Improve your home for a move: Six essential tips to add value to your property before selling
- Some changes, such as installing an expensive modern kitchen, add less to price than they cost
- Double glazing, en suite bathrooms and woodburning stoves are among the most worthwhile projects
We are a nation of home improvers. But if you are hoping to add value to your property, there are pitfalls to avoid.
And when house prices in swathes of the country have risen for 14 consecutive months — and are 9.4per cent higher than a year ago, according to Nationwide — it pays to invest wisely if you want to see your home attract a good price.
Some changes, such as installing an expensive modern kitchen, add less than they cost to complete, while outlandish enhancements like installing a hot tub or swimming pool in the garden, run the risk of actually reducing a home’s value and its appeal.
Window of opportunity: South Collingham Manor in Newark has an orangery, and is priced at £1.3 million with Savills, savills.com
Here are some of the improvements that experts say are sure to reap rewards:
FIT DOUBLE GLAZING
Estate agents insist that new double-glazed windows or fitting secondary glazing inside existing windows will add value while making a home more ‘sellable’.
‘Buyers of period homes want wooden window frames.Don’t put plastic in or they’ll start discounting the price,’ says Alex Harvey, of Henry Adams estate agency in Sussex.
Also, plastic is not permitted in conservation areas.
‘We’ve sold an Edwardian terrace cottage for £40,000 more than predicted two years ago. All the owners did was replace single-glazed windows with wooden framed double-glazed windows costing £18,000,’ he says.
West Malling, Kent: This five-bedroom house has a redesigned garden with tidy lawns, seating, pond and gazebo. There’s an indoor pool, too. Fine & Country (01732 222272, fineandcountry.co.uk). £820,000
COST: Maximum £20,000.
ADDED VALUE: Up to 10 per cent of the value of a home.
A study involving 3,000 would-be buyers by website Rightmove shows that they avoid properties with sluggish broadband — these days dubbed ‘the fourth utility’ after electricity, gas and water.
Superfast broadband is delivered via cable or fibre-optics and means you can stream TV, music or data without delays, with all members of the family using it at once.
If you are in a poor reception area, fit satellite broadband — which means fitting a dish to the house.
‘Broadband has become ingrained in people’s lives and is a hugely important factor when choosing a home,’ says Rightmove’s Bernard Phillips, ‘its appeal should not be underestimated.’
COST: Packages cost between £17 to £55 per month depending on capacity; the dish and installation is free.
ADDED VALUE: 5-10 per cent.
Rye, East Sussex £694,950: A three-bedroom house with a woodburner fitted to the living room fireplace. Phillips & Stubbs (01797 227338, phillipsandstubbs. co.uk).
‘More people are looking at houses from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. Simple improvements like rendering unattractive brick and replacing concrete roof tiles with slate increase kerb appeal and value,’ says Kate Hardwick, of Smiths Gore.
Even a small outlay helps, according to Jonathan Handford, of Fine & Country.
He says: ‘Hanging baskets, flower pots, freshly painting the front door, ensuring the fence is crisp and clean, plus trimming hedges and lawns can create a welcoming impression.’
COST: About £500 for door and window repainting to £10,000 for rendering and repointing.
ADDED VALUE: Up to 10 per cent.
New-build houses routinely fit them to two or more bedrooms.
‘If you have a four-bedroom house with just one bathroom, add another — an en-suite to the master bedroom, ideally,’ says Carole Ann Evans, of Hampshire agent Morris Dibben.
Also fit new taps, a heated towel rail and power shower and use a glass shower screen or door instead of the dreaded shower curtain.
COST: £4,000 to £20,000.
ADDED VALUE: Up to 10 per cent
BRING THE OUTSIDE IN
‘A sunken garden with a fire-pit for adults plus a treehouse for children will attract buyers. Bi-fold doors leading onto the garden give the feeling of an extra reception room,’ says Adam Hesse, of Aston Mead.
Stafford: Upmeads is an Edgar Wood-designed Arts and Crafts house. The grounds contain a sunken rose garden, tree house and revolving summer house. Savills (01952 239500, savills.co.uk). £995,000
If you want something cheaper, increase light and minimise maintenance by removing trees that do not enhance the garden.
‘Leylandii create excellent hedges but if they grow too tall, can block a huge amount of light. You can chop down fruit trees without consent, but check if you’re in a conservation area,’ says William Wells, of Mullock Wells.
COST: About £300 for tree-cutting, £15,000 for a modest garden redesign.
ADDED VALUE: Five to 10 per cent.
BUY A WOODBURNER
An open fire is cosy, but remote-controlled gas, electric, wood or multi-fuelled fires are easier to maintain. While an open fire is 20 per cent fuel-efficient, a woodburner is better, at 75 per cent.
‘A fire that lights up without you having to get off the sofa or a good woodburner give the impression the house is up to date,’ says Hugo Thistlethwayte, of Prime Purchase.
COST: £3,000 and £5,000 for a new fireplace; £2,500 for a woodburner.
ADDED VALUE: Up to 5 per cent.