When it comes to selling your house, every homeowner wants to maximise their potential sale price. While improvements like installing a new drive or converting your loft can require significant investment (not to mention time), other upgrades can be completed quickly and cheaply, yet can make your property much more appealing to potential buyers. Read on for our in-depth guide on how to add value to your home on a budget.
Make sure your front door creates the right first impression
You may only have one chance to impress a prospective buyer viewing your home, so don’t blow it by putting them off before they’ve even seen the interior. If your front door is in poor condition – dirty, with peeling paintwork and rusty house numbers – this could reflect badly on the rest of your property.
Create the right first impression by giving your door a fresh lick of paint and replacing the house numbers. With primer, undercoat and top coat, expect to pay no more than around £60 for materials. While you’re at it, hide your bins away ahead of a viewing, and if you’ve got a front garden, take the time to mow the lawn to ensure it looks as attractive as possible.
Declutter your living space
When it comes to adding value to your home on a budget, decluttering is one of the most effective methods – and best of all, it’s free. Ask yourself whether you really need to keep those assorted items of ephemera that we all seem to collect down the years; if the answer is no then take a trip to your nearest car boot sale or household recycling centre.
Getting rid of unsightly clutter will help viewers to understand whether there is sufficient room for their own possessions. Even better, it might encourage them to picture putting their own stamp on the house – this is much more difficult if it’s full to the brim with clutter.
Focus on the most important rooms
Having a limited budget for household improvements means you’ll want to concentrate your attentions in the right place. When it comes to impressing potential buyers, the kitchen and main bathroom will almost always be the rooms that grab their attention (for better or worse).
You don’t necessarily need to carry out a complete makeover to give your bathroom some wow factor. Replacing your old fixtures will improve your bathroom’s aesthetic and functionality, and needn’t require an expensive outlay. You can pick up a new chrome showerhead for as little as £10-15; expect to pay around £40 for a low-cost bathroom sink. Perhaps most importantly of all, give it a good clean ahead of any viewings. A clean bath and gleaming floor tiles can make a big difference to the overall appeal of your bathroom.
The kitchen is referred to as the “heart of the home” for a reason. A Lloyds Banking Group study found that one in three homeowners spend most of their time at home in the kitchen, so it’s no wonder that prospective buyers often place so much importance on this room.
Fortunately, you don’t need to buy a whole kitchen-full of new appliances to make it more attractive. Painting cabinets a neutral colour can often be just as effective as fitting new ones, and is a great way to cover up unsightly scratches. New cabinet handles are another quick and easy way to update your kitchen; prices start from as little as £5, but may be cheaper still when purchased as a set.
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Create a lighter, airier feel
Good lighting is crucial to showing off your house in the best way possible. Consider getting a second opinion from a friend or relative, as it’s easy to overlook slightly drab spaces in your own house. Bear in mind that, unfortunately, you’re unlikely to hold all of your viewings when the weather is sunny, so you’ll need to factor in the natural light that reaches your rooms when it’s overcast too.
If some rooms in your house appear a little dingy, improve them by adding some table, floor or side lamps – you shouldn’t have to spend much more than £30 to pick up a stylish floor lamp. Additionally, think about removing heavy curtains. They might be great at blocking out the street lamps, but a lighter alternative may help to brighten up darker spaces.
Secure planning permission
Pleasingly, this is one way to add value to your home on a budget without carrying out any physical work yourself. Potential buyers often like to know what changes – if any – they’ll be able to make in the future, so securing planning permission could help your home to stand out from other similar houses in the area.
The cost of applying for planning permission varies across the UK and will vary depending on the type of work to be carried out. We offer the following guidance, but we recommend speaking to your local authority before submitting an application.
At time of writing, in England, householder planning permission enables you to complete works to or extend a house (not a flat), including:
- Building a new garage or outbuilding
- Installing dormer windows
- Erecting garden walls
The fee for householder planning permission is currently £206. For information on other types of planning permission, check out Planning Portal – a joint venture between TerraQuest and the Department for Communities and Local Government – or read the up-to-date fees list here.
Applying for permission to extend, improve or alter an existing house costs £285 at time of writing. This covers a range of potential upgrades, such as:
- Adding gates, fences, walls and other means of enclosing a boundary
- Erecting a new building (not a dwellinghouse)
In Scotland, a wide range of improvements fall under the category of permitted development and therefore do not require planning permission. Full details on permitted development in Scotland can be found here. Visit mygov.scot for further information around getting planning permission, or use this automated fee calculator for projects that do require permission.
At time of writing, householder applications in Wales cost £190. This covers alterations or extensions to a single dwelling, including works within the property boundary. Visit the Welsh Planning Portal for information on how to apply.
Want to find out more about increasing the sale price of your home? Check out our in-depth guide “What Adds Most Value to a Home “.
Ready to sell your house? Take the first step by requesting a free, no-obligation property valuation today!
Correct at time of publication (20th November 2018). The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chancellors Group of Estate Agents Ltd or its subsidiaries. References to legislation, best practice and other matters with legal implications such as fees, rules and processes are included for information and editorial purposes only and are not authoritative, nor should they be interpreted as advice. When in doubt you should only take advice from an industry professional or solicitor where appropriate. E&OE.