It’s nearly eight years since the housing market emerged from its slump after the financial crisis. But thanks to government money, none of the imbalances in the system ever really left. Instead, government and central bank money have propped up the housing market, turning it into a zombie economy.
The Independent newspaper recently reported that house sales have barely improved since the crisis, sitting at around half the level they were before the financial crisis.
According to Robin Chatwin, a real estate manager at Savills estate agents, too many people think about how home improvements will improve their own lives. In these difficult financial times, this is the wrong approach. He says that people should focus on making home improvements that tailor their homes to the tastes and preferences of buyers.
So what do the experts recommend that people do to make their homes more attractive?
Home Improvement #1: Extend
According to the evidence, extending the square footage of your home to make space for an office or a gym is the most profitable way in which to improve your home. According to data from a 2012 study by multinational bank HSBC, the best way to extend a home is to get a loft conversion. They found that a simple loft conversion could boost the value of the average home by an average of £16,000.
Chatwin says that loft conversions are relatively easy to do and don’t cause a lot of disturbance to everyday family life. A company called Loft Conversion UK says that a good way to work out how much extra money a loft conversion will add to the sale price of your house is to take the total square footage of your attic and multiply it by 1200.
Some loft conversions require planning permission so you might need the help of an architect. Finally, look at local houses in your area and get a feel for how much extra money additional bedrooms add to the price of properties.
It should be pointed out that a bad way to extent your property is to create a basement. Basements are the most expensive and disruptive way to add extra space to your home. You could wind up paying more than £300 per square foot, making it unlikely that you’d ever see a return on your investment. Basements sound cool in theory but rarely work in practice.
Home Improvement #2: Focus On The Kitchen
If you’ve only got enough money to improve one room, make sure that that room is the kitchen. Thanks to services like Swift Money Payday Loans, it’s usually relatively easy to get the money need to make an investment in your kitchen. Often, there’s no reason to pay for an entire refit of every cupboard and sink. Usually, all that’s required is a lick of paint and changing a few handles and door knobs. If your cabinets look like they are in poor condition, another option is to get them refaced with modern fascia’s.
Spending money on an upgraded kitchen is a good investment, according to HSBC. According to their data, an updated kitchen added more than £4,577 to the selling price of a house.
Home Improvement #3: Refurbished Exterior
The majority of properties aren’t new-builds. Instead, they’re houses that were built in the period just after the second world war. As a result, many homes start to show their age and need maintenance.
For buyers, this is a big no-no. Buyers want something that looks new, given that they are parting with so much money. Because of this, sellers need to focus on making their homes look as if they are in good condition and as new-looking as possible.
The first place to start is by decluttering the driveway, buy a new door knob for the front door, and repaint and window frames that are peeling.
The next step is to focus on the inside. The best way to make your home look brand new is to repaint interiors. The average paint job costs around £1,000 – less if you do it by yourself. Combined with a tidy home and clean windows, a new paint job can do a lot to reverse the ravages of time and make your home look as if it has been barely lived in.
Brendan Cox of Guildford estate agents, Waterfords, says that spending money on the appearance of a property can help speed up the sale process. Things, like decluttering the house and making it look more like a showroom, he says, can make it a lot more likely to sell.