Whether you want to move or just to improve, doing some ‘homework’ could really pay off, says Vicky Shaw.
Spring is finally in the air and for some home owners, it’s time to start thinking about redecorating or even putting their property on the market, as the new selling season gets under way.
Across the UK, owners have spent a total of £41 billion doing up their homes over the past five years, according to estimates from NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) Propertymark.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) made improvements to their properties during this period, with redecorating, landscaping the garden, adding new flooring and refreshing the bathroom among the most popular home improvements, forking out an average £1,875 in the process.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, says: “There are many reasons why home owners are improving their property – whether it’s because they have realised the value and sale potential it can add, or they cannot afford to move and are looking to make the most of what they’ve already got. Your house will almost certainly be more attractive to buyers with some general sprucing up and cleaning, and improvements that create a sense of space, privacy and give a great first impression will increase saleability.”
A quarter (25%) of home owners thought improving their property would be a good investment and add value, the research found. But home improvements can be costly – and the potential to add value often depends on what’s happening in your local property market – so you’ll need to weigh up whether they are worthwhile.
Here are NAEA Propertymark’s top 10 home improvement tips:
1. Redecorate and make simple upgrades
Those who redecorated spent £889 typically, the survey found. Fresh paint can give a home a new lease of life. If you’re planning to sell, make sure any redecoration will still allow future buyers to adapt the property to their needs.
2. Makeover the kitchen
Kitchens are often the focus for buyers. Painting units or replacing cupboard handles or doors are a cheaper way of refreshing kitchens. The average cost of a kitchen overhaul is £5,016, the research found. But buyers may be willing to pay more for a home to save themselves the hassle of buying a new kitchen.
3. Add or update a bathroom
Re-grouting, eliminating limescale and replacing taps and shower screens can keep the bathroom fresh and clean. The average sum spent on bathroom upgrades was £2,719.
4. Garden appeal
The garden should feel like an extra space for entertaining or relaxing, so trim borders, clear pathways and cut back overgrown trees and bushes. Those who had improved their garden spent £794 on average.
5. Are the windows up to scratch?
Noisy roads can impact the value of a property. Double glazing will help keep the home warm and the noise out. The average amount spent on new windows was £2,719.
6. Does the layout of your home work?
An open living space can be attractive, particularly for the kitchen and dining room. Combining the two into one large room creates a sociable space. Remember the practicalities with this though, as many people still like the idea of separate rooms that can be used for special occasions or to give family members their own space.
7. Replace or spruce up tired-looking doors
First impressions count. The front door of your home can say a lot about the rest of the house to viewers seeing it for the first time. If you can’t afford to replace the door, make sure it looks its best by giving it a power wash or a fresh lick of paint. New doors set people back £906 on average, the research found.
8. Would a loft conversion solve space issues?
A loft conversion is a more expensive improvement – yet it can be a great option for adding space for growing families – and saving money if you’d otherwise need to move house.
9. Be energy efficient
Energy efficient appliances can attract buyers keen to save money on bills. Energy efficient products are increasingly becoming a key feature for new homes.
10. Consider creating a driveway
In some areas, the ability to park close to your front door comes at a huge premium – so if you have the room to add off-street parking, this could add appeal and value. Those who spruced up their driveway spent £1,873 on average.