Whether your house is on the market now and you’re looking to make it more attractive to potential buyers or you want to enjoy the fruits of your labour for a few years before moving on, it's important to choose home improvements which will add value to your home.
So before you take out a home improvements loan, take a look at these top tips from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
Make the changes visible
The golden rule for maximising the return on investment on any changes to your property is to spend your cash on improvements that can be seen.
"Unless you're selling to a surveyor, money spent on improving the plumbing system or tidying up the wiring is unlikely to 'wow' your potential buyer," said Jan Hÿtch, President of the NAEA. "Of course if these works are essential for the safety of the property, then they must be done. But if you have a choice, make as much of a visual impact on the property's 'lifestyle factors' as your budget will afford."
Adding an extra room, especially an extra bedroom, has the potential to add around 10% to the value of your home, according to the NAEA. You can do this without altering the footprint of the property by converting the loft into a spare bedroom or study area.
Ms Hÿtch suggests that making better use of existing space by ‘opening up’ rooms into larger open plan living spaces rather than the traditional lounge/dining/kitchen is also a great way of drawing purchaser interest to your property.
Kitchens and bathrooms
Medium scale improvements such as re-fitting a tired kitchen or bathroom can add value to your home and mean it spends less time on the market.
The NAEA recommends doing some research online and looking at the interior pictures of other houses like yours in your area, particularly the ones which are ‘under offer’ and seeing what other people are choosing.
“The kitchen can be the heart of a home, and where family and friends congregate. Get this right and – particularly in a street of the same style of house or flat - some people will make the decision to buy the kitchen first and the actual property second!” Ms Hÿtch said.
A new bathroom suite can cost less than £1,000 but can be a real deal-breaker for potential buyers.
Tick all the boxes
Things such as double-glazing, central heating and off-road parking are taken for granted these days, but if your property doesn’t have them, it’s definitely worth adding them, according to the NAEA.
“These are high priority ‘tick box’ items for most buyers, and will still add value and differentiate your property from others without these benefits,” said Ms Hÿtch.
If you don’t want to spend too much, but still want to add value to your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers, there are a few things you can do.
According to the NAEA, a fresh coat of paint, some new floor coverings and curtains can go a long way. It’s also important to tackle little nagging DIY jobs you’ve been putting off for years as if a house looks a bit unloved it can make buyers suspicious that there are other more serious issues hiding.
Before you get started...
Regardless of what home improvements you are looking to make, the NAEA has a few tips before you get started.
- Seek planning permission advice before starting any structural alterations.
- Check with a NAEA qualified estate agent to make sure that your proposed plan will actually add value. Ask for a ‘before’ and ‘after’ market appraisal to check that your money will be well spent.
- Get recommendations for the best local tradesmen to carry out any work. A professional finish is essential to inspire confidence that all your hard earned cash was worth the investment.
- The planning portal gives you easy to use planning and building guides for most of the projects you’ll have in mind, from installing solar panels, to loft conversions and extentions. And you can also try out their interactive house to get a quick overview of what you can do.
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