Home improvement can either cost a small fortune or no more than some elbow grease and a bit of time, depending on your budget. Whether you spend money or effort, the result is the same: a more desirable property that’s attractive to buyers when it comes time to sell, and is more pleasant to live in in the meantime.
Here, in no particular order, are the improvements that have the biggest impact.
Tackle the Little Things
Often, viewers notice small defects before large ones, and equally often these are the very things you stop noticing yourself when you’ve lived with them for a while. What kind of things?
• Squeaky door hinges – spray them with WD40, or a bit of furniture polish in a pinch, to get the hinges running silently again.
• Peeling wallpaper – mix a small batch of wallpaper paste and stick lifting corners down. If it’s hard to get paste behind the paper, try smearing some paste on a sheet of copier paper (like you use in your printer) then easing this behind the wallpaper. Smooth the whole lot down, then slide the paper out from behind the wallpaper before wiping over to remove any air bubbles. Just sticking the edges down again can freshen up the appearance of the decor.
• Popped light bulbs. Maybe you don’t use the area where the bulb has gone so you’ve stopped bothering about it, but when buyers come to view it would be handy to have that area illuminated. In any case, Murphy’s Law states this is the one bulb they’ll flick the switch for.
• Stained baths and fixtures. Use limescale removers or grout whiteners, polish up chrome tap fittings and replace broken or tired plugs. In bathrooms and kitchens, little things make a big difference.
Install Fast Broadband
It may not sound like a home improvement but a good Internet connection has been likened to the fourth utility after water, electricity, and gas. Given the choice between two similar properties, one with superfast broadband and one without, the one with the fastest download time wins more often than not.
Smarten up the Exterior
From simple, inexpensive projects such as flowerpots and containers or hanging baskets, to costlier improvements like new windows and doors, anything you can do to improve the kerb appeal is worthwhile, especially in older properties. Don’t forget to look up to the roof, check the guttering for leaks or sagging areas and inspect the roof for slipped or missing tiles. Any of these things may not be a deal breaker, but getting them fixed can improve on the offer a buyer may make.
Have A Good Clean Up
Make sure everything sparkles from top to bottom, but most especially in kitchens and bathrooms. If you have wooden floors, get them waxed, and if you have carpets, get them professionally cleaned. Odours linger in carpets more than anything else, and are hard to detect when you live with them every day. Pet owners, especially, should be on their guard. Ask a trusted friend to be honest about pet smells in the house.
Declutter and Update
Just having expanses of clean and shining surfaces around the house opens up the atmosphere and creates a feeling of easy, comfortable living. All over the house, try to get rid of clutter by putting away unused items and finding somewhere to house small gadgets, charging cables and remotes or game controllers.
If you can update the kitchen, do so. Just installing new, modern work surfaces and buying new doors for existing cabinets gives a worn-looking room a face lift. The kitchen is the most important room in the house these days, so if you’re going to spend big anywhere, do it here.
Sometimes it takes looking around with fresh eyes, then tackling jobs and projects one by one. In the end, it’s worth the effort because, when it comes to selling, little things really can make a big difference.
Drew writes for Black Brick Property Agents.