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Top Ten Home Improvements - The Hansens
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Top Ten Home Improvements

Top Ten Home Improvements

Find the Best Deal for Your Home Improvement

Is it time to have a bash at that triple-storey extension? Will buyers go for a lime-green paint job? Well thought out, quality home improvements can boost the value of a property, but botched work and bad judgement can do more harm than good. When navigating your way up the property ladder it pays to do your homework…

Building an Extension

Extending your property is an ambitious and expensive move. Any significant building work will cause disruption and reduce outdoor space. On the other hand, extra square meterage can be a real advantage. Make sure your plans are in line with the style of your property (especially in period homes) and that the extension will add functional living space. It’s not wise, for example, to add bedrooms when you have a living room the size of a postage stamp. Another common mistake is adding on a half-hearted conservatory without choosing the most suitable design or making efforts to define usage.

Converting An Attic or Basement

Most home improvements will add some value, but the cleverest will reap rewards in relation to outlay. Attic conversions usually represent the best value for money and are normally used to add another bedroom, and there’s often space for a value-boosting en-suite. Converting the basement can also be a cost-effective way to increase square meterage. It’s not advisable to dig out beneath a property though; this is structurally difficult, you’ll need to move out during the work and the high costs make it near impossible to recover your expenditure. Extensions and conversions involve major building work and will require expert help.

Adding Extra Bedrooms

Whether you extend or convert existing space, it’s tempting to add an extra bedroom. This has a satisfyingly visible effect on estate agents’ statistics and adding a bedroom could increase value by up to 11%. It’s wise to consider the proportions of your home and avoid cramming in additional bedrooms unnecessarily. Think about your potential market. Families may want to give children small rooms of their own, but couples or single buyers often prefer one or two spacious bedrooms.

Opening Up Space

There’s no sign that the trend for open-plan living is going away. Anyway, why should it? Natural light, sociable cooking space and luxurious living areas appeal to all sorts of buyers. Just don’t get carried away. Practical family homes often need rooms to shut away white goods, household waste, children and pets. It’s also essential to get the professionals in to make sure you’re not bashing down load-bearing walls. The most successful open-plan rooms tend to be ‘zoned’ to define space.

Installing Heating and Cooling

Fitting a heating/cooling system is not the most inspiring project, but it’s a must-do for anyone renovating a property without it. While other improvements have the potential to go wrong, installing a modern heating/cooling system is a safe bet and can really add value to the property. Even if your property is already fitted out, investment in a new high-efficiency heat pump or air-conditioning system is worth considering. These can be costly but will reduce heating bills in the long term and attract
‘green’ buyers.

Creating Parking Space

For many buyers, space for a car is a must-have. Off road parking or a garage can be especially advantageous in areas where parked cars line both sides on the street. Again, you need to think about your market. If you’re selling a five-bedroomed suburban home, it’s likely your buyers will need to store one or two vehicles. A flat in the middle of the city is a different matter. Investment in building a garage will lead to an increase in the value of your property.

Putting in a New Bathroom

Bathrooms can quickly look shabby and dated. A new one could set you back thousands, but it is possible to get a decent suite for a reasonable price if you’re prepared to hunt for it. Don’t feel you have to stick to the tried and tested combination of toilet, bath and shower. Ensuite shower rooms and wet rooms are increasingly popular. If you’re competing with newer properties then consider adding or re-arranging rooms to increase the bathroom-to-bedroom ratio. These days, even small properties tend to be built with an ensuite leading from the master bedroom in addition to a main bathroom.

Making Over the Garden

Don’t neglect outdoor space during a property spruce-up. Gardens can be a room, or several rooms, in themselves. Remember, first impressions count, so cast a critical eye over the approach to your home. A mere $100 will cover a few pots or hanging baskets and a tin of paint for the front door. In the back garden, consider your potential buyers. Busy professionals might be tempted by low-maintenance paving, but families benefit from a patch of grass to frolic on. Barbeques, outdoor furniture and subtle lighting suggest a laid-back al fresco lifestyle. Simple but attractive planting won’t scare off amateurs and will give expert gardeners room to make their mark.

Painting and Decorating

Even without dramatic structural changes, good presentation can have a real impact on the amount buyers are prepared to pay. Along with a new kitchen, painting and decorating  is likely to add the most value. It may be tricky, but getting your property ready for sale means depersonalising it. Clutter can distract viewers and kitchens and bathrooms should be spotlessly clean. A splash of paint can do wonders; neutral tones are the safest bet. Keep it simple, fresh and inviting. Wafting around the aroma of baking bread every time someone steps in the door might give the impression you’re trying a bit too hard.

Re-fitting the Kitchen

Kitchens suffer serious wear and tear during their lifetime, and a new one can add real wow factor to a property. A modern fitted kitchen second can add a whole lot of extra value to your home. Again, it’s important to think things through and weigh up the cost of improvement against the overall value of your home. You can easily spend tens of thousands on a top-of-the-range kitchen, but try to be realistic. Everyone has a limited amount to spend, but quality really counts in a kitchen so it’s advisable to economise in other areas.

Things to Ponder

From sweeping the front path and driveway to building a major extension, there are buyer-friendly home improvements to suit every pocket. It can be difficult to let go of personal tastes and reign in your eagerness to get started, but careful planning is an essential ingredient for success. Even if you’re not looking to sell straight away, it makes sense to consider future occupants and avoid doing anything you’ll regret. Get that calculator out. Are you simply looking to recover what you spend? Or are you after big bucks? Remember that the value of property in your area tends to dictate the maximum value your home can achieve, and therefore affects your potential profit. When it comes to any structural changes, expert advice from an architect or planner is vital. Check that your plans are safe and legal, and that you have the necessary planning consents in place before you begin any works. Make sure any professionals you bring in have a good reputation for completing work to a high standard. Remember, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly.

Adapted from a post by Abigail Laing  www.ourproperty.co.uk

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