In the first few years of owning your home, you might want to make a few (or many) changes. In fact, ins 2018, a survey by Chubb asked 1200 homeowners in the USA how they felt about their property. 58% said they would most likely be renovating and improving the property. Of those that responded that they would probably make changes, 65% planned to spend at least $10,000 and a further 20% planned for $10,000 – $40,000.
But the more significant the spend, the more you will want to make back when you decide to sell the property at a later date. It is a good idea to know the highest value of property in your area, this will give you a good indicator if your project is ‘worth it’ or a little excessive. If the homes are being sold at around 550,000 and you purchased for 535,000, your max value additions and renovations should be somewhere in the region of 15k.
“Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan, spiritualist
Kitchen & Bathroom
A good thing to note is the most ‘worked on’ places are the kitchen and the bathroom. They can raise and lower the asking price with ease. Bathroom and kitchen remodeling is now easier than ever with companies like IKEA stepping up to the plate with complete kitchens for a few thousand pounds.
In general, the kitchen will give you the most significant return on your investment as most house viewings will center around the kitchen. People like to open and close cupboards, check the size, space, and weight. But if you can’t add a whole new kitchen, then what? Well, swapping out countertops for dense wood or marble is like an instant facelift. Small details like the backsplash panels and tiling matter too – get something cohesive that works with the rest of the house also. A little personality is cool, too much is too much!
For the bathroom, it being clean is critical. The cleaner it looks in those realtor photos the more likely you’ll get people arriving for viewings. A bathtub is an excellent addition if you have the room.
Depending on the type of property you have, this will make a difference here. Some properties can get away with having a very simple paved outdoor area, others typically you’d want to see a big lush lawn… kind of like the ideal family garden. If you know roughly what you want, then you should check out landscaping. It will boost the value pretty quickly. Big trees, flowers blooming and growing, and row upon row of multicolored plants looks stunning in the sunlight. Why does this work? Well, it is frankly just prettier to look at, and people want beautiful.
Think smart here, plant native plants, so they have the most opportunity to flourish well and be easy to maintain. If you are planning to sell, remember to plant early in the process, so that when it comes to viewings and the brochures, everything is in bloom.
A space to eat outside the is either paved or has some lovely decking is something worth the time and energy too.
Carpet or not, veneer vs. laminate, underfloor heating, dark wood, grey-toned… natural stone. There are so many options. But when it comes to flooring the best option is something that is going to last many years. No one wants to view a house that will need to have all of the floors redone in the next year of them living there.
For higher traffic areas, you might want to think about putting some rugs down so that they protect the floor in the longer term.
The walk from the pavement or sidewalk to your front door needs to be inviting. Clean, well-kept path, trimmed, and neat lawn. You might think about adding something like fairy lights or solar-powered lamps along the path. Large terracotta pots filled with fragrant herbs around your front door will smell very inviting on a warm day and looks very pretty too.
“Now, one thing I tell everyone is learn about real estate. Repeat after me: real estate provides the highest returns, the greatest values, and the least risk.” – Armstrong Williams, entrepreneur
If you have the available space, you might like to consider building upwards. Adding skylights, windows, and even extra bedrooms in the form of loft conversion are all smart. It adds quick value and doesn’t cost a lot to do. A loft conversion has the ability to add somewhere in the region on 15% to your house value, which is pretty substantial. This one will probably need a few weeks worth of work but will be worth it.
Conservatories can add up to 10% and more if they are expertly finished. A fully glazed conservatory will combine your indoor and outdoors. It can be ultra modern with sleek lines and minimal facia, or grand and traditional. There is a range of glass options – double, self-cleaning, tinted, solar control, and so much more. Look at your budget before committing to a type of glass. It is worth remembering that while conservatories are usually considered to be permitted developments, you will still need to meet specific building regulations.
If you are the lucky owner of a cellar, then you can make a very smart move here. A cellar conversion can add a massive 30% value added to your home. It isn’t as complicated as some other projects, but will of course still take some time. The cellar will need a unique set of skills to complete due to the nature of the materials. This is a brilliant way to add square footage that is useable.
If you have space around the house, then you should apply for planning permissions. Planning permission is super handy. This simple few pieces of paper (albeit official documents) can add up to 10% value.
If you are intending to buy a property, many investors (rather than homeowners) will want to know that they can make some improvements if the planning permission is available already, it makes it a much tastier proposition.
Instead of adding extras to the space, take things away. Making your downstairs open plan instantly gives more space and light. Most people remove the wall between the kitchen and the living room or dining area. You’ll need to call in the professionals to check if the wall is a load bearing wall though.
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” -Seth Godin
When it comes to looking for a new home, eventually everything begins to look the same, the white walls, white kitchens, gleaming bathroom, perfectly manicured lawns. Perennials that are in full blooms, hedges that give you just enough privacy, but not too much.
What makes your home stand out?
Apparently, buyers decide in the first 8 seconds if they are going to buy a house, so put yourself in the shoes of your prospective buyers. What do you see? What could be better? Are you highlighting that fantastic space under the stairs?
Small ponds and water features in the garden sound incredible and look great. They add a fixed point of interest and a layer to the garden. Equally small outhouse buildings and sheds are great too. Unique things like maximizing the kitchen space by adding slim, one press roll-out spice racks, or if it’s a compact house then a mini fridge is clever too. Not having a front garden doesn’t stop you adding window boxes and a beautiful knocker.
Make the best use of nooks and crannies by adding in shelves and increasing the storage size.
When it comes to your open house day, make sure that you are either baking fresh bread with lavender and lemons, or arrange a candle or room scent plug in to fragrance the house. Both of those scents are very welcoming.
People like to imagine themselves using the space. So make sure it is very clean, has no clutter anywhere and looks ‘homely’. If you have pets, make sure that you have your furry friend stay with someone else for a day or two so that the house doesn’t have that doggy smell lingering on.
Have photos of you enjoying yourself in the house. Building memories is something we all enjoy when we do it in our own four walls. So have a selection of ‘this could be you’ photos.
“A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life; he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882).