Home Improvements Really Add Value Before Selling

Your house will almost certainly be more attractive to buyers with some general sprucing up and cleaning. Larger projects such as loft conversions, converting a garage or adding a conservatory may reap high rewards if you have the time and money. But small things can make a surprising difference too.

Easy upgrades

First of all, it’s best to fix all superficial defects. While unlikely to be the clinching factor in a house sale, small problems and defects can create an impression of a house being run down or not well cared for. Things to look out for include:

  • Peeling paint
  • Dirty walls, especially near doors frames and around switches
  • Dripping taps
  • Squeaky floors, doors or stairs
  • Mouldy sealant in kitchens or bathrooms
  • Limescale built up on kitchen and bathroom fittings
  • Badly fitted laminate flooring
  • Broken lightbulbs

Bigger issues such as damp should not be covered up. It will show up on a survey and is likely to come back to haunt you later on.

Any visible DIY blunders will worry the potential buyer about what might have been bodged elsewhere.

A new lease of life

Not everyone can afford a whole new kitchen or bathroom. However, there are many smaller ways to improve what is already there.

First impressions are really important, so make sure the outside of the house seems welcoming. Even a new door knob, house number or name sign could help. Your front door should look smarter than your neighbours’.

In the kitchen, good lighting will help. And you could consider replacing the cupboard handles or adding a shiny new sink and taps for a relatively small budget. If you have more money to spend, you could consider replacing the cupboard doors.

In the bathroom, re-grouting, eliminating all limescale and replacing taps are a good option. Bathrooms need to be fresh and hygienic looking, so paint the walls a neutral shade, and ideally replace a shower curtain with a new one or a simple glass screen.

Clutter-free, clean surfaces will make a big difference to the feel of the house.

Upgrade light fittings with a brighter lightbulb if possible, to make sure the house is well lit. Consider adding a floor standing lamp or an extra lamp on a side table.

More substantial changes include adding wooden floors, replacing tired looking carpets, repainting throughout in neutral shades or opening up a fireplace.

Garden appeal

An attractive, tidy, well-designed garden can add a great deal of value to a property and it is essential to trim borders, clear pathways and cut back overgrown trees or bushes. The garden should ideally feel like an extra space for entertaining or relaxing, rather than an expanse of grass. An area of decking will give buyers a sense of having a bigger usable living space.

Look smart

Smart home technologies are increasingly important to buyers - just advertising the presence of fibre optic cables in your area could be enough to encourage buyers. Statement systems like multi-room music platforms can also make a difference.

Smart technology such as Hive, which gives mobile control over heating systems, is a feature worth considering. If it moves your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) up a band, it could add thousands to the sale price.

Bigger projects

Big projects could include a loft conversion, adding a conservatory, converting a garage or installing a whole new kitchen or bathroom. A recent survey by NAEA Propertymark shows that half of estate agents think that adding a bedroom – usually a loft conversion – adds the most value, while a third of agents thought a new kitchen was the best choice.

Whatever you choose to do, it is a good idea to speak to a local estate agent about the sort of features that make the most difference when selling homes in your area.

You might also want to think about your target audience and try to reflect their needs. For example, is your house most likely to appeal to young professionals? A room could be set aside as an office or you could add an extra shower room. If young families are the most likely buyers, could you turn the adjoining garage into a playroom?

Even if you can’t afford an extension or conversion, it might be worth obtaining planning permission to do so at a later date. You would have to spend money on drawing up the designs and getting a survey, but it would remove a big element of doubt from a potential buyer’s mind if they know the council has already approved an extension.

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