There’s more to increasing value of your home than a clever paint job or installing a new kitchen. A classy paint job in “now” colours may increase value. White walls won’t add or detract. And vile colours, accent walls and other frippery will probably put off buyers and even reduce value. So what can you do?
1. A really good shower
There are redundant bath tubs up and down the country. Everyone loves the idea that they might actually sit in a luxurious bath and relax. We all know that happens once a year and it’s a bit overrated. A really good shower, on the other hand, now we ARE talking. The optimal shower has a number of elements. First is size. My simple test is whether I stand under the shower head and hold both of my arms out without touching a wall? Tick. Is the shower head and piping made of copper of bronze? Tick. Is the shower head massive? Tick. Is the flow of water so huge that you might almost drown if you stand under it? Tick! Is there a shelf (rather than a nasty metal basket) in the shower to put your stuff? Tick. Is the choice of tile something that cleans easily and won’t discolour and get gross over time? Tick. Is there too much glass? Or can you simply walk into it? The smaller the amount of glass the better. And did you get the lighting right so it’s adjustable and funky rather than old fashioned or from B&Q? Tick. Getting a shower right is so important. Avoid shower curtain devices, plastic curved doors, small cubicles and shower heads that look more like microphones than shower heads.
2. Underfloor heating
If you have stone or tiles on a bathroom or even kitchen floor. Make sure you fit underfloor heating. Pads or a full piped system. Whichever system you have, it’s going to be buried under your floor so just remember that if the system fails, it will be expensive to fix. Get a proper guarantee for any work done. Do make sure that the system you install is easy to operate. If it’s complex, it will never work and you’ll be cross and buyers won’t be impressed!
3. Wooden floors
We all know a really good wooden floor will make for a great sales feature of a house. Whether it’s bare boards, a polished herringbone or a painted original board. If it’s fitted well and authentic, a buyer may even pay a premium. There are a lot of engineered wooden floor systems out there. Most are horrid and if the fitting is poor, and a proper skirting solution not found, prepare for buyers to be put off. Best to avoid laminate flooring solutions altogether. Steer clear of overly engineered and polished surfaces and boards that come as blocks rather than planks.
4. Ceiling speakers, lights and wiring
Too many people ignore how important lighting and wiring actually is when getting a house ready to sell. Get it right and again your buyer will subconsciously pay more. If you are having recessed ceiling lights, think very carefully about where they go and how many circuits you have. Make sure the light switches and plug sockets match and where possible use in ceiling light systems that recess the bulb. Even better are the fittings that are magnetic that allow of an easier change of bulb. Shiny brass and silver are most definitely out. You’ll still get away with brushed steel but you’re better off using anything bronze or copper related. A well placed LED strip on a separate circuit can add ambience to a room, allow background lighting and be visually effective. Under shelves and recessed areas can work very well. Avoid mixing your bulbs and if you are going LED, think about which kind of white you want and be consistent. A really good speaker system, preferably wireless that can be accessed through the Wi-Fi is best but do remember that any buyer may not have the right system so choose carefully and always ask how easy connectivity is and be prepared to leave the kit behind.
5. Aga, wood burner and open fires
Burners and ovens eat through energy. They are a fantasy but running costs don’t matter. Autumnal and winter evenings is when these devices come into their own. The smell they emanate but also the order they give a room or space. Be sure to plan your room carefully and don’t apply them as an afterthought.
Expensive additions to a home can end up valueless or simply going on a skip the next time a property changes hands. Yet well placed and well thought out systems have many years of life in front of them. Similarly, if you are clever about your choices and skilled in your design and palate, you will add value every time. One last point which was made to me years ago is that a well-placed vintage light or lantern does wonders for a space. Of course, the added benefit here is that you can take the fixture with you. Yet if it “makes” a space? You’ve received value without having to put your hands into your pocket.
James Max is a qualified chartered surveyor and presents the Business Breakfast on TalkRADIO every weekday between 5 and 6.30am
@thejamesmax on twitter