When you’re planning to sell your house, but you’re also aiming to add some value to it, you need to consider several things. We’re not talking about renovating or changing the whole furniture or electrical appliances. We’re talking about the many and less apparent changes you need to do to achieve that fast house sale already.
Even if you’re not going to sell the house any time, you should understand that some specific improvements are going to add value to your home. It’s only going to provide the best return when you’re selling later on.
A majority of first-time buyers follow a fixed home buying guide. Knowing what they look for in their prospective home can help you strike the right chords. Without any further ado, let’s see what the most important things you can do for adding some value to your house are:
- 1 1. Identify and solve the structural problems
- 2 2. Address the superficial defects
- 3 3. Install new windows
- 4 4. Update the services
- 5 5. Make sure that the central heating runs ok
- 6 6. Convert your loft-if you have one
- 7 7. Improve/add to your current accommodation
- 8 8. Remodel the existing space and add only afterward
- 9 9. Give your kitchen a makeover
- 10 10. Do the same with the bathrooms
- 11 11. Add bathrooms/shower rooms
- 12 12. Pay attention to the garden as well
- 13 13. Add a conservatory
- 14 14. Improve the looks of the curb
- 15 15. Increase the storage space
- 16 16. Create off-street parking
- 17 17. Restore/improve the building’s character
- 18 18. Add an impressive feature
- 19 19. Buy more land, apply for planning and don’t forget to renew leases
- 20 20. Make your property the top of the line
- 21 One last piece of advice
1. Identify and solve the structural problems
It’s essential that you address any major fundamental problem before going over the cosmetic improvements/repairs of your home (changing the flooring, improving your kitchen, redecorating the whole house and whatnot).
Here are some structural problems you need to address:
- Rising damp
- A sagging/leaking roof
- Rotten joists or roof timbers
- Structural cracks to the wall
- A collapsed floor/slab
- Insect infection
- Bowing Walls
- Missing/broken roof tiles
- Poor stability on the chimney stack
You don’t know to make the difference between cosmetic faults and structural defects? Don’t hesitate to talk to a builder, structural engineer, or surveyor.
2. Address the superficial defects
Small and shallow defects aren’t going to lower the value of your property. However, they may impact the selling at the best price.
Here are some common flaws that may throw some potential buyers off, but are rather easy to solve by any medium-level DIYer:
- Defective door latches
- Peeling paint
- Sewer smells
- Loose Tiles
- Moldy sealants in bathroom and kitchen
- Squeaking windows and doors
- Broken/damaged windows
- Lifting flooring
- Cracks to plasterwork or ceilings
- Squeaky floors and stairs.
More often than not, replacing them isn’t going to be necessary. However, you want to take care of the floors to making better selling.
3. Install new windows
Most buyers think that double-glazing is fundamental, so installing them is going to increase the value of your home.
The double-glazing meets the current building regulations (only some specific buildings don’t apply to this regulation).
Here are some things you should remember about the replacement windows:
- They should have the right balance and equal sightlines
- They have to be taller than they are full. The 1:1.6 for each casement and light is the ideal ratio
Timber windows may also require low maintenance, and you can check the stained hardwood or timber coated with an external layer of PVC, aluminum or vinyl.
4. Update the services
Wiring, plumbing are only a few of the facilities you should update. It’s quite a challenging job that is going to include plenty of lifting floors and chasing out plaster walls. You need to finish the job before addressing cosmetic improvements.
Here’s what you can do in terms of plumbing:
- Do you have the space for a cylinder? You may use it for storing some hot water from time to time. If not, you can use a combination boiler that gives hot water on demand, with an effective flow rate.
- Old pipework can become furred up. It causes cold flow, poor hot, rattling sounds, knocking, and other various noises. It can also lead to burst pipes. You should switch for a pressurized plumbing system and not gravity fed. You’re not going to need a header tank anymore, and you’re going to have more space. It’s also providing good pressure for both cold and hot supplies.
As for electricity, here are some suggestions:
- When you’re re-wiring, you should update lighting as well. Adding some extractor fans and modern lighting in the bathroom can give a luxurious feel.
- Updating the electrics may be fundamental, especially if you haven’t done it in a while. You may have to install a modern consumer unit featuring an RCD (Residual circuit device) for your safety.
- Add some sockets for increasing the value of your home. A couple of attractive faceplates for the switches and outlets makes a great impression every time.
5. Make sure that the central heating runs ok
Adding or updating the central heating system is going to increase the value of your home. You need to do it wisely, as the energy-efficient homes are always selling better.
Here are some ways to improve efficiency:
- Add insulation into the loft space
- Seal the drafts around doors and windows
- Replace the windows that you cannot fix anymore
If your current boiler is somewhat ok and presents the right output for the heat requirement of your house, merely keep it in good shape. You should worry when the boiler draws the air intake from inside the house.
You should also think about adding a heated towel rail and new radiators. Underfloor heating can make an excellent impression on potential buyers too.
6. Convert your loft-if you have one
A regular loft conversion is less expensive than an extension. If you’re thinking about increasing the value of your house, you should make this type of investment. The improvement of space offers even more accommodation. Remember that you have to create space for a whole staircase.
Rooflights or dormer windows are going to invite the natural light into your home. Most of the time, you don’t even need the planning permission for a loft conversion. You’re using the existing volume. However, you may need some planning if the dormer windows face a highway.
7. Improve/add to your current accommodation
Many buyers appreciate a high number of bedrooms in a house. Therefore, adding bedrooms is going to add value to your property.
You may create some extra bedrooms by dividing up the current space, removing or adding walls. You may also convert the roof space or extending it. Re-Using the space you have is the most affordable solution. However, you can only do it in houses with large bedrooms.
It’s also essential that you maintain a balance between bedrooms and the numbers of bathrooms (1 to 3 is the minimum ratio).
8. Remodel the existing space and add only afterward
You shouldn’t think about adding new space until you’ve improved the current scope the best way possible. You can add value to your property by educating the public space (living room, the kitchen, and the living areas). Here are some recommendations:
- You can combine the kitchen and the dining room for creating a dining kitchen or other multi-functional living spaces
- Start by drawing the floorplan of the current layout. Play a bit by adding/removing walls to see what works best.
- Your house may look more substantial with fewer and larger rooms (with some nice sightlines). You get an impressive impact if the flooring and the wall finishes continue throughout
- You can get the best out of the circulation space (halls and corridors) that don’t work that well in a house with a less formal lifestyle.
The first step to take when planning to remove any walls is to see which are the structural ones. Take a look at the direction of the floor joists (they always have to rest on structural walls). You may remove structural walls, but you need to replace them with some steelwork. A building surveyor or a structural engineer is going to have to run some calculations. Adding new stud walls for dividing the current space is less expensive than one may think. Just keep in mind to add acoustic insulation as well.
9. Give your kitchen a makeover
An appealing and hygienic-looking kitchen is fundamental for both valuation surveyors and potential buyers. Don’t go starting replacing the whole kitchen. Be meticulous and check the shape and position, deciding if you’re going to make any structural changes to space or not. Do you want to relocate it?
You don’t need to empty your pockets for giving your kitchen a fresh new look.
10. Do the same with the bathrooms
Not only that the bathrooms have to be hygienic and fresh, but they also are an opportunity for adding a touch of luxury. That touch can bring in that wow-factor that you’re aiming to achieve for your home.
The paint on the walls should be a pleasant neutral light shade, and the light has to be good. If there’s not enough light, you may go with different and more effective lighting.
Here are some other things to do in the bathroom:
- Improve the ventilation and add another fan
- At least one of your bathrooms should have a shower
- The flooring has to be hygienic and clean. Tiles floor tiles or vinyl work great
- Take a look at the plumbing system. Buy the right unit according to your needs. New houses need a central pressure system; a gravity-fed system (a power shower can work) or a combi system (when the flow rate is reduced, an electric shower that heats its water right from the mains is a wise investment to make).
- Add a couple of mirrors for making space look larger and brighter. Add a heated towel rail too
- When the current sanitary is badly stained, unfashionably colored (avocado, peach, pink, chocolate brown are no longer modern) or chipped, you should replace it altogether. A basic white bathroom suite with waste and taps is less expensive than you think. And it gives a nice feel in the bathroom too.
- Pain the tiles with white paint. Should you need to replace the tiles, you may also tile over the old ones. Removing old tiles is time-consuming and challenging.
- Underfloor heating is a great addition, especially if you’re laying new floor tiles. An electric mat system is going to raise the floor by 0.18in (give or take), so keep that in mind while doing it.
11. Add bathrooms/shower rooms
Adding bathrooms/shower rooms is a wise investment most of the time, especially if it’s going to give an en suite to the master bedroom.
You may remodel the existing space or extending it. You want to have WC facilities on each floor that has a bedroom. For instance, if you’re upgrading the attic, you should also include a WC, if not an entire bathroom.
A two-story Victorian terraced house can benefit when moving the downstairs bathroom upstairs. Just make sure that you don’t lose the bedroom while doing it.
12. Pay attention to the garden as well
Having your garden pleasant and well designed isn’t enough. It also has to be clean and organized as potential buyers are going to find it a lot more attractive like this.
Here are some things to address for adding some value to your garden:
- You may add more fences and even mature trees
- Privacy is fundamental, and it’s always going to increase the value of your home
- Your structures in the garden (pergolas, for instance) shouldn’t be higher than 12ft
- Check the rules for boundary fences before installing them
- Make sure that you create specific areas for seating, eating, storage, work area, lawn
- An organized deck gives a potential buyer the impression of a more significant amount of living space. And it makes your home value more.
Along with the things you need to address for adding more value, go over the following ones as well:
- Repair and feed the lawn
- Clean up and remove the dead plants and the weed
- Add some color with planting
- Lose the overgrown trees and shrubs
13. Add a conservatory
Now that we’re in this area, please note that a greenhouse is going to add substantial value to a property. However, it has to be designed, build, and included in the layout of your house too.
The conservatory may be a tricky investment as a poorly designed one may throw off the buyers.
Most of the time, you shouldn’t need planning permission for a conservatory. You should do due diligence and get a basic kit conservatory that is going to attract the buyers, not make them run away.
14. Improve the looks of the curb
No matter what they say, the first impression does count, and the curb can make a buyer stay/run away. Many buyers are going to make the first impression even before stepping into your home. And once they have a terrible first impression, it’s going to be difficult for you to turn it into a good one.
Here are some things you need to address:
- Make sure that the entrance door looks impeccable
- Repoint the brickwork
- Replace the old garage door
- Change/repair windows
- Add climbing plants/trellis
- Remove stone cladding
- Repaint the walls
- Repair cracked/broken coating
- Replace/add the house sign/number
Don’t rule out the option of a large scale makeover, able to change the appearance of your house for the better. It may include wall cladding, replacing roofs, chimneys, porches, and more. You may turn an existing space (your garage or the ceiling) into something more useful or interesting.
Keep in mind that a large scale makeover requires planning permission.
15. Increase the storage space
Storage can seal the deal or throw off the buyers. You should take advantage of every small spare area on your property. Build more shelves or fit doors for creating some cupboards.
Here’s where you need to look for more storage space:
- Space in the cellar/attic that you can upgrade
- Area above sinks
- Space in the eaves
- Concealed nooks in the corridors
- Unused wall space for mounting wall cupboards
- Space beneath the bathtub
- Understair space
- Dead space at the end of passages/side of the chimney
When you take a good look at the layout of your home, you may identify weird areas concealed behind plasterboards that you have no idea about.
16. Create off-street parking
You should create one/two parking spaces alongside/in front of your property for increasing its value. You should do it even if you’re cutting off some part of your front garden.
Many buyers appreciate a low-maintenance and well-designed drive, mainly when they barely use the garden.
You may not need planning permission for creating new vehicular access onto your property. However, you should follow the local authority Highway regulations for construction on the drop curb or other details.
You also need to see if you have the right of way to crows over any land that isn’t yours.
17. Restore/improve the building’s character
Sometimes you need to remove some things to increase the value of your house:
- Internal stone cladding
- Polystyrene ceiling tiles
- Textured walls/ceilings
- Poorly laid laminate flooring
- Plastic fake beams
- Windows that are out of keeping
- Flush doors
- Conservatory with polycarbonate roof
- Mismatched period details
- Pine cladding
- Porches that don’t match
Merely removing the items isn’t going to be enough. You should also continue by replacing/restoring the following:
- Polished floorboards
- Original/period style fireplaces
- Stair railing and handrails
- Polished floorboards
- Knot-free paneled doors
- Proper style windows
- Concealed timber beams/beams placed behind masses of black paint
Fundamentally, you learn about your house’s origins and the way it was built. You want to continue the style, for creating a fluid appearance.
18. Add an impressive feature
One or two remarkable features that are going to make your property stand out from the other properties in the area are going to help with the selling of your house.
It doesn’t have to be an expensive or over-the-top feature. Sometimes, even the simple, yet important features, can work. You need to operate according to the style of your house and to consider the scale and the period as well.
19. Buy more land, apply for planning and don’t forget to renew leases
Any property with the diminished lease is going to become less valuable after it gets under 60 years. When the contract gets below 30 years, it’s going to be challenging to obtain a mortgage. There are ways to restore the value to a similar freehold property. You should get control of the freehold for more control of ground rent and service charges, but also the management of common areas and repairs.
You should also consider adjoining land for increasing the value of a property for several reasons:
- It adds the possibility to keep horses (if it’s a rural property)
- It improves amenity (you may create a garden or off-street parking_
- You can increase the possibility of enlarging the property later on
You should obtain the planning consent for improvements (for extension or a new house in the garden) even if you’re not going to complete the work. Having the approval adds value to the property as it is.
20. Make your property the top of the line
Adding a bit of paint, decluttering or styling it may add 5-10% to the value of your property/
Valuers aren’t going to be able to put a number on the increase in cost only by considering the cosmetic improvements. However, the buyers are always going to appreciate a property that looks good a lot better.
We cannot stress enough about the importance of the following actions:
- Reopen fireplaces
- Add wooden floors
- Upgrade the lightbulbs
- Clean the windows
- Repaint in neutral shades
- Create storage
- Run a makeover for the kitchen and bathrooms
- Strip woodwork
- Style with lamps, furniture, flowers, and accessories
- Sand floorboards
One last piece of advice
You shouldn’t forget about using the eco-friendly elements. More and more buyers are becoming more aware of the environment, so using eco-friendly aspects is going to increase the value of your property.
Turning your home into an energy-efficient property is essential. It’s going to save you a lot of money and add value to the house in the long run. Some sources consider that an eco-friendly home may even fetch up to 6% more than a regular one.
Adding insulation and fitting solar panel heating are only a few of the eco-friendly home improvements that you can make. They can make a big difference to your annual energy spendings.
As long as you’re being meticulous about it and don’t rule out any of our tips, you should be able to increase the value of your property more comfortable and faster than expected. You need to do it.