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.
Redecorate and complete easy upgrades
Redecorating is the most popular home improvement and giving your home a lick of paint and doing some general maintenance can be done at a very low cost. Fresh paint in modern colours can go a long way to giving your home a new lease of life, so do not be afraid to pick up the paintbrush.
It’s also 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.
First impressions count. Make sure the outside of the house is welcoming the front door of your home can say a lot about the rest of the house to viewers seeing it for the first time. If you cannot afford to replace the door, make sure it looks new by giving it a power wash or a fresh lick of paint. Even a new doorknob, house number or name sign can help.
Try to make your front door look smarter than your neighbours’.
Makeover the kitchen
Kitchens are often the focus for many buyers, so it may be the first thing they look to replace if they can’t imagine living in yours. It’s no surprise that 65% of homeowners have renovated their kitchens before selling up. You may not be able to afford a whole new kitchen, but there are many smaller ways to improve what you already have.
For a relatively small budget painting units or replacing cupboard handles or doors are a cheaper way of refreshing kitchens. Good lighting and clutter-free, clean surfaces will make a big difference to the feel of the house
Buyers may be willing to pay more to save themselves the hassle of buying a new kitchen.
Adding or updating a bathroom
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. 29% of homes sold in 2019 had a new bathroom fitted, so a full update might be the key to selling fast and earning more.
An attractive, tidy, well-designed garden can add a great deal of value to a property. It is essential to trim borders, clear pathways and cut back any overgrown trees or bushes.
The garden should feel like an extra space for entertaining or relaxing, rather than an expanse of grass. An area of decking gives buyers a sense of having a bigger usable living space and 3% of homes sold in 2019 were even found to have had a summer garden, giving owners more space to relax and entertain in sunnier weather.
Mark Hayward NAEA Propertymark says – ‘Your house will almost certainly be more attractive to buyers with some general sprucing up and cleaning, and improvements that create a sense of space, privacy and give a great first impression will increase saleability. If you’re making improvements to add value to your home, it’s important to not over-personalise the décor so it appeals to future buyers, and will allow them to adapt the property to fit their own needs.
‘If you’re looking to sell your home soon and need advice on how to maximise saleability, then a Propertymark Protected agent will be able to guide you through the process, and help ensure your property ticks all the right boxes for potential buyers.’
Double glaze the windows
Noisy roads can impact the value of a property. Double glazing will keep the home warm and keep the noise out, even if it’s near a main road.
Opening up space
Opening up living space is becoming more and more popular, particularly for the kitchen and dining room. Combining the two into one large room creates a sociable space, great for the whole family to enjoy. Remember the practicalities with this though, as many consumers still like the ‘front room philosophy’ that can be used for special occasions or to be used for privacy by the adults.
Look smart and be energy efficient
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. Only 2% of homes sold in 2019 had smart technology installed, so by being ahead of the game, you’ll be offering a unique selling-point and future-proofing for any potential buyers.
Create a driveway
In some areas of the country, the ability to park close to your front door comes at a huge premium and therefore, if you have the room to add off-street parking, you are sure to increase value.
Big projects could include a loft conversion, adding a conservatory, converting a garage or installing a whole new kitchen or bathroom. In fact, 22% of homes sold in 2019 had an extension added; increasing a property’s value and making them more appealing to buyers.
A 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.
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.
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?
*Credit Propertymark, see the original article on their website here