19 steps to a more valuable home

Dig out the paintbrush and toolbox, it's time to DIY

Following the recession, small Changing Rooms style-improvements didn’t offer the same return on investment we expected. However, a job well done can still offer rewards that chalk-up thousands of pounds. 

Quidco Discover speaks to trade professionals about the add value jobs that will get you the right returns…

Bigger projects

If you have the time and money, some big projects can also yield big rewards:

Knocking down walls – Can maximise the amount of usable space available as long as the walls aren’t load-bearing. Create larger open spaces that are attractive to potential buyers and remove the nagging question of what to do with the pokey cupboard under the stairs

Conservatory – As well as an additional room to relax in, experts taking part in the 2012 Home Improvement Survey valuation from HSBC cite adding a conservatory could increase the value of your home on average by £9,240. With packages available from as little as £3,500 all the way up to £50,000 it’s worth remembering just because you spend more doesn’t mean it’s going to add more value to the price of your home.

Double glazing – can add value to your  home, plus will improve the insulation levels thus reducing your energy bills

If you undertake any major structural changes to your home, make sure to keep your insurer up to date. Major changes to your home may affect your buildings insurance.

To see what if any difference they’ll make to the price of your insurance, you may want to run a home insurance quote before starting work.

Apply for planning permission

Believe it or not, it is possible to add value to your home without actually having to make any changes to your home by simply getting plans approved for changes.

It creates an attractive prospect for potential buyers knowing that if they’ve got the funds and motivation to do a loft conversion or build an extension, it’s all been pre-approved by the local council.

If it sounds like something you’d be interested in pursuing, take a look at the Gov.uk planning portal.

Get busy in the garden

Giving the garden a spruce up can give a new lease of life to your outdoor spaces whilst improving the overall look and value of your home, some quick (and potentially low cost) wins could be:

  • Repainting  fences, furniture and pots
  • Taking the rubbish like rotting garden furniture and broken swing to the tip
  • Buying some new potted plants

Or consider a complete garden overhaul with a new patio and lawn, prices range from £2.08 a slab up to £14.50.

Let the light in

“The aesthetics in character properties are significant, and the windows in particular must be in keeping with the style of the house and replaced like-for-like where possible,” instructs builder, Steve Gilbert.

A surveyor can advise if your choice new windows will impact on your property value positively, but a good replacement job is thought to increase the window value by 75%. If replacing all the windows in one go, the contractors will be on-site installing them for a full day, at least, so you might be able to negotiate the labour costs down.

Emphasise size with multiple seating spaces

Add a table and chairs to the garden, an arm chair next to the bookcases, a nursing chair in the bedroom, and perhaps a second-hand chaise lounge in the bathroom. The illusion of space pumps up the ‘lifestyle value’ of your home, and imply roominess for buyers who see beyond the furnishings.

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Paint the house

It might sound like a simple one, but giving the outside of your home a new lick of paint can freshen it up and make it stand out against neighbours’ homes.

If you’re short on time and don’t have a head for heights, you can get away with paying a professional to do the job for you (expect to pay anywhere from £100 – £1,000).

Sort out the guttering

Making sure guttering is clear and working properly can help avoid water backing up and creating potential damp issues. All it takes is a head for heights, a ladder and a bucket to get started.

If you find any of it needs replacing, basic guttering starts as low as £3.99 for 2 metres but could save you thousands in the long-run.

Build new vantage points

“Space should be the key driver when deciding where to expand your home. An extension is a great selling point,” says Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). According to a survey by Zopa, a conservatory could add value of up to 108%, lining your pocket with an extra £5,750 during a house sale.

If you’d like to go off-piste, investigate alternatives such as an orangery (which has a lower percentage of roof glass than a conservatory), or a roof light to draw the outside in.

Fix broken roof tiles

Whilst you’ve got the ladder out, why not fix those broken roof tiles. As well as making the roof watertight, they’ll improve the overall appearance of the roof. Single tiles might cost less than a pound and you might even have some old ones cluttering up the garage.

Depending on the type of roof you have you may want to get a professional in to do the job for you.

Invent A Room

If you’re looking to move and have a bedroom to spare, create a desirable ‘hobby’ space to ignite your buyer’s imagination. A studio or writing room is easily brought together with just a comfortable desk and chair, and a sprinkling of well-placed props. Alternatively, if your home is in a family-friendly area, decorate it as a nursery by picking up very affordable second-hand baby items, such as a cot, from Freecycle.

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Redecorate the house

As well as looking at the outside of the house you may want to sort parts of the interior that are looking a little dated. A roll of wallpaper can cost from as little as £3.98 for 10 metres and alongside some new light fittings to brighten up your interior, you can be on your way to a plush new home.

Neutral Knows Best

“Make your improvements and decorations neutral,” says Tony Passmore, director of Passmores, a timber manufacturing firm. “For example, install a modern functional kitchen or bathroom rather than something wacky and ‘out there’. You need to match the personal choice of potential purchasers so hitting middle ground is a good tip.”

And the contractors agree: “Purple was all the rage a few years ago” says Jo, from Jo Simon Contraction Ltd, “but if you had a purple kitchen now, you may struggle to sell your house at the right price.” According to survey data, new kitchens offer the lowest return on investment, so go to Ikea and pick a good-quality, durable range for as little as £50 a month.

New carpets

Replacing old, dusty and worn carpets with new ones can make your home appear more presentable and welcoming. If you’re planning on moving out soon, don’t go for strong or light colours just because you like them, you’re better off picking something in a neutral colour that’s going to appeal to most tastes.

According to the 2012 HSBC survey, re-carpeting the home, which can cost as little as £5.49mcan increase the value of a property by £1,783.

Reveal original features

If you don’t fancy the idea of new carpet and prefer the feel of a traditional wooden floor under your feet, it’s worth stripping back the carpet to see what’s hidden beneath.

You might be surprised to find some attractive wooden floorboards just asking for a little bit of TLC. To get them looking their best you’ll need to give them a going over with an electric floor sander (available to rent from a local tool hire company from around £50 a day) then buff them up with some varnish.

Call The Experts

A buyer will commission a HomeBuyer Report or Full Structural survey of your home (depending on its age), and anything undesirable could cause a sale to fall through. Call a surveyor of your own, and use their investigation to create a 12-month DIY improvement calendar.

Tackle the undesirable features of the survey one at a time; replace faulty roof tiles, modernise the plumbing and electrics, buy a new boiler, and polish the surface-level details of the house. You’ll add thousands of pounds to your house in just one year, and assure any potential buyers that the house is well maintained and easy to move into.

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Resist feature extractor fan hoods

We’re confused. Is this an extractor fan hood, or a glitter ball? According to Jo, extractor fans are a ‘love them or hate them’ feature in kitchens. If it’s too daring, buyers start calculating how much it’s going to cost them to rip out and start again, so if you’re trying to add value, stick to something more subtle. This model is chic and clean, (and a snip at £69.99), but Jo has something specific in mind if you’ve got more than £100 to spare: “Fit a ceiling flush mounted hood, giving higher extraction levels. They’re not very visible to the eye.”

Lofty ideas

A loft conversion could cost an eye-watering £100 per square foot. While it’s hardly a budget option, it’s significantly more affordable than a £35,000 extension. If renovators invest £24,000, they could anticipate a £12,000 boost to home value. Jo suggests that light is a key sell for loft conversions: “Ensure that doors have lighting integrated, and they turn on when opening. It’s an appearance of luxury for very little extra expense. You can never have enough light so whether you are having dormers and/or VELUX, go for as large a size as possible and for as many as you can, because the room will appear lighter and more luxurious to any potential house viewer.”

Bespoke storage

If you have an older house, it could have all kinds of unusual corridors, eaves and spaces where your home has been halved into terraces, quartered into flats and redefined over the years. Use the architectural curiosities to your advantage and invest in bespoke in-built storage to make the space useful. Jo says: “Under eaves you can fit painted sliding doors, with lighting and perhaps integral shelving, where items can be neatly stored away.” A local carpenter will be more affordable than recognisable brand names, but explore affordable online providers too such as SpaceSlide.

Mr. Muscle just won’t do

All the elbow grease in the world won’t improve a 20-year old limescaled and worn bathroom. Why fight a new shiny new bathroom suite, that’ll give you a healthy £4,900 return on your investment? A contemporary design and new fittings could cost you as little as £500, and a beautiful tiled floor won’t cost the earth if you learn to lay the tiles yourself. If you want to go plush, pick up some luxurious linens and towels to add a contrasting texture to the room.

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