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Improve or Move?

Should you Improve or move?


A well planned home improvement project may add to the sales potential of your property whether you sell immediately or a few years down the line.


What makes a property saleable? Estate agents have their own opinions as to what determines value, but location and neighbourhood are very important factors and a little research into other properties in your area will give you an idea of the ceiling price and what you can expect to get for your house. 


Prime spot or not, however, if you are planning to sell, bring your home up to a 'reasonable standard' before you put it on the market, and that means at least making it look better than the other properties in the road


Under the surface

Don't ignore 'unseen factors' when selling a home. Up-to-date damp proofing, tidy guttering, efficient drains, good pointing, secure roof tiles, a well-planned garden - there are many factors that may persuade a buyer to put an offer on your house rather than next-door's.


Adding on

But if you are staying put for a few years before moving on, anything you do to give your home additional living space will make it more appealing and could add more than 10% to its value. Having a garage will definitely draw them in, adding 10-15% to the property value and central heating can add 15%. 


Cleanliness is next to profit and according to the Nationwide, having a second bathroom may add as much as 9% to the value of a property, but only if it has several bedrooms. In a two-bedroom house this may be seen as a waste of valuable space.


One sure way to help a sale is to have a loft conversion, extension or conservatory, but be wary of adding on solely for profit. Phil Spencer, co-presenter of Channel 4's Location, Location and managing director of Garrington Home Finders advises: 


"An extension may give the house greater financial potential, but most areas, except central London, have a ceiling price. So you need to decide how you give your home the 'cutting edge' - subtly!  


"An extension should never feel like an add-on and should be decorated in keeping with the rest of the house. A four bedroom house, for example, cannot be transformed into a six-bed home by simply turning a loft into two bedrooms. What about bathroom facilities? Can the living space itself stretch to cater for more people?


"Keep colours fairly neutral and don't overspend. If you're doing up a kitchen, use cheaper unit carcasses and spend your money on the door fronts and worktops. In the bathroom, use a plain white suite and add style with great fixtures and fittings."  


Watch the budget

Remember, while many improvements have intrinsic value and will attract viewers, they won't always add real money. According to the FMB a new kitchen is one of the most popular home improvement projects, but keep your expenditure in proportion. Splashing out on a 30,000 designer kitchen is great if there's a keen cook in the house, but this probably won't be recouped in a sale.  

   What will add value to your home before putting your property on the market for sale? 

If you need further support in envisaging the changes that you could make then there are Home Staging Consultants all over the UK who can provide services to make sure that you get it right. See www.hsnwk.com for more details.

Some Estate Agents will tell you to do nothing and that a buyer will want to make their own changes but later down the line with no offer to buy will suggest a price reduction.  You have to consider if at the point of signing you up to a contract to sell if it is in the Agents interests to encourage a vendor to spend a couple of weeks and a few hundred pounds or so to present the property appropriately for sale so that they sell quickly and at the best price.  

It has been proven time and again that the psychological impact of an attractive and well presented home will achieve a quick sale.  A buyer needs more than bricks and mortar, a buyer is buying into a dream, a lifestyle and psychologically needs to envisage the property as a home for themselves - not the current occupier.  So freshly painted surfaces, good balance and proportion, function and purpose in every room, a focal point and attractive accessorising to name but a few will make all the difference and have the buyers ready to make an offer.

  For more info on reputable builders see    www.findabuilder.co.uk


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