UK house prices are on the rise as confidence in the market continues to grow. With a number of government housing schemes in the offing that are likely to stimulate the sector further, now could be a good time to prepare for a sale. If you’re considering a move you’ll need to be prepared to pay a higher price for your new property too – unless you move to a cheaper area or downsize.
So, what can you do to make sure you maximise your return on investment? Experts always recommend finishing up half done decorating jobs and tidying up odds and ends before putting property on the market but you may also want to consider making some larger improvements. This post looks at additions and modifications you can make to your home to attract buyers, changes that might put them off and talks you through creating a property maintenance plan that will ensure your home stays sale ready.
The best improvements to make
In a survey of 1,000 of their customers, home improvement loans company Zopa reveals that conservatories, garden improvements, work on the exteriors of homes and extensions are the five home improvements that are likely to add the most value to your home. Adding a conservatory is often seen as the easiest way to make your home bigger and it can go hand in hand with giving your garden the wow factor.
Keeping your lawn and hedge in check is a must but if you want to stand out you’ll need to think about adding desirables such as flower beds and al fresco dining areas. If you decide not to fit that conservatory after all, bi-fold doors make it easier to appreciate garden grooming. The Creativedoors’ range of bi-fold doors starts at £999, which is certainly a lot cheaper than your average conservatory.
Exterior work might not be the obvious improvement to make pre-sale but first impressions count and a shabby looking exterior could cause concern about the general upkeep of the building and thus shave a significant amount off the offers potential buyers might be willing to make. Ensure windows are clean, paint is fresh and broken roof tiles are replaced.
Improvements that could deter buyers
If you want to have some work done but are worried it might cost more money than the return or worse still, put buyers off completely, you might want to check out this recent survey from Barclays, which lists the most and least desirable improvements and features. While you’ll likely be on the money if you put in a designer kitchen, you should avoid stone cladding or pebble dashing the exterior of your home, putting artex on your ceilings or strip lighting or synthetic wood on your walls. Putting a carpet in the bathroom is also a big no-no.
And, if you’re thinking of adding a fresh lick of paint, Barclays has also come up with a list of shades to avoid, which unsurprisingly lists lime green as the number one colour crime, followed by purple, orange, red and yellow.
Your annual property maintenance strategy
If you’re not planning to move home any time soon but want to ensure your property stays in a selling state, you should aim to spend at least one per cent of the value of your home annually on maintenance and improvements. This will help you keep paint fresh, ensure your roof is free of broken tiles and will give you a budget to put towards that all-important designer kitchen too.
It can be hard to free up money to dedicate to this sort of maintenance, so build it into your monthly budget if you can. Take the one per cent figure and divide by 12 to see what your monthly saving should be ready for the next year’s upkeep. Don’t forget to increase your saving and spending as the value of your home increases in line with the local market. If it’s a little while since you bought your home, you can get a good estimate of the likely value of your property on sites like Zoopla, which estimates your property price based on recent sales in your area. Of course, if your home stands out for all the right reasons, you should find it will fetch the upper estimate or even surpass it.
Are you planning a move this year? Will you be improving before moving or do you avoid DIY at all costs? What’s the one thing you would most like to change or add to your home?
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