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How to Add Value to Your Home

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By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Jan 28, 2020

When it comes to our homes, we all have preferences; from the wall colour to whether to carpet or use laminate. However, there are certain aspects that no matter what the preference an estate agent can add a price tag on which will add value to your home. It would be nice to think that after the rigmarole of getting a mortgage, estate agent fees and moving stress you’d be in that property forever, but for various reasons this isn’t usually the case. So, when it comes to getting ready to move just what can add value to your home?

Beginning with the obvious, the first thing people will see when the come to view your property is the outside and the ‘kerb appeal’. You should start with the basics: 

  • Does your wall or fence need repairs or painting?
  • Do your windows need replacing, very few potential buyers will even consider a home without double glazing.
  • Is the cladding cracked and broken? Do your pipes need a clean?
Next is the fairly easy stuff, the aesthetics. 
  • Does the house need a lick of paint?
  • How does the door look, does it need replacing or sanding and painting? Also is there a number on the door?
Then the front garden:
  • Does the grass need cutting? 
  • Could you add some nice potted plants or flowers? Bearing in mind if you are too busy to water them don’t bother, dead flowers and plants are worse than none at all!

Improving the outside of your home can add up to 10% of value.

Consider converting an extra bedroom can add up to 15 per cent to the value of your home, especially if it’s a loft conversion with an en-suite bathroom. Most lofts can be converted, but it’s worth getting an architect or builder to double check before you start. Alternatively, transforming an existing cellar into a living or storage space can boost a property’s value by up to 30 per cent – so long as the build cost per square foot is less than the price per square foot of the area. In fact, converting your cellar can be one of the least complex home improvements to make as it qualifies as a ‘change of use’ for planning purposes – which means you don’t need planning permission. If you’re making structural changes to a listed building, however, you’ll need to talk to your local planning officer.

Lastly you could convert your garage If your garage isn’t being used to house a car, it could make sense to convert it into a living space – especially if you have parking space outside. Your first step should be to check that your garage is suitable for conversion and whether you need planning permission. In many cases, the work involved in converting a garage will be classed as permitted development, so you won’t need planning permission, but always check with your local planning authority. Converting your garage could add a potential 15% onto the value of you home. 

Speaking of space ensure you maximise your storage, you can get pretty inventive here. Make use of every bit of spare space you can find, look for

  • concealed nooks in corridors
  • dead space either side of chimney breasts or at the end of corridors
  • space in the eaves
  • understairs space
  • space beneath the bath tub or alongside cisterns
  • space above sinks
  • unused wallspace for wall mounted cupboards

There’s a reason we always end up in the kitchen at parties, an attractive, clean and sociable kitchen is essential both to buyers and valuation surveyors. 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. You can smarten up your kitchen fairly easily by replacing the cupboard doors or fitting a new worktop and re-painting. All of which can be done separately and fitted by yourself saving more money.   

Update your back garden /or balcony, if you’re lucky enough to have a back garden then you should make it look appealing as it will make an attractive feature to potential buyers. 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. If you are limited on this space but have a balcony area make the effort to make this an additional appealing space to relax in; fairy lights, potted plants, chairs and don’t forget to give the floor a scrub. 

Now the serious stuff, unfortunately there are some jobs that require a fair bit more effort than getting your paintbrush and dungarees out. Updating services, such as wiring and plumbing, is a disruptive job and will involve lifting floors and chasing out plaster walls, so it’s essential to complete the work before making any cosmetic improvements when looking at ways to add value to your home. 

  • Updating the electrics may be essential if the house has not been rewired for some years. You should be able to tell by looking by the meter if there is an old fuse box, you probably need to rewire the house and install a modern consumer unit with a RCD (residual circuit device) for safety.
  • Adding extra sockets will also add value to your home and in some cases it might be worth opting for attractive face plates for sockets and switches.
  • If rewiring, use the opportunity to update lighting and to add extractor fans in the bathrooms.
  • Old pipework can get very furred up, leading to poor hot and cold flow, knocking or rattling sounds and other noises at worst, it can lead to burst pipes. Consider a pressurised plumbing system, rather than gravity fed, as it eliminates the need for a header tank, thus freeing up space, and ensures good pressure on both the hot and cold supplies.
  • If you have room for a cylinder, you can still have stored hot water for filling a bath quickly. If not, consider a combination boiler that provides hot water on demand but make sure you choose one with a good flow rate you need at least 10 litres a minute for a decent power shower.
Adding or updating the central heating system will always add more to the value of a property than it costs and should to be done in conjunction with improving the general energy efficiency of the building. Improving the efficiency will include:
  • sealing any drafts around doors and windows (but not airbricks).
  • replacing windows that are beyond repair with double glazing.
  • adding insulation into the loft space.

If the existing boiler is in reasonable working order and has adequate output for the heat requirement of the building, always try to make use of it with the exception of boilers that draw their air intake from inside the house. If the boiler has sufficient capacity, you could add new radiators and a heated towel rail, or underfloor heating to the existing system.

Damp and mould – do not paint over the problem! Damp and mould are much more serious than an unsightly stain on your walls or ceiling. Damp and mould can play havoc on some-ones health especially infants, the elderly and those who suffer with asthma. A damp issue might affect the sale price of your property. But there are various types of damp problems and some can be treated at very low cost. For example, the type of damp caused by condensation will be surface mould and easy to treat, it’s very common in bathrooms and might simply be due to excessive water vapour. With some household cleaning equipment and the installation of an extractor fan the issue might be fully resolved within a week or so. More serious types of damp, like rising damp, lateral damp or penetrating damp will require the services of a professional. The severity of the damp problem will determine the cost of treatment.

With very few exceptions a property being purchased with a mortgage will require a survey. When the survey identifies damp issues the mortgage lender will more often than not require further investigation from a specialist surveyor. Some lenders will take into account the cost of work outlined in the surveyor’s report and offer a mortgage subject to a retention. A retention is where a mortgage lender withholds a proportion of a mortgage until the buyer has completed certain works on the property. As long as the buyer doesn’t reduce their offer, this is a good outcome for the seller.

There can be cases where damp issues are so serious that mortgage companies won’t lend, full stop. In these cases, the seller will either need to carry out the work themselves or sell to a cash buyer. For a sale to a cash buyer there will be a discount, sellers should expect a 10% to 20% discount on market value, plus a discount for the cost of work.

Never paint over the problem. It’s now a legal requirement to declare any problems (in the seller’s property information questionnaire). 

We have a ventilation solution to suit whichever problem your property is suffering with from condensation to mould, check out our recommendations here.