Before you start thinking about putting your house on the market, it’s worth taking stock and making any alterations that would give you a better chance of achieving your asking price. Whatever you choose to do, it is a good idea to speak to a local estate agent about the sort of features that make the most difference when selling in your area.

Improvements which create a sense of space, privacy and give a great first impression will increase saleability. It’s important to not over-personalise the décor so it appeals to future buyers, and will allow them to adapt the property to fit their own needs. In one of our member surveys, half of estate agents think that adding a bedroom (usually a loft conversion) adds the most value, while a third of agents thought a new kitchen was the best choice. 

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Mark Hayward Former Chief Policy Advisor | Propertymark

How much is my house worth?

Based on the Land Registry's data for November 2021, the average price of property sold in the UK is outlined in the table below. Remember, these are national averages and it may be that certain property types are more appealing in your area. You can use the Land Registry to generate a free report and research property sales in your area.

Detached house Semi-detached house Terraced house Flat
£428,134 £261,325 £217,340 £223,078

10 quicker wins for adding value before selling

1. Redecorate

Redecorating is the most popular home improvement and adding a lick of paint can be done at a relatively low cost. Neutral colours are most appealing to house buyers and can go a long way to giving your home a new lease of life, so do not be afraid to pick up the paintbrush.

2. Fix superficial defects

While unlikely to be the clinching factor in a house sale, small problems and defects can create an impression of a house being run down or not well cared for. Bigger issues (like damp) should not be covered up as they will show on a survey and come back to haunt you later on. 

Things to look out for include:

  • peeling paint
  • dirty walls, especially near door frames and light switches
  • dripping taps
  • squeaky floors, doors or stairs
  • mouldy sealant in kitchens or bathrooms
  • limescale build-up on kitchen and bathroom fittings
  • badly fitted laminate flooring
  • broken lightbulbs
3. The front door

First impressions count and the front door of your home can say a lot about the rest of the house to first-time viewers. If you cannot afford to replace the door, make sure it looks new by giving it a power wash or fresh coat of paint. Even a new doorknob, house number or name plaque can help. Try to make your front door look smarter than your neighbours’ to help your property stand out. 

4. Declutter

Never underestimate a tidy, clean room and pay special attention to high-impact rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom. You should also consider whether there’s too much furniture in each room as it can make the property feel smaller. 

5. Heating and lighting

If you're not at home, preset the heating to come on ahead of a scheduled viewing. Potential buyers will want to know that your central heating works well and feel comfortable in your home if it's cold outside. Good lighting will also be essential on a drab day so having lamps on in dark corners will help. It's better for the viewing to take place in daylight but if a potential buyer is coming after dark then turn any outside lights on.

6. Garden appeal

If you have a front garden, spend a little time sprucing it up. A few plant pots and a clear pathway can make the front of your house more appealing helping with the first impressions.

Out the back a well-designed garden can add a great deal of value, it should feel like an extra space for entertaining or relaxing, rather than an expanse of grass. It's essential to trim borders, clear pathways and cut back any overgrown trees or bushes, particularly if they block direct sunlight into the property. 

An area of decking creates a sense of bigger usable living space and three per cent of homes sold in 2019 were even found to have a summerhouse in the garden, giving owners more space to relax and entertain in the brighter weather.

7. Create a driveway / off-road parking

In some areas of the country, the ability to park close to your front door comes at a huge premium and therefore, if you have the room to add off-street parking, you are sure to increase value.

8. Look smart and be energy efficient

Smart home technologies are increasingly important to buyers - just advertising the presence of fibre optic cables in your area could be enough to encourage buyers. Statement systems like multi-room music platforms can also make a difference.

Double glazing will also help retain heat (and keep noise out). Smart technology such as Hive, which gives mobile control over heating systems, is a feature worth considering. If a home improvement moves your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) up a band could add thousands to the sale price!

9. Makeover the kitchen

Kitchens are often the main focus for many buyers, it may be the first thing they look to replace or pay more for if a property has one they like. You may not be able to afford a whole new kitchen but, for a relatively small budget, painting units or replacing cupboard handles or doors are great alternatives. Good lighting and clutter-free, clean surfaces will also make a big difference. 

10. Fresh bathrooms

In the bathroom, re-grouting, eliminating all limescale and replacing taps are good options. Bathrooms need to look fresh and hygienic, so paint the walls a neutral shade and ideally add a new shower curtain or a standard glass screen. In 2019, new bathrooms were fitted in 29 per cent of homes which sold that year so could be the key to selling fast and earning more.

Bigger projects which add value to your home

Big projects like loft conversions, adding a conservatory or converting a garage are big projects with big rewards. In fact, 22 per cent of homes sold in 2019 had an extension added; increasing a property's value and making them more appealing to buyers. In some areas of the country, the ability to park close to your front door comes at a huge premium. You are sure to increase the value if you have the room to add off-street parking. 

If you can’t afford an extension or conversion, it might be worth obtaining planning permission to do so at a later date. You would have to spend money on drawing up the designs and getting a survey, but it would remove a big element of doubt from a potential buyer’s mind if they know the council has already approved an extension.

Don't devalue your home

Swimming pools

Swimming pools are not generally considered an attractive house feature in the UK. They’re expensive to maintain, use up a lot of space and the UK weather plays a part meaning that for a lot of people they are more fuss than what they’re worth and can deter potential buyers. If your property has an outside swimming pool, especially one that is run down, you might want to consider filling it in. 

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The dangers of Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed can jeopardise the sale of a property. This guide covers what to look out for and what your options are if you believe it exists on your property.

Planning permission and building regulations

If you have had any work carried out such as extensions or conversions, make sure you obtained the appropriate planning permission and building regulations and have the relevant documents. If you haven’t, you may find that you must pay for them retrospectively before a sale can be agreed. 

Are you Propertymark Protected?

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If you’re looking to sell your home and need advice on how to maximise saleability, a Propertymark Protected agent will be able to guide you through the process and help ensure your property ticks all the right boxes for potential buyers. Choosing the right estate agent will have a big impact on how quickly you sell your house, and at what price.

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