Preparing your home for sale
Posted 9 September 2015 by Keith Osborne
Selling your home can seem like a daunting task, no matter your location or the current market conditions. We’re here to help with our top tips on getting your property ready for the market.
Deal with structural problems first
Before considering any cosmetic improvements, ensure you assess any structural problems, which can range from rotten windows and rising damp to broken roof tiles. These are the first things a surveyor will pick up on when they come to view your home.
Ensure your utilities are efficient
Your heating, electricity and plumbing services should be efficient and up to date. Your boiler needs to be in good working order, your pipes shouldn't be rattling around and you should consider updating your electrics if your property has not been rewired in many years. Flourishes such as under-floor heating are desirable but not imperative.
Double glazed windows are expected as standard even at the bottom end of the market, and having them installed could add 10% to the value of your home. If you are selling a period property, think carefully before opting for double glazing and always replace like-for-like, as plastic can ruin the aesthetic of the home and is not permitted in conservation areas.
Recent research found that fast broadband has moved above off-street parking at the top of the list of demands from would-be buyers. With an increasing number of people working from home for at least part of the week, this perhaps should not come as a surprise. You don't necessarily need to have fibre-optic broadband installed, but having a fast connection can add up to 5% to the value of your property, and as much as 8% in London.
Conversions and extensions
The best way to add value is to add space. Popular options include loft conversions, garage conversions, conservatories and garden rooms. Research by Nationwide found that an attic room can add £37,000 to the average home (21%), while an extra bedroom can add £20,000 and an extra bathroom £8,900.
Due to the variables involved, it is difficult to predict exactly what an extension to your home might cost. Basic loft conversions start at around £10,000, but the average spend tends to be in the region of £20,000-£30,000. Adding a conservatory can be a considerably cheaper option, but won't add comparative value.
Weigh up your options
If you decide to add an extra room, make sure you get the balance right. Adding an office to your garden is a great idea for many homeowners, but if your plans get too ambitious and it ends up taking up the vast majority of your outdoor space you could end up losing rather than adding value.
Always do your research and be realistic - swimming pools and Jacuzzis look great, but they are unlikely to cover their installation costs.
Lower cost options
If you can't physically add space, then create the illusion of extra space instead. Removing bulky items from your property can boost its sale price by up to 11%, and that two thirds of sellers who thoroughly decluttered before viewings received a higher offer than expected.
Remodel your existing rooms
Freshen things up by considering ways in which you could improve the current specification of your home. A new bathroom or kitchen suite will entice buyers who don't want to spend time renovating, and can also be a good way of ridding yourself of any value-sapping rooms you might have.
Give the garden a makeover
Don't worry if you're not an expert, as this can range from cutting back overgrown trees and tidying up the borders to completely redesigning your garden. Buyers don't just love seeing big spaces inside the house; they want them outside too, especially when purchasing a family home. Fences and mature trees create a valued sense of privacy, while a well-designed decked area will extend the illusion of having extra living space.