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Handy tips to improving the value of your home

You've already had the mammoth guide to improving the value, and now we've pulled together our ultimate top tips of easy ways to increase the value and saleability of your home.

1) Get painting

Painting is a cheap way to add value to your house, especially if the current paint job is tired, garish or too quirky, or if you have wallpaper. Some of the best places to start are the living room, the main bedrooms and the kitchen, and don’t forget the ceilings! However make sure you pick simpler colour schemes, and where possible use neutral colours. Anything dark is not advisable either, as this makes your living space appear much smaller than it is.  Paint your external walls, especially if they are looking faded or worn over time.

Making your house stand out as soon as the potential buyers get the first glimpse puts them in a positive frame of mind. 75% of the experts surveyed by HSBC suggested that this would make an impact. In contrast only 56% of homeowners felt that it would. This tells you how wide the gap is between what we think helps sell a house and what the experts experience suggests.

2) Tone down your aesthetic choices

Decorating and presenting well are key to improving a home’s saleability, however be careful of not overdoing it. Sometimes our personal preferences may not be to everyone’s taste; try and go for neutral, minimalistic themes where possible, highlighting the potential of the home, rather than drawing attention to your own art collection or “that” centrepiece you love.

3) Love your garden

It is important to keep the garden well-maintained, and depending on your target audience, easy to manage. Expensive and high maintenance features such as spas, hot tubs and water features may not drive the price up, and may actually make it difficult to sell the property. Specifically consider cleaning and repainting outdoor plant containers such as pots. Shape up unappealing or overgrown trees and shrubs. If necessary, spend a little time weeding. We don’t think that a full landscaping of your garden is necessary, but a few touches go a long way towards improving a property’s perceived value.

4) Evaluate fences and gates

Repairing, repainting and basically improving the appearance of both your gates and fences may help improve your properties value. In fact, the HSBC survey recorded that 64% of the specialists surveyed felt that this would help. The WoodWorkersUK blog has a good guide on how to get started.

5) Make good use of unused spaces

Although we advise against using “loud” decorative items when presenting your home, simple, understated statement pieces are a great way to bring attention positively to unused spaces you haven’t had the chance, time or money to improve on. For example, turn an unused fireplace into a mini bookshelf, or stack with natural logs to give the room some modern “chic”.

6) Use the mirror trick

Narrow hallways are fairly common in the UK, and so are tiny third bedrooms. Well placed decorative mirrors give the appearance of a space being much larger than it really is. This trick can be used in any small rooms in the house, however be careful not to overuse it.

7) Clean up 

Appearance is everything, and a clean appearance is much more appealing. Day to day we may not notice outside drains with mould, or taps with grime, cobwebs in hard to reach corners, dusty bookshelves, stains on bathroom walls, dull floors etc.. However, potential buyers may notice all these tiny details and may be put off. Get the house as spick and span as you can.  

8) Present your furniture well 

When a potential buyer walks into your home, they want to picture themselves living there. While we don’t suggest going out and buying new furniture, make sure what you have is clean, tidy and well looked after. Stains on the sofa may distract them, so would odd bits of furniture taking up space when not necessary. Stow away pieces that take up too much space and try arranging your furniture to maximise layouts. These days, show homes use professionals to maximise the outlook of a home - visit a few yourself to get an idea of how you could rearrange your furniture to give a pleasant, yet cheap upgrade to the way your home is presented.

9) Clean cookers and other appliances, preferably professionally 

There is nothing more off-putting to potential buyers than dirty appliances. The kitchen tends to be the hub of any home – and if the viewing includes a dirty kitchen or damaged appliances (think of scarred hobs, leaking fridges etc.) then you may be losing a potential buyer. Get the cleaning gear out or hire a professional and get the kitchen and appliances gleaming.

10) Consider decking

If you don’t have the money to build a conservatory, you can still add to the house by adding decent decking. Experts suggest that you could add up to 2% to the value of a home by adding well-thought-out decking.

11) Get energy efficient 

With heating costs and energy bills going up each year, it is advisable to consider going energy efficient.  The Energy Saving Trust has a few tips on how to get started. Not only will you reduce your cost of living, you will add value to your home for your potential buyers. In fact, the Department of Energy and Climate Change released a study showing that improving a home’s Energy Performance Certificate (known as an EPC) may boost house prices by up to 14%.

12) Upgrade storage areas 

If you have tiny pantries with a lot of unused wall space, consider putting up shelves to maximise the space. Small built in wardrobes could go a long way with simple IKEA-type wardrobe upgrades that enable better organisation of clothes. Storage comes at a premium for families, and the more you do to maximise that space, the better your property would be perceived.

13) Give your bathroom a makeover
If you can’t afford a brand new fitted bathroom, consider making smaller, lower cost upgrades that would improve their presentation. For example, replace shower curtains with a shower door, replace worn tiles, consider chrome heated towel rails to replace radiators, and upgrade the ventilation, or at the least clean it. The Channel 4 website has some more information on presenting your bathroom for sale. Or check out ideas from theBathrooms.com blog.

14) Fix broken stuff
Maintenance is very important for a house sale. Leaking taps, broken window handles and nail damaged walls are all turn offs, and if left long enough could become larger jobs than necessary. We have highlighted earlier about improving the front appearance of your home; missing shingles and roof tiles should be added to the list of things to sort out. Fix cement cracks in pavements and your driveways.

15) Improve the front of the house

The first thing a potential buyer looks at is the house from the outside. If your home doesn’t look appealing from the outside, you may be turning them off even before they set foot inside. First appearances matter – weed the front garden, paint the exterior walls, remove any mould or moss on the walls, varnish or repaint the front door (63% professionals surveyed say that this helps), fix the gates (64% of experts surveyed say that fixing front gates matter), de-clutter the front driveway, clean the windows from outside. Basically make sure the front of your house looks as presentable as possible. It is important to note however, if you do make changes, that they suit your houses current style, for example, make sure that you don’t replace the front door with one that doesn’t match.

We hope you find this tips useful. Don’t forget, when selling your home it is important to use a Conveyancing lawyer. Contact us for more information or visit our online conveyancing quote calculator for an estimate of our costs.

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