10 Ways to Add Value to Your Home
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably endured sleepless nights in the past few months – fretting about the UK’s cost of living crisis.
The bad news has been relentless. During the first part of 2022, energy was the buzzword on everybody’s lips. But October’s disastrous mini-budget sent interest rates spiralling – precipitating serious turmoil in the housing market.
While house prices fell for the first time in 15 months, surging mortgage rates are discouraging prospective buyers – and proving unsustainable for many homeowners across the UK.
Rightmove reckons the first-time buyer rate has fallen 26 per cent over the past 12 months; and it’s not hard to figure out why.
With fixed rates rapidly rising – from around 1.5 per cent to well north of 5 per cent – mortgage payments have quickly become crippling. The thinktank Resolution Foundation estimates over five million families could see mortgages rise by an average £5,100 by the end of 2024.
That adds up to a £26 billion mortgage hike
The outlook is undeniably ominous. Buyers have been forced to downgrade their expectations – or abandon plans altogether. Families who could barely keep up with mortgage payments before are now stuck in a totally unworkable situation. Chains have collapsed – and all signs suggest that house prices will continue to fall through 2023.
The sprawling tentacles of the cost of living crisis have put potential sellers in a tight spot too. On the one hand, buyers have been deterred; and those who remain have less spending power. On the other hand, vendors may face increased competition – since so many homeowners look likely to be forced into selling.
Successfully shifting a property in this kind of climate requires nous. With buyers on a budget, and properties flooding the market, you have to be able to set your home apart.
Of course, the best way to do this is by selling a dream – by creating an environment viewers want to imagine themselves in.
How many of us have been put off a property by minor details? It could be as simple as flaking wallpaper, a tired facade or ageing fixtures.
In truth, these sort of flaws have simple, cost-effective solutions. But they break the spell for viewers. Remember – you’re not just selling bricks and mortar, you’re pitching a lifestyle.
Presenting a property that strikes viewers as chic, considered and ergonomic can make the world of difference. It adds value, but more than that, it sets you apart from other sellers. Humans are emotional beings: oftentimes, one single stunning feature can be the deciding factor between two otherwise similar properties.
And here’s the good news: there are so many simple ways you can make your property stand out, without breaking the bank. Transforming a house from fading to fabulous is likely much easier than you think – read on, as we run through ten easy, economical ways you can add value to your home, and set prospective buyers’ hearts’ fluttering.
1. Install a carport
Everyone knows garages are a good value-add – but they are also slow and expensive to build, and oftentimes might not blend ideally with the design of your house. A carport offers a stylish, modern alternative – providing many of the same benefits at a fraction of the price.
A carport does not have doors or walls – instead, they are usually made up of a freestanding roof, supported by posts or columns. They can act as freestanding structures, or can be attached to the external wall of your property.
Like garages, carports protect your vehicles against the elements, but can also double up as covered outdoor areas and a home for solar panels. What’s more, they are much more suited to smaller spaces, can often be installed in a single day and have been known to catch the eye of prospective buyers.
2. Rejuvenate your facade
Estate agents love to talk about ‘kerb appeal’ – and with good reason. First impressions mean a lot when you’re selling a house: studies suggest that a quarter of buyers decide on a property within 30 seconds of stepping through the door.
Yet, it’s not uncommon for vendors to obsess over the inside of properties, only to totally neglect the state of the building’s exterior. It makes sense: since we see our own homes everyday, it can be easy to overlook the degeneration that occurs over time.
We recommend standing back from your home, and taking a picture. If you can, compare it to images from when you brought the property. If there is rubbish or debris cluttering your facade, you’ll want to remove it. A pressure washer can give stone or brick a new lease of life, while freshening up your window sills could make a massive difference.
And if you’ve got the paint out, why not give your front door a fresh lick? A new coat will add value – but you may also want to think about a change of colour. White and black have long been popular choices, yet there’s also been a recent trend for pastels – which give a sense of warmth, character and whimsy.
3. Swap your wallpaper for paint
Once upon a time, motif wallpaper was all the rage. But come 2022, doesn’t it feel dated, tacky and a little out of step?
A number of industry experts suggest that wallpaper is fast falling out of fashion. It’s also a bit of a pain: unwieldy to apply and a hassle to strip. And does anything look scruffier than when it starts to peel or crack? A study by Hammond’s Furniture claims ugly wallpaper would deter 24 per cent of prospective buyers. That’s a big slice of your market to lose, for something that can so easily be fixed.
Replacing wallpaper with fresh paint is a simple way to add value to your home. What’s more, you can quickly transform your property’s character and feel without spending a fortune. Soothing greens and blues, as well as muted pinks, are en vogue right now; while ‘colour drenching’ – ie painting woodwork like skirting to match the colour of your walls – is a great way to establish a more contemporary feel.
4. Freshen up your kitchen
Traditionally, the kitchen is the heart of the home. So it’s only natural that it’s a huge concern for prospective buyers, who often end up paying considerably over the odds for stylish, modern and spacious kitchens.
We hear you – kitchen refurbs are notoriously expensive. But you might not need to rip everything out to breathe new life into your kitchen. Painting tiles, rather than retiling altogether, can be a cost-effective way to modernise and hide cracks or chips. Likewise, if your worktop has seen better days, covering it with vinyl could be an easy solution. Grease and grime can prove a major deterrent, so you’ll want to make sure walls are washed and appliances sparkling clean.
And don’t forget to consider lighting – which can have a transformative effect on a kitchen’s character. Go for warm, bright spotlights, and avoid harsh strip lighting at all costs.
5. Brighten up your bathrooms
Nothing deters prospective buyers more than unattractive, deteriorating bathrooms – freshening up bathing spaces could add real value to your home, and there are several ways to do so on a budget.
Much like in kitchens, tiles can be painted over rather than replaced altogether. Fresh, bright colours tend to work well for bathrooms – making the most of natural light can also help transform the space. Installing a new shower or freestanding bath can add wow factor, while under-sink storage units will alleviate clutter and help achieve a sleeker aesthetic.
Above all, bathrooms should sparkle and present as clean and hygienic – grubby, ageing spaces will badly dent your property’s value and send viewers running for the hills.
6. Refurbish fittings and fixtures
Old, tired-looking draws and cupboards can massively impact the character of your house – and often can deter prospective buyers without them even realising.
We get it: installing new draws and cupboards can be an expensive and thankless task. Instead, why not try reviving them with some simple DIY fixes?
Cabinets can be cheaply updated by glueing on painted MDF panels, and it’s oh-so simple to replace ageing fixtures with more striking, modern alternatives. The finer details around your house – things like taps, handles and lightbulbs – might at first glance seem inconsequential. But these aspects come to inform the overall aesthetic of your property: a close focus on the little things could have a mighty effect.
7. Transform spare space into a home office
Not so long ago, most of us spent a large part of our working week out of the house. But, over the past few years office culture has begun to break down – with more and more people working partially, or entirely, from the comfort of home. Indeed, the number of people who work from home rose 75 per cent between 2008 and 2018, a trend which shows no sign of reversing anytime soon.
It’s something you may want to consider if you’re putting your house on the market. A boxy, cluttered spare bedroom probably won’t do much to attract buyers – why not clear out the room and install a simple chair and desk. The prospect of a home office is a major boon for buyers; several industry experts have said installing one should be at the top of sellers’ to-do lists. After all, it requires very little effort – and could greatly enhance your property’s appeal.
8. Ergonomic storage solutions
Another growing priority for prospective buyers is storage space. Fitted wardrobes are popular but can be slow and costly to install, while clunky cupboards can be ugly and off putting.
That doesn’t mean you should give up altogether. In fact, creating ergonomic, cost-effective storage solutions might be much easier than you think.
Hanging hooks and open shelves can transform a kitchen – and bring character and warmth to a space. Likewise, try removing unwieldy cupboards and replacing them with hanging rails or wooden shelving, which can be easily built into nooks and corners. This should declutter your property and bestow a more contemporary feel – while providing a practical solution that sets buyers’ minds at ease.
9. Energy efficiency
Another major impact of the cost of living crisis has been spiralling energy prices. Consumers are increasingly scratching their heads over how to heat their homes through winter – moving forward, energy efficiency is bound to be a growing concern for buyers.
Making your home more energy efficient will cut down your bills – and make your property much more attractive. Nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg. Insulating your roof, external walls and your hot water tank is cheap, easy and will stop your house losing heat; as will draught-proofing doors and windows. Filling up gaps in the floorboards can make a big difference too, while switching to LED lights will also help bring down your bills.
And if you’re feeling fancy, you could even install a solar panel or two – after all, few things entice buyers as much as the tangible prospect of future savings.
10. Invest in your garden
Even if your house looks like it has fallen straight from the pages of Architectural Digest, it is unlikely to attract buyers if it’s flanked by an overgrown, underloved garden. Indeed, RatedPeople claims a weedy garden could drive your property’s value down by over £8,000 – while an enchanting verdant space can turn viewer into buyer quicker than almost anything else.
Plus, breathing new life into your garden is a pretty straightforward task. Replacing broken fences should be a priority – while mowing grass, trimming back hedges and adding a few potted plants can also quickly revive a space. If you want to think bigger, you could even install decking or create bordered areas to give your garden better framing. With a bit of hard work, and an ounce of imagination, it’s amazing what you can achieve.