Sunday, 15 July 2012

10 top ways to add value to your home

Most home improvements will help to increase the overall value of your house or flat. But which changes add the most, and which can even cost more than they add to the potential sale price?

Here is our list of the 10 top ways to add value to your property, often without having to put a strain on your own finances. 

1. A new bathroom 
Bathrooms can quickly look shabby and dated. The good news, though, is that you can get a new one for as little as £1,500.

Better still, a new bathroom should add in the region of £3,351 to the value of your home.

2. De-cluttering 
It may be difficult, but getting your property ready for sale means depersonalising it.

Clutter can distract viewers and more than half (60%) of the property valuers who took part in the 2012 HSBC Home Improvement Survey said that the number one way to increase a property's chance of selling quickly, and for a good price, was to de-clutter.

3. A conservatory 
Recent figures from HSBC indicate that adding an extension or conservatory adds an average of £12,151 on to the value of your home.

The bad news, however, is that most extensions cost between £20,000 and £30,000. Conservatories, on the other hand, typically cost about £10,000.

4. Painting and decorating 
A quick splash of paint can work wonders on tired-looking walls, and sticking to neutral tones is the safest bet.

Keeping the colour scheme simple, fresh and inviting will help potential buyers to see themselves living in your home.

5. A loft conversion 
According to Halifax valuers, loft conversions - which require lofts with a roof height of at least 2.4 metres - are a good way to increase the potential sale price of your home.

Be sure to stick to your budget, though. The average loft conversion will cost between £10,000 and £30,000, while HSBC's figures show that they typically add £20,876 to the value of a property.

6. A new kitchen 
Kitchens suffer serious wear and tear during their lifetime, and a new one can add real wow factor to a property.

Again, however, it's important to weigh up the cost of the work against the overall value of your home.

You can easily spend tens of thousands on a top-of-the-range kitchen, but according to HSBC, a new kitchen adds an average of £5,267 to the asking price.

7. New windows 
Putting in new windows adds around £5,265 to the value of the average property and can reap big rewards when it comes to energy efficiency.

It is, however, sensible to ensure that your new windows are in line with the style of your property to maximise the added value - particularly as putting them in can set you back about £5,000.

8. A garage 
Off road parking or a garage can be especially advantageous in areas where parked cars line both sides on the street.

Nationwide's figures show that adding a garage, which can cost anything between £8,000 and £25,000, can increase the value of your property by 11%.

9. Outside space 
Outside space is just as important as inside - especially when people are seeing your home for the first time.

While 63% of the HSBC survey expert respondents said that repainting or varnishing a front door would make a difference, only 23% of homeowners recognised this.

Peter Dockar at HSBC said: "It is often the smaller jobs like painting the front door that can make all the difference when looking for a sale."

10. Energy efficiency 
With all properties for sale now coming with an energy efficiency report, it is sensible to do what you can to reduce the energy consumption of your house or flat.

Investing in a high-efficiency boiler, for example, may cost a bit more. However, it will attract ecologically-minded buyers, as well as those keen to avoid all their money going on heating bills.

Mark Hayward, president of the National Associaton of Estate Agents, said: "The challenging market conditions mean that house-hunters are even more aware of a property's pros and cons.

"So while it's important to maximise any summer features in your home, remember that house-hunters will also be thinking about how it fairs during the winter months."

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