At long last, property prices are starting to rise all across the UK. In some areas the rise may be only as small as 5% whereas in others, it can be as great as 50% but the fact still remains, the prices are rising.
This means that more houses are coming on market and if you are considering selling yours, you need to take steps now in order to increase the value of the property and so reap the best possible return.
In this article, I am going to outline seven of the most popular ways in which you can add value to the house, yet the costs involved are minimal in relation to the added value that may be achieved.
Appearances are everything so if a property looks dilapidated both inside and out then you even suffer the inability to attract potential buyers to view the property. You need to make the property feel warm and inviting and it really is quite simple to create this effect.
This is the surest way to add a certain amount of value to your existing home. Have a look around at your neighbouring properties and see why they feel and look different to yours. What is it that makes their decor look superior to yours? As far as the exterior is concerned, a simple repainting using the existing colour scheme may be all that is needed to freshen up the appearance.
Moving inside, it is quite possible that your taste for decoration may be somewhat more exotic than the average buyer. If this is the case, strip off the existing wallpaper and paint over in light pastel shades so that it seems more presentable. Don’t forget to include the skirting boards and at the same time, make sure the carpets are clean and the whole house smells of freshness.
A little-known fact is that 85% of owner-occupied properties in England have at least one spare bedroom. Indeed some 49% are described as “under occupied” which means that the dwelling has two or more unused bedrooms. By way of contrast however, privately rented properties only have an under occupied rate of 15%!
A large proportion of properties within the UK have a loft that can be easily adapted into a spare bedroom. The room area does not have to be large since by definition, it is a spare room. However, the cost of such a conversion is minimal when you consider that an extra bedroom can add as much as 10% to the value of the property. Indeed if you are able to include a small bathroom or shower room to the same space, this will inevitably attract an added value of up to 20%.
The additional bedroom does not necessarily have to be a loft conversion. The circumstances may be that there is a garage that forms an integral part adjacent to the main property and so by constructing an extension on top of the garage, this could provide an adequate area for a spare bedroom complete with bathroom.
It is very common in older buildings to find that there are lots of small rooms as opposed to several big ones. For example a ground floor could consist of an entrance area, lounge, dining room, kitchen, pantry and cloakroom.
This conglomeration of rooms often results in a complete misuse of the space that may be available within the property. By this I mean, for example, that the dining room and lounge could be joined together, simply by the removal of a partition wall. One could go even further and remove any partitioning walls on the ground floor altogether, thus making the property completely open planned.
Now this may not be to everyone’s liking but the removal of even one partitioning wall can give the appearance of a larger space than was previously obvious. Open plan is all the rage in the modern house. Large kitchens with integrated dining areas seem to be more preferable to separate rooms.
Before you consider such drastic changes, you need to think carefully about what you hope to achieve and how you hope to achieve it. You would not be able to remove any load-bearing walls, since this could cause a major renovation cost that you do not really want to incur.
Plan carefully which walls you want to remove and how you propose to remove them.
This sort of work may seem expensive but in reality, as with most “alterations” the cost is small when compared to the added value that can be achieved.
There is no doubt that adding some form of extension to the property is one of the most popular forms of adding value to the property. But be careful, because any extensions can be expensive and the costs incurred may well exceed the added value achieved. So let’s look at some of the most obvious ways of extending the property.
Conservatory – now a conservatory attached either to the side or rear of the building is a nice idea but since the purpose of such an extension is to add value to the property, it is directly relevant to the size of the conservatory that is able to be built. A small conservatory in which it would be difficult to put a table and a couple of chairs, would really not be worth the cost involved. Furthermore, if you construct a larger conservatory, this could very well eat into the garden space and so leave the garden itself an unattractive feature of the overall property.
One point to consider with any conservatory is the fact that it is there to attract the heat of the sun’s rays. Make sure that any conservatory you plan is not in a continual shadow of the main building as this would defeat the object of the exercise.
Garage – there are still quite a few properties around that do not have a garage and if the space adjacent to the main building is available, then the construction of a simple garage can greatly increase the value of the property. You will remember that I have previously mentioned the possibility of turning the area above an existing garage into a spare bedroom. Well, if you are considering constructing an additional garage, you could extend this upwards to include a spare bedroom, particularly if the new garage would form an integral part of the main building.
Garage Extension – if you have an existing garage but at the same time have adequate parking facilities at the front of your property, it may well be that instead of building an extension, you could turn the garage into an additional ground floor room. This could be used as say an additional sitting room or what sometimes are referred to these days as a games room or entertainment room.
Virtually all properties these days have some form of central heating. However the older the property, the less likely it is that the standard of the central heating has been updated.
A 20+ year-old boiler is far less efficient than a current model. I personally know this fact because having changed my 22-year-old boiler for a new version, the cost of running the boiler has been halved, thus producing incredible savings over the past six months.
As well as replacing the boiler, a thorough flush out and internal cleaning of the pipe work will help improve heating efficiency. The same would apply to the replacing of inefficient radiators or control valves. If you are able to show to a potential purchaser the savings and increased efficiency of your new central heating system, this can help justify the asking price you are seeking for your property.
There are still some properties around that have yet to install double glazing. However there are also a number of properties whose double glazing is so old as to not only render it inefficient but also presents a security risk to the homeowner.
When double glazing was first introduced, the actual glazed panels were inserted to the frame from the outside in. This meant that the seal for each panel was fitted on the outside. Intruders are able to remove the seal and so remove the glazing panel and gain access to the property. The current method of installation has now been reversed and as a result, the security risk has now been removed.
Over a period of time, the insulation both on the PVC frame and the glazing panel itself, starts to deteriorate, thus allowing a draught of wind to permeate through the glazing and at the same time allow heat to escape from the building.
Before considering the replacement of double glazing, enquire with your local Authority as you may very well find grants are available to assist with replacement in the same way that grants are also available to update the central heating system.
In certain areas of the UK, parking is at a premium. All too often, the road in front of your property is a major thoroughfare and has the pleasure of being decorated with double yellow lines or bus lanes. In other areas, there is a severe shortage of properties with any form of parking on the land itself, be it a full garage or even a driveway.
One of the easiest ways to add value to the house is to make sure that a potential buyer has the ability to park their car on the property. Now it may very well be that you do not have enough space for a garage but instead, you have a small garden area either to the side of the property or, more likely, to the front. Do give serious consideration into changing this from a garden to a parking area as this can only add value to your property.
I cannot emphasise enough how crucial the appearance of a property relates to the perceived value of that property. A scruffy back garden or yard area, hedges and even a cluttered garage can make all the difference between achieving the asking price of the property or a being made reduced offer.
If you have a small paved area at the front entrance of your home, make sure that this is free of weeds and that the flagstones show no signs of moss or other degrading material.
Make sure that all external areas of the walls are properly and freshly painted and at the same time, ensure that the guttering is clear and water drains are unblocked.
Leave nothing to chance; if a drainpipe is loose or leaking, fix it! If a garage door is not working, fix it! If the boundary hedge looks unkempt and untidy, trim it! If a garage or small wooden shed are full of rubbish, clean them out and apply a fresh coat of paint or wood preserve on the woodwork.
I recently saw a TV programme where a gentleman had put his house on the market and in a period extending to 18 months had received two viewings and one offer, which was substantially below the asking price.
The presenter eventually convinced the house owner to remove all junk from the garage, repaint the exterior of the house, as well as all the rooms within the property. As a result, within a period of one month, some 10 people had viewed the property and a sale had been agreed at the original asking price the owner hoped to obtain.
This was 7 tips on how to increase the value of the property. I said at the outset of this article that all sellers want to get the best selling price they can for their property. It is easy to add value to the house and it does not take a lot of work. The rate of return in added value against the cost of the work is minimal but it has to be planned carefully to ensure that you reap the most benefits from the work.
If you are considering any alteration or extension to your building, don’t forget to check whether you will need planning permission before carrying out the work. It is also worthwhile checking to see whether your proposed extension will in fact be granted planning permission before making the application, since the application alone may cost anything upwards of £300.
Never forget that the simple act of repainting your property can increase and add value to the house way beyond your wildest dreams.