Your home is almost certainly the biggest investment you will make. And, while property prices may fluctuate, there are a number of ways you can protect that important investment by ensuring that you add value, whether you are planning to live in your home for years to come or whether you have plans to sell in the near future...
The heart of the home
The kitchen is often dubbed the heart of the home, and with good reason. It’s the place people gather at parties and where meals are created to feed family and friends. While kitchens in decades gone by were strictly utilitarian with the focus on dining and living rooms, the kitchen has now become a place for living and entertaining. If you’re going to improve one room, then make it the kitchen and create a real showpiece for your home. Just ensure that the price bracket of your kitchen units and appliances matches the price bracket of your home. Buyers looking at the top end of the property market will expect a high-end kitchen.
Moving on up
While space is at a premium in any city, you don’t have to move home to create more living accommodation in your property. A loft conversion can not only add value when the time comes to sell, but can totally transform the way your family lives. Whether you want to create a stunning master bedroom with its own ensuite, a space for your children to play, a guest room, or you have always dreamed of having space for your own billiards table, a loft conversion can provide the solution without taking up any outside space.
While the kitchen may be a home’s heart, the bathroom can be its haven; a place to unwind at the end of a stressful day. Create a modern, spa-type feel with wet rooms, glass panelling and tiling rather than outdated features such as shower curtains, to add a touch of luxury. Make sure at least one bathroom has a shower and, if you opt for a bath, think about choosing a show-stopping style and making this the focal point of the room.
Onwards and outwards
As with a loft conversion, an extension can give you additional living space without the need to face the upheaval of moving home. You could decide to create the open-plan kitchen and dining space of your dreams, also choosing to add an additional bedroom upstairs. Or you could use the extra area as an entertaining spot, or a playroom. Just make sure that your extension suits the footprint of your home and that your garden or outside space will still be appropriate for the size of your home.
Trying to create a home revamp with inferior products or workmanship could mean you end up spending money without anything to show for it. Your home may not increase in value or, even worse, it could actually lose value. Think about how much your home is worth, how much other properties in your area are selling for, and ensure that your furnishings, fixtures and fittings are a match for its value.
As with the kitchen and the bathroom, the master bedroom in particular can be the place to create a standout space. Do you have space to create an ensuite bathroom or a dressing area? Or could you add additional storage in the form of fitted wardrobes which can give everything from shoes to suits their very own space.
Nothing is more off-putting than stained carpets or rugs. If you’re hoping to sell, your buyer will not want to have to replace flooring as soon as they move in. Think about suitable flooring for each room. It goes without saying that carpet is a huge no-no in the bathroom or kitchen. Consider whether replacing old flooring with solid wood, for example, would transform the look of a room or property.
Light it up
Another aspect likely to prove unfavourable to a prospective buyer is a feeling that a property is dark and gloomy. This can be often be resolved simply by painting rooms a lighter colour, adding mirrors and changing dark-hued furniture for fabric in paler shades. Or for a more dramatic change, feature or recessed lighting could be installed along with extra windows or skylights.
It goes without saying that a property needs to be structurally sound in order to hold, or increase its value. Ensure that major repairs such as leaking roofs, rising damp or cracked walls are repaired. If you don’t, a surveyor will quickly pick up on any issues, which could lead to your buyer walking away, or trying to negotiate a reduction in your asking price. Carrying out ‘cosmetic’ structural work such as removing interior walls to create a large open-plan space could also not only create a better ‘flow’ in your home, but could also appeal to a family looking for a more modern way of living.
While it’s true that beauty is more than skin deep, prospective buyers will notice superficial defects such as chipped paintwork, mouldy bathroom sealants and sticking doors. While fixing them will not be an expensive project, it can make a world of difference for buyers who could otherwise have been put off by an air of overall neglect.
By taking the time to look at your home as a buyer would, you can pinpoint the areas where making small, or large, changes could lead to an improvement not just in the way you live, but to your home’s current and future value.