UK house prices are experiencing their sharpest drop since 2009, leading many homeowners to worry about how much they can expect to get for their property when they sell.
Latest data from Nationwide indicates that the average cost of a UK home fell to £260,828 in July, 3.8% less than in the same month last year, and the biggest annual decrease in 14 years.
This follows a slump in purchases in recent months, due in large part to high interest rates pushing up mortgage rates, as well as prospective homebuyers struggling to save up deposits amidst the cost of living crisis. Nationwide said there had been 86,000 home purchases in June, 15% lower than June 2022.
If you’re worried about your home losing value, particularly if you are planning to sell soon, remember that there are always things you can do to boost its appeal and hopefully bump up its value a little bit.
Changes don’t always have to be massive home improvements either (though these often don’t hurt if you can afford them!) Whatever your budget is, here’s our list of seven things you can do to add value to your home.
1. Think about first impressions
First impressions really do matter, and the way your home looks from the street can have an impact on its value, potentially boosting it by up to 2% or 3%.
There are lots of things you could try in order to increase your property’s kerb appeal. For example:
- Give the front door a fresh coat of paint, or fit a new knocker or handle
- Make sure the house number is clearly visible, or buy a new sign
- Spruce up the front garden (if you have one) and make sure it’s free from weeds
- Put up hanging baskets (or plants on the windowsill that can be seen from outdoors)
- Clean the brickwork and windows.
The amount you can do will of course depend on your budget and the type of property you have, but there are almost always small ways you can make your home look that bit more appealing from the outside.
2. Do a deep clean
Dirt and grime throughout your home, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens, are an easy way to turn off homebuyers and property valuation experts.
Taking a day or two to focus on cleaning your home top to bottom is usually well worth the hassle. It’s not always the most appealing idea, especially given how much cleaning products can cost, but our article Seven effective natural cleaning products which cost pennies to make contains several cleaning product substitutes which are easily made at home and will cost you much less.
Pay close attention to any areas or tasks you might not normally tick off in a regular clean. Make sure to deep clean your carpet for instance, or think about varnishing your floor boards. Try to get the bathroom looking spotless if you can, as Rightmove data found that dirty bathrooms are one of the biggest deterrents for potential homebuyers.
You don’t need to do a total clearout, but if you’ve been putting off getting rid of some of your things then this could be a great opportunity to sort out your stuff.
Decluttering will help your home look tidier and more spacious to buyers and make it easier for them to imagine their own things there. Not only that, but it can be a path to a bit of extra income if you know the right place to sell your things. Check out our article How to make money from your clutter for some tips.
Alternatively, our article How to declutter and reorganise your home might be of help if the idea of a full declutter has you feeling overwhelmed and you don’t know where to start.
4. Repaint and redecorate
If you are set on selling your home then it can be a good idea to redecorate and give it a bit more of a neutral feeling. Like decluttering, this gives prospective homebuyers more opportunity to project their own vision onto the space.
Repainting walls to neutral colours such as white or cream is an easy way of doing this, since the supplies aren’t too expensive. Take your time on this and avoid getting paint on skirting boards and window sills for a clean, professional look.
5. Keep any period features
If you live in an old home with some features from a particular era intact, then this is usually good for your property value, as they add a sense of character and authenticity to a home.
If your home has a fireplace, for instance, don’t cover it up – or if you have already done so, see if it’s possible to restore. Wall features like skirting boards, door frames, picture rails, coving or cornicing from a particular era, similarly, are typically a huge plus. Sometimes these features will be buried under decades worth of paint, so consider stripping these off if you want to see them at their best. Likewise, restoring old floor tiles to their former glory with a thorough clean is cheaper – and may look much nicer – than getting new ones put in.
After all, it’s generally much easier to get rid of features like this than it is to replace them, so even if they’re not every buyer’s cup of tea, you’re usually much better off keeping them.
6. Spruce up any unused rooms
You may have a room in your house that doesn’t see much day-to-day use, such as a garage, cellar, attic, loft or spare bedroom. Making these spaces look smart and like they belong with the rest of the house is a great value-boosting idea – you want another room to really feel like another room, rather than a dumping ground for bits and pieces you don’t know what to do with.
Include any rooms like this in your deep clean and declutter, especially if you are mainly using them for storage. You don’t have to go all out converting these if you don’t have the budget for it, but see if you can get them into a state where you wouldn’t think twice about showing them to a potential buyer.
7. Consider home improvements
Not everyone can afford to make expensive home improvements, but there’s no denying that they can provide a serious boost to a home’s value. For example, redesigning and refitting a room such as a kitchen or bathroom can set you back several thousand pounds, but can be worth it when it comes time to sell if done right. If you are keen to take on a bigger project but aren’t sure where to find the funds, our article How to pay for home improvements suggests a few ways to finance home improvements.
That said, not all renovations have to break the bank. Our article 10 home renovations that are cheaper to do yourself explores how you can increase your home’s appeal without having to spend a fortune.
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