With so much time and money invested into our homes we all want to make sure we receive the best possible price when it’s time to sell. Maximising its value does not happen by itself and it pays to take the time to ensure you have done all you can to prepare the property for potential buyers. If you are putting your house on the market in the near future, or want to make adjustments to increase its value, what should you be looking out for in the current market and beyond?
Current market trends
The property market looks set to remain one that favours sellers for the foreseeable future, with house prices predicted to continue steadily rising around the country. Traditionally, London and the South East set the pace when it came to rising prices, but this has slowed considerably over the past 12 months.
Estate agent Savills recently conducted an analysis of the HM Land Registry’s data and found that Salford in Manchester and Tendring in Essex were showing the strongest growth. The Midlands and the East of England were also revealed as two of the fastest rising areas in the UK.
What does 2018 hold in store?
Savills also predict a 2% increase on house prices over the next 12 months across the UK. This is likely to be mostly seen outside of London and the South East as the market in the region has hit something of a plateau. Of course, the ongoing uncertainty that surrounds the Brexit negotiations is having an impact on the market, along with changes to the stamp duty levies.
While there are significant returns to be made upon selling your property, there are also a number of different ways in which extra value can be added. It is important to remember that each property type has a price limit, so seek advice from a local sales agent on what type of change can help maximise the value before you implement them.
Advice for those ready for market
For those ready to place their property on the market now, or plan to do so in 2018, here are some suggestions to increase the value of your property that can be implemented relatively quickly:
Fix outstanding structural issues
Selling your home also means opening it up for close inspection by both estate agents and potential buyers. If there are any obvious flaws that might lower the value, or make it harder to sell, these will need addressing before the property goes onto the market. This includes things such as:
• Cracks/damaged walls
• Leaking roofs
• Broken/missing tiles
• Bowing walls
• Decaying joints or roof timbers
Quick interior and exterior changes
Aside from cleaning up the house, cleaning windows, unblocking gutters and clearing the driveway, the presentation of your house will add instant value. Simple things such giving the house a new lick of paint both inside and out will make it instantly stand out against neighbouring properties.
If you do not have the right type of windows to suit the original style of the property, changing these will also have a huge impact. First impressions count and the front door will be one of the first things people notice. Do you need a new doorknob, letterbox or stainless steel house number? Enhancing curb appeal goes a very long way. Mirrors in the hallway can also help to alter perceptions. One on each side of the wall will make a narrow hallway instantly look bigger.
Add a standout feature
To really make your property stand out from the many that the buyers will be viewing, adding a unique feature or two can do just the trick. This can be anything from a classic fireplace piece, or panelled hallways and living room. There are a wide range of options available which do not have to take long to install or cost an extortionate amount.
Install central heating
There are still many homes that do not have this installed, and if that applies to you, we advise you have it put in before going to market. Depending on the property it can cost a couple of thousand pounds, but the value it will add is likely to be at least double that amount.
Getting the most out of a central heating system also includes the level of energy efficiency of the property. Installing central heating is a great idea but if heat loss is an issue, this will invariably lead to high energy bills for the new occupants. Most heat is lost through old windows, so update these with double or secondary glazing if needed. This also applies to doors that create drafts, as significant levels of heat can be lost here too.
Hire a designer
Allow yourself to think outside the box. Getting a professional who can look at the layout of your home with a fresh eye can prove to be invaluable. This is a relatively low-cost option too. 2-3 hours should not cost more than £200-300 and you will be given a wide range of ideas of how to maximise your space, making sure your home really catches the eye of potential buyers as soon as they walk in. As long as you communicate your budget to the designer so they know what you have to work with, their creative suggestions can instantly add a few thousand pounds in aesthetic appeal.
Advice for selling in the future
If selling your property is not on your immediate agenda but it is something you plan to do in the future, or you just want to increase the value of your property, here are some long-term suggestions on how to maximise the value of your property:
Convert your garage into a living space
For those who own a garage and have access to street parking near their home, converting your garage space into a living area should be given serious consideration. Depending on its size and suitability it can be converted into a new kitchen area, general living space, study and even an extra bedroom.
The first step should be checking that it is suitable for conversion and finding out if planning permission is required. In most cases, it won’t be, but it pays to check beforehand. The conversion will have to adhere to building regulations, which your local council can advise on fully.
Convert the property into separate flats
While some buyers may find the price of a house difficult to afford, converting the house into flats not only raises the selling price but makes it even easier to find buyers. Short term renting is also an option to consider before the property is sold. If you find there is a demand in your area for flats, rather than 3 or 4 bedroom houses, then this could be a viable option for you.
According to Savills estate agents, house prices across the UK are due to rise 13% over the next five years. However, across the same period of time rents are set to increase by 19%, which offers a great opportunity for those who are thinking of converting the flats for short-term leases.
Create more storage or living space in the cellar
Transforming a cellar into a living or storage space can add real value to your property. In terms of planning it qualifies as a ‘change of use’, which means on non-listed buildings no planning permission is required.
If you don’t own a cellar, there is always the option to create one by digging down further under the property. This will require specialist firms, so again, get advice beforehand on how much value doing this will add, as the construction costs will have to be taken into consideration.
Maximise the kitchen’s potential
Where the living room once used to be the main room in the home, the kitchen has now taken its place. Research by HSBC revealed that installing a new kitchen can add an extra 4.6% of value to your home, relative to the selling price. Many high street kitchen companies have some creative design ideas that will ensure you have a great work surface and access to the fridge, cooker and sink. Update the equipment if needs be and make sure you invest the amount relative to your house price bracket.
Create off-street parking
Securing a parking space often comes at a premium and converting the garden space in front of your home will instantly add value to the property as a whole. Off-street parking in urban areas is ideal for any car owner; whether they are single working professionals, young couples, or families with young children. Planning permission will not be needed if the property is situated on an A or B road, but local Highway regulations will have to be adhered to.
Of course, every homeowner will have their own individual adjustments to make but as you can see above, there are changes that everyone can make that will have a positive impact on the value of your home. From the smallest alterations, to the largest of conversions, everything you do to your property will have an impact on its market value. Selling your home can often prove to be one of the most stressful periods of your life, but by taking care of every last detail, you can also make it worthwhile in the end.