Generally speaking, when it comes to increasing the value of a property, the more space and facilities the property offers, the better. Property condition, any required maintenance works and potential for future works are also considered when valuing a property. For example, room for construction work and any upgrades (perhaps even approved planning permission for such works) may add value and appeal as will completed maintenance works.
So, what are property investors looking for? A prospective landlord planning on renting a house out to multiple tenants will look for different features than a family would. This is because tenants looking for a houseshare will also be looking for different features to a family. Therefore whilst the answer to this question depends on what investors intend to use the property for, there a number of home improvements that increase quality of living and property value across almost all scenarios. As such, it is worth investing money into home improvements that will increase the value of your property. Today we outline the most affordable of these property improvements.
Thinking about the future: long-term improvements
First off, here are some of the ways you can update your home which may not bring immediate and impressive benefits but bring significant gains in the long-run.
Increasingly, buyers are considering the environmental impact of their lifestyle. And a more efficient home can utilise its resources more effectively which can reduce wear and tear to major appliances and systems as well as reducing monthly bills. While large additions such as solar panels and condensing boilers may fall outside of your budget, there are more affordable options:
- add insulation to loft / wall space
- install LED light bulbs
- install a programmable thermostat
- upgrade appliances
- fit double glazing – A-rated windows could save £175 per year on a detached house, £105 per year on a mid-terrace house and £65 on a flat
Using a programmable thermostat can decrease your waste and reduce your energy bills. You can adjust the temperature according to the exact point of your own personal comfort. It’s estimated that for every degree you raise or lower the set temperature, you can save up to 2 percent on your energy bill! You can create a schedule that follows your routine, and keeps the temperature cool or warm while you are there, but eases up on energy usage whilst you are away.
Old appliances may not be as energy efficient as newer models. For example, an old dishwasher or washing machine could be producing high electric and water bills. Getting appliances serviced to ensure they are well maintained and performing to their best is an option. However, the cost to do so can come close to the price of a new machine all together! What is more, most appliances can be installed yourself. With so much information online nowadays, so long as you have done your research, you may not need an electrician or plumber service to do this.
All of the above are affordable options for improving how energy efficient you are and reducing your monthly bills at the same time. Read our blog on how to achieve an energy efficient home for a more comprehensive guide on energy efficient upgrades you can implement in your property.
Prevent mould growth
Install a vent fan and extractor fan to your bathroom and kitchen respectively. These will increase functionality in the short-term, plus improved ventilation of a property can decrease damp and mould growth and avoid necessary work to remedy this in future. Mould is a big turn off for prospective renters and buyers.
Now we look at some home changes that can bring more immediate and short-term benefits both in terms of your current living situation and property value.
If complete renovations or extensions are not possible, there are ways that you can ‘add’ to your property without actually adding. For example:
A front garden could be sacrificed for a functional driveway and parking space
The ground-floor pantry could be converted into an additional bathroom
The lounge/dining room could be swapped for a spare bedroom
Considering features that prospective buyers and property investors might be looking for when the time comes to sell your property, all three of the above could be on their list. And compared to larger works such as conservatory extensions and loft conversions, these are more affordable.
Books are judged by their covers, so investing a small amount of time and money into giving your whole property a ‘facelift’ is worthwhile. This means checking:
Both inside and out. The first thing people see (guests and potential buyers) are the external walls of your property. It is amazing the difference a fresh lick of paint can make. The marks and signs of previous residents are gone and the off white walls can become bright white once again. If you cannot do the whole of the outside walls, why not give your front door some TLC? Choice of colour is also a means of ensuring your property is on trend and does not look outdated. Research what paint colours are popular and what would work well at your property.
Mastic sealant and grout
A complete bathroom renovation could increase your home’s value by 4-6%. However, an old shower or bath can appear more new with a bit of TLC – for example, regrouting is easy to do yourself or with some help from a handyman. Refreshing the sealing around kitchen and bathroom tiles, baths, showers and worktops helps to ensure that these spaces are water tight and improves the finish of the room.
Similarly, renewing old flooring with paint or re-varnishing wooden floors (and furniture for that matter) can give a room another lease of life. Any worn out bathroom or kitchen floors can be replaced relatively cheaply. Replacing hard floors with carpet can make a home more ‘cosy’. Recarpeting is a worthwhile improvement if you want to add value and appeal, however depending on the size of your property and carpet quality, this can become an expensive job. One option is adding a DIY runner to your stairs to add warmth, colour and grip to your staircase.
Make sure door handles, light fittings, any fitted furniture, skirting boards – or anything else that is meant to be fixed somewhere but has become loose – is secure and aligned properly. If not the property may appear untidy, unfinished and poorly maintained.
Minimalism creates a clean and modern look but more and more buyers are looking for period features in older builds. So, restoring any original features can add value to your home as well as a touch of grace and sophistication.
If there are no original features you can use crown moulding to add these yourself. Just make sure it fits with the overall aesthetic and design of the property. For example, this may not match new builds with very modern and urban designs. Similarly, adding stair brackets to staircases can add architectural interest.
Additions as seemingly small (and relatively inexpensive) as a smart house/flat sign, plant pots and plants at the front of the property, a well kept lawn (real or artificial!), pebbles or gravel (instead of sporadic weed growth and empty flower beds) need not cost a lot but improve the appearance and appeal of a property.
Installing mirrors and raising storage units off the floor are both tried and tested methods for creating a feeling of additional space and light to a room. This can be applied both to indoor and outdoor spaces. Particularly in urban areas, relaxing and private outdoor spaces are highly sought after. This is also a reason to make sure you make the most out of any balconies or other spaces available.
Adding quality curtains or shutters not only makes a room more homely, it can also add privacy and a small increase in insulation. Shutter blinds are very desirable at the moment and there are lots of different companies and manufacturers to choose from.
For more information on increasing the value of your property, read this blog post. James Anderson’s friendly team of experts have helped thousands of Londoners buy and rent homes in South West London. With over 25 years worth of experience in the industry, we can provide advice on home moves and home improvements.