When thoughts turn to selling your home there’s always a question of how much, if any, money you should spend improving its value.
Ultimately, it’s worth will depend on how much the buyer is willing to pay and often a few small changes can make a big difference to the eventual selling price.
Everyone wants to make their home the best it can be but every street has a price ceiling above which no buyer will venture so be careful not to overspend as it’s unlikely you’ll get your money back.
If your aim is to climb the property ladder, it’s never too early to start thinking about what home improvements will provide the best return.
Even if you’re planning to stay put for several years, understanding how to add value to your home will help you to decide which projects make financial sense and which don’t.
Above all, you need to prioritise - installing a new kitchen or bathroom or converting a loft space might seem like attractive options but you should always start with basic structural and cosmetic repairs.
Here are a few tips that might help you along the way:
1. Tackle structural problems first. Making sure your roof is unlikely to present problems in the future should always be a priority. There’s no point in spending all your budget on a new kitchen or bathroom only to be landed with a hefty bill just to keep your property watertight. Issues with walls and flooring that have been flagged-up in your Home Report should also be addressed sooner rather than later.
2. Upgrade your central heating system. If you live in an older property with a dated system or no system at all, adding or upgrading will always add more value than you spend. This should be done in conjunction with improving general energy efficiency, such as insulating the loft, sealing windows and doors and replacing windows that are beyond repair with double glazing.
3. Re-wiring and plumbing. Replacing old wiring and plumbing will be one of the most disruptive jobs you undertake because it will involve lifting floorboards and running pipes and cables in plaster walls, but it’s essential if you’re to improve the value to your home. Because of frequent changes in safety regulations, updating electrics is essential if the house hasn’t been rewired for some time. Adding modern sockets and switches will be a draw when you come to sell.
4. Redecorate. There’s no bigger turn-off to potential buyers than peeling paint, discoloured walls and ceilings and mouldy sealings in bathrooms and kitchens. Some of the smallest jobs can add the greatest value like sorting squeaking or sticking doors and windows, fixing dripping taps and replacing cracked or loose tiles.
5. Rework the layout of your home. Before you consider converting an attic or adding an extension, think about how your existing living space might be remodelled. Remember that many buyers will have visited similar homes for sale in your area so, if you’ve done something clever with your layout you will be at an immediate advantage.
6. Add an extra bedroom. Properties are valued according to the number of bedrooms they contain so adding an extra one will usually add to the sale price. A health warning should be applied here, however, because there is a ceiling value for every street and so don’t spend more than you’re likely to recover when you go to sell. Extra bedrooms can be created by dividing existing space by removing and adding walls, converting the roof space, or extending.
7. Give your kitchen and bathrooms a makeover. Rather than installing entirely new kitchens and bathrooms at great cost, you can upgrade existing ones with the simple addition of new worktops, by painting cupboard doors and retiling. Make sure there’s plenty of light and paint the walls a nice neutral, light shade.
8. Redesign your garden. Spending a bit of money on your garden will make it look tidy and attractive. People value privacy and so improving the feeling of seclusion with the addition of fencing or trees will add value. You can raise boundary fences and walls up to 2m without needing planning permission.
9. Improve your home’s ‘kerb appeal’. Improving the external look of your house if you’re trying to sell is essential. Most buyers will decide if they like your property before they even get out of their car so create a great first impression by repointing brickwork, repainting doors and windows, repairing cracked or broken cladding such as render or timber and removing old-fashioned stone cladding. Simple things like adding climbing plants and replacing or adding a house sign or number can make a huge difference.
10. Restore the original character of your home. Restore what you have rather than replacing original features. Updating damaged or old-fashioned staircases with new paint, runners and a lick of paint can transform a dull hallway and adding value to your home. Some former design staples can look tacky and dated so ditch that polystyrene ceiling tiling, pine cladding, internal stone cladding and textured ceilings or walls.
For more information on selling your home please visit your local Scottish Property Centre branch or visit www.scottishpropertycentre.net