20 Top Tips for Increasing the Value of your Home When Selling

Improving The Value of Your Home When Selling

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Maximise your property's appeal BEFORE calling in an estate agent

1. Spruce up the garden

Get rid of rubbish and garden waste. Keep your lawn in good condition and mow it. This includes using a strimmer to get in the tight corners and along the edges of paths and the house. Trim the hedges, get rid of weeds, and mulch the flowerbeds. If you don’t have much to work with, plant some flowers or install some landscaping appropriate for your home and climate.

2. Eliminate clutter inside the home.

If you’re going to be showing the house to potential buyers, get the house organized and get rid of clutter or put it in storage. A nice, tidy house will seem larger and more elegant.

3. Wash walls and windows.

It’s a lot cheaper to wash walls than to repaint, and many times a good cleaning will make your home look good as new. Clean your windows so that you can’t tell they’re there.

4. A fresh coat of paint

If your interior decor isn't up to scratch, add a fresh coat of paint. Sometimes you just really need to repaint, but you can do it yourself relatively cheaply on interior walls. A recent survey said that spending £1000 on painting and decoration could add around £3500 in value to your home.

5. Put up fresh curtains and blinds

Blinds and curtains are relatively inexpensive. Over time, the sun fades the colours from your blinds and curtains, so new ones will make a better impression than old ones.

6. Clean up the carpet

You can shampoo or steam clean your carpets. Apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and then vacuum. If all else fails, get a professional to do the carpets for you. You'd be surprised how much better your carpet will look after a good cleaning.

7. Install modern light switches and sockets

Some of the new style switches can be easily installed using the wires already running to the old switches. Just be sure to turn off the power to the room or entire house before doing any work. The new sockets look nice, and give the impression that the electrical wiring in the house is newer than it really is. Dimmer switches are especially desirable and can alter the mood of a room dramatically as well as disguising under-par paintwork.

8. Refinish kitchen cabinets

Outdated or worn cabinets can bring the whole kitchen down, but refinishing them is relatively cheap and easy to do. If you have a dark or small kitchen, make it look larger and brighter by using a lighter finish on the cabinets.

9. Lighting

Up the wattage of your light bulbs to make things even brighter. Just make sure you don't exceed the maximum specification for lamps and other lights. (You could use compact florescent light bulbs in order to make the room brighter without getting new fixtures, plus they save electricity meaning they save you money).

10. Remember the senses

Put out fresh flowers for your open house; they make even the most dungeon-like house look inviting. When using candles, remember to use scent sparingly; some people are more sensitive than others. Put radio 4 on quietly in the background (or something similar) the sound of a radio brings life to your home.

11. Shine a light

Consider turning on all the lights when the real estate agent arrives with potential buyers. This will help to brighten up your house on dull of winter days.

12. Do it yourself when possible

If you know what you’re doing, a little elbow grease and titivation can add a lot of value.

13. New Flooring?

As a last resort, consider flooring options. If your carpets are in a really bad condition, you can replace them, or you can restore the original hardwood floor. Hardwood floors are very popular right now, and in a lot of cases old houses have nice hardwood flooring underneath the carpet. Rip up a bit of carpet in a closet or other inconspicuous area to check the floor’s condition, and compare the price of restoring the hardwood to that of installing new carpet.

14. Painting quality

Don't be afraid to spend a few extra pounds on good paint rollers. Cheap rollers will make your walls look blotchy.

15. Remain neutral

Paint with a neutral colour. It will make the house seem larger, and it will be inoffensive to buyers.

16. Matt finish

If your walls have imperfections, such as dents in the drywall or cracks in the plaster, use a matt paint as opposed to a soft sheen of vinyl silk to hide those imperfections.

17. Strategic lighting

Use floor and table lamps in every room and sheer curtains to make your open house more inviting. Lamps give a softer light, and the curtains let in sunlight, which makes the room more home-like and less clinical.

18. Safety first

Check the main circuit breaker panel to see if the kitchen, bathroom and garage circuits are protected by RCD breakers. If not, install RCD consumer unit. Point this out to potential buyers, the safety value of this is immense.

19. Clean, clean, clean.

Nothing improves the value more, for so little, than a blinking good cleaning. Houses that look and smell clean have great market appeal. Even an older house with older appliances will fare well if everything is sparkling clean!

20. Don't get personal

Do not make any of your changes too personal - what you like may not be to everyone's tastes. Keep it simple, keep it elegant.


* Before doing any electrical work on the house, shut the power off to that room from the main circuit breaker. Shutting power off to the whole house is even safer.

* If you don’t feel comfortable making a repair or improvement, call in a professional. It’s better to pay to have the work done than to have to pay for extra damage you do.

* Follow the manufacturers’ recommendations for cleaning carpets, or you may do more harm than good.

* Always try to balance the cost of any improvement to the value it will add to the house. Many times, the improvement simply won’t be worth it.

* Improvements that might not be cost-effective in most housing markets might pay off in highly active or inflated markets.

* Most low voltage bulbs don't work with dimmer switches, so be careful not to put them together. Unless the bulb's packaging indicates dimmer compatibility, assume that a dimmer will not work.

The Building Sheriff
Home Improver

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