As the housing market continues to struggle through the so-called ‘recovery’ of the recession, and the endless cycle of taking advantage of the latest remortgage deals to release new equity from rising property values seems to have stuttered, more and more homeowners are opting to add value to their existing property instead of moving home. This way, homeowners can add value to their home and reap the financial benefits as and when the property market improves. Larger home improvements such as extensions and conversions, if done properly and efficiently, can make the home a much more enjoyable space.
1 Refresh the Kitchen space: The kitchen is probably the most used room in the house and the one room that brings a family together more than any other, no wonder Phil Spencer (From Channel 4′s Location, Location, Location) believes the kitchen is ‘the heart of the home’. What might surprise you is the fact that the kitchen is the first room new owners will refurbish when the home is purchased, as it shows off more personal taste and style than any other room. As it’s more difficult and expensive to change than any other room in the house, getting the kitchen right is important for any new owner, so if you’re buying property for a quick flip, it would be worthless to have a new kitchen installed.:1 Refresh the Kitchen space: A kitchen is perhaps the most used room in any household; cooking is a key aspect in the home and therefore the kitchen is considered to be a place where the average busy family comes together. Phil Spencer, presenter of Channel 4′s Location Location Location, highlights how the kitchen is in fact “the heart of the home” and for this reason is a room that represents personal flare and character. Phil highlights that the kitchen is in fact the first room that a prospective property buyer looks to change to show off their own individuality, so it is advised that you make your kitchen somewhat of a blank canvas if you are looking to make a quick sale. Therefore, don’t spend thousands of pounds on a quirky or ‘fashionable’ new kitchen, just in the hope to add value to your home, as you will be unlikely to receive a return on your expenditure.
Rather than fork out on a brand new kitchen, an alternative would be to freshen up the space, adding a fresh layer of paint to the walls (neutral colours are best) and replacing old cupboard doors can really uplift the room. If you feel your kitchen is outdated and grubby looking, then simply relaying some new flooring can make a huge difference. Laminated wooden flooring can be purchased cheaply nowadays and can make a huge difference to the smaller kitchen by making it look much more spacious.
2 Relay the flooring: Damaged, worn and grubby carpets in some of the larger communal areas such as the living room, hallway or dining room can really take away the charm of your property. When a prospective buyer first walks into a home, they wanted to be presented with a clean, fresh, light and open space and worn carpet or damaged flooring can give them an initial negative vibe of the home. Making your home inviting is essential. However, relaying a new carpet can be rather expensive, especially in larger rooms, so a cheaper alternative would be to buy a large rug to cover the floor and add a cosier effect.
A further alternative, as mentioned earlier, is to add laminate flooring. This is a perfect option for rooms or areas that experience a lot of usage, such as porches, hallways or living rooms, as they are so easy to clean. Being a much cheaper alternative to carpets, laminate flooring also stays looking newer for longer, guaranteeing you get the most of your money. It is also available in a multitude of styles, effects and colours so it is a flexible option for any room. Some people argue that laminate flooring can make a room look cold and almost sterile, so to minimize this effect, add a rug, or a runner. This will add a warmer and more inviting feel.
3 Renovate a garage: If your property has a garage that is unused then it is probably advisable to convert it into an added room, say a dining room for example. This is especially applicable if you have a lot of parking space which can easily be used by multiple vehicles at any one time. However, if your parking space is limited, and there is no room to extend it, then an alternative could be to extend your garage into a double garage. This is extremely popular with larger families in more rural areas, where multiple cars are necessary to just to get around. Double garages are also multifunctional as they can also be used as work stations for individuals who enjoy the odd bit of DIY, or even those who work in the creative industries, such as in art and photography.
4 Purchase a conservatory: Tacking on a conservatory makes a surprising amount of difference to the sense of living space in a house. By their nature they are versatile and being light and airy also adds to the attraction of a conservatory, they are usually the centre of a house party especially in the summer. Styles vary quite wildly now, from uber sleek and modern to more traditional and through to a more cosy set up, best of all they are instant value adders to a property.
5 Energy efficient Upgrades: The overwhelming trend in property development at the moment is eco/green living and building practices, so adding improvements along these lines can lead to a value boost. New builds all have loft and cavity insulation and a solar panel installed, not to forget double glazing and under floor heating. While being eco friendly, they have the more desired effect of slashing utility bills, making the house green keeps it up to date, ergo attractive to buyers while also saving on the costs of running a house.
The most important thing to remember if you are hoping to add value to your property is to avoid expressing eccentric personal style throughout the building. Neutral colours on internal walls will always be favoured by potential buyers who are then provided with a blank canvas to express their own personal style. Similarly, when considering an extension, think about how the outside of your home will look, just as much as the inside will. For example, seamless brickwork will be a huge advantage, whereas adding, say, an extension using wood onto a pebble dashed home would not attract as many buyers. For any major home improvements, always check whether you need planning permission and always shop around for quotes from builders, your first quote may not be the best deal available.
So it is clear that money is certainly not everything! Be realistic in your home improvements. If you have limited space, then smaller changes will add just as much value as bigger renovations would in a larger home. Always ensure that, whatever your plans, it will be a worthwhile investment in your property.