The home improvement industry in Britain has never been bigger. As a nation we spend hours online taking virtual tours around the most luxurious of homes and pondering how we can emulate them on our budget. With what can only be described as a national shortage of homes in the UK and house prices continually on the rise, many people feel the sensible option is to stay put. You can’t blame people for doing so – a lot of people simply can’t afford to move up the ladder, so are instead opting to extend. This is very common in London and the south east where prices are much higher – the average flat in London is £534,092, with the average in the south east coming in at £331,834.
However if you do decide to extend, it’s not just about creating a blank canvas for viewer, it’s about finding the perfect balance between what will make you happy and what the buyers want. All of this means that there are dos and don’ts. Some changes will add value to your property while others could decrease it in value.
Therefore, it always helps to have a clear plan in mind. This may sound obvious, but along with adding value to your home you actually want to improve the quality of your family life, otherwise what’s the point? We’ve mentioned this before, but remember the importance of the kitchen and bathrooms here, these always add value to any home.
Here are five tips to help you along your way:
Don’t over spend!
Regardless of what you do to your house, it needs to have good colour coordination. It’s also no good having one part of your house super modern and luxurious if the rest of it is shabby. A whole overhaul of your house may take a couple of years and you may spend most of that cursing the strangers in your house and feeling like you have no privacy; but in the long run it will be worth it, since when you’ve finished your house will be contemporary and stylish. This will mean that buyers will want to snap it up because if there is very little to do to a property in their minds they know exactly what they are paying for. No one wants to spend £500,000 on a property if they have to make £50,000 worth of improvements. Before you make any commitments, take a look around your local area. See what the average property price is and go from there. The reason being that there is no point spending a fortune if you are not going to really gain much. If properties in your area sit between the £300,000 and £400,000 mark, don’t expect to get much more than that, no matter what you spend. Your real aim should be to bring your house up to the top end of the market in your area.
When remodelling, most people start with the kitchen, and this is a good starting point. The kitchen is where all the major things in life happen (but also all the best parties) so having a super slick kitchen with amazing appliances can only boost your quality of life as a family. However, don’t go overboard. If you are planning to sell up in the next couple of years there is no point finding £20,000 for a kitchen that in the end someone else is going to enjoy. You should also be considering what the top end in terms of sales are in your area. Again, no matter how deluxe your kitchen is, people just won’t pay over the odds. To find a good deal you only need to spend 20 minutes on google to get an idea of the value of your home. The internet means that we don’t have to wait until Boxing Day or for items to go out of season or to get a good deal, we can simply log on and browse to our heart’s content. It’s advisable to consider paying somewhere in the region of £3-5000 for a medium size kitchen – but again, it depends how long you’re planning to live in your property.
A beautiful bathroom will always add value to your home, but having two will boost it even more. This doesn’t mean that you have to go for a costly extension, more that you simply make the most of the space you already have. Perhaps you have a small spare room that is the family junk yard or an office space that isn’t really being used. Turning a room like this into a shower room or second bathroom will earn you serious brownie points with buyers. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but does require planning. Without serious thought as to the cost and inconvenience, you can find these projects going way over budget. More often than not, these projects do go over budget, but if they are ill thought out, the costs can really spiral out of control. To keep the variables to a minimum it’s best to hire professionals – sounds obvious right?
However, many people make the mistake of asking a friend ‘in the business’ to help them out. Don’t. Your renovation could take longer and cost more since your ‘friend’ is doing it at mates rates so therefore doing you a favour. Make sure you get professionals on board – here are some great tips on how to select a building firm.
If you have a garden you should think of it as an extra room. Keeping it trim and tidy is going to keep buyers interested. Try to view it like the kitchen, it’s a place where family and friends congregate in the summer so including certain features can only add to its appeal. First, consider a water feature such as a pond with running water, this can make the garden feel tranquil and peaceful. Second, include a seating area. Perhaps add some decking or stone paving to help emphasise the possibilities of this area. Should you choose to add decking, this doesn’t have to be overly expensive, but since it’s difficult to install do think about hiring a contractor to do the work. You should also consider that you would need specific tools to complete this job and they can be very expensive, particularly if you are only going to use them once and just leave them piled up in a shed.
Finally there are the basic updates; these are simply. First, keep all paint work fresh and up to date. This means particularly the wood work that usually works best if it’s white. Yellowing paint work can make a room look dull and tired. Repaint if necessary. As well as this, refresh the grouting in your bathroom as mould just makes a bathroom look dirty even if you regularly clean it. Keep your electrics up to code; make sure that all wiring is secure and safe. Anything that could be deemed unsafe, will seriously put buyers off. Again, this may seem obvious, but there is no substitute for a clean home, washed curtains and wiped-over surfaces. This is just routine maintenance, but it shows that the house has been cared for over time and that the occupants place value on the living space.