Our initial intention to write a quick piece on our top tips for home selling quickly extended to a 3-part series (a trilogy if you will). In the first part we looked at what the reasons for selling are and asked the question: “What am I trying to get out of this process and what do I really want to avoid?” In part 2 we are going to look at the top improvements which can really make a difference; remember that adding value is only one part of this, for some creating a property which sells quickly and easily is of equal importance.
The old cliché of creating a spacious property stands true in nearly all scenarios and what better way to create a feeling of space than adding actual physical space to the footprint of your property? Whether you are extending out, up or down there is a good chance for those who live in London that it will add value to your property. London property values are such that on a per square foot basis the cost of building is significantly less than the value of the space created, see this great interactive map from the guys at www.findproperly.co.uk to find average values in your area.
Of course, not all extending costs the same and it depends on the spec you go for. As a rough guide simple loft conversions are the cheapest as you already have the space and are just making it liveable, prices start from around £150 per sq ft. Next up is extending out (normally into the garden) where you can expect to pay around £250 per sq ft. The most expensive form is digging down to create a new basement, prices can vary hugely depending on the individual circumstances (although this can be reduced by getting your neighbour to do it at the same time) but in many parts of London this still works out cheaper than the value of the space created.
The second half of the cliché is to create a light environment. The most important point to remember on lighting is that this does not simply mean turn all the dimmer switches up to 11, instead you should make full use of natural light and artificial light should be carefully planned.
Natural light is the best type of light, not only because it is free but it is also the most forgiving and complimentary. Firstly, the obvious take away from this, you should make sure you photo your property during the day time and try to arrange viewings for when it is light. To maximise the natural light you can go extreme and knock out a new window or, far more simply, make sure that existing windows are clean and the space around them uncluttered. This means limited items on the sills, curtains pulled back (or fully removed) and the layout of the room orientated to take advantage of the opening.
The best artificial lighting solution will depend on the style of home and the target market, an area we can advise you on. Recessed downlights are very popular as they are small and neat, but they should only be used in the right circumstances and if a false ceiling needs to be fitted to accommodate them, you may decide it is not cost effective. Clever lighting in bathrooms, under shelving etc can create great features that leave a lasting impression on buyers.
Floors, with absolutely no exceptions that we can think of, are in every room in a property. This means that it will get noticed and it is just as much about not getting it wrong, as it is about getting it right. There are no hard and fast rules here as it depends on property type and style, but a few generalisations can be made.
Cheap floors look, well, cheap! Laminate, lino etc looks and feels nasty and anyone with any home-pride will want to change these as soon as they buy a property, so avoid having them in the first place.
Where possible, a continuous flow of flooring should be sought after. That is not to say that you should try to have every room with the same flooring, but too many breaks and thresholds create a cluttered feel.
Make sure it is fitted properly. It may seem like an obvious thing to say, but it is easy to cut corners on flooring and when you do it is very obvious. If the sub-floor is not level then it is impossible to hide and you will get lumps and craters. Equally where the flooring meets the wall it should be finished properly to create a seamless joint.
4. Kitchens and Bathrooms
For many the jury is out as to whether a new kitchen or bathroom can really add value, for us at Propia however we know the answer, or at least we know how to find the answer. As always it depends on the individual circumstances, but it is only through knowing what to look for and where to find it that you can understand if a new kitchen or bathroom will add value and those expertise are exactly what we offer.
The kitchen and bathroom are one of the few areas where the fittings are typically sold with the property. This means that a buyer will want to see something they like, but it also means that you have the chance to create an impressive feature that can make the difference.
There is a huge variety in spec for both kitchens and bathrooms so costs can vary greatly, but our own experience proves without a doubt that these can be accretive to value if designed and fitted correctly.
If you are lucky enough to have outdoor space then do not neglect this. Buyers will pay a premium for a property with a garden and so by implication they will pay even more for one with a clean, tidy and well-kept garden. Common sense prevails here, but do not be tempted to pave or deck the whole space, the value of real grass and flower beds should not be under estimated.
6. Decoration and Furnishing
This really is the icing on the cake, it is the first thing buyers will notice and if done badly can put a buyer off in the first few seconds; humans are very fickle people and if they don’t like the decor and furnishing they will find reasons not to like the rest of the property, even if they can change these for relatively little expense once they move in.
Decoration should be kept mostly neutral throughout, but do not be tempted to just paint all walls in the dreaded magnolia. A bit of creativity can create features which will leave a lasting impression.
The first rule of furniture is to make sure you use it, an empty property is a cardinal sin as most buyers struggle to picture using each room with a few prompts and props. Nonetheless, keep the furnishing simple and not overly large (eg. regular double bed instead of a king size) to help make the property feel as large as possible.
The overall point is that what you get out of your property is a function of what you put into it, don’t be tempted to cut corners or just ignore an obvious improvement; your property is one of the biggest investments you will ever make and a little bit of effort can make a big bit of difference.