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Eight easy ways to make your house more valuable

Posted by
Mike Rampton
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If you’re selling your house, there are a few pretty straightforward changes you can make to add thousands to its value

Houses cost a lot, yo. They cost so much money that getting on the property ladder can feel like a complete impossibility. Reading story after story about the housing situation, it can seem like you’ve got more chance of being eaten by a lion than buying a house, and that can get you down.

But once you do make it onto the ladder, a whole new set of problems begins. Eventually you’ll want to sell that house and buy another one, but both selling and buying cost money, and you probably want to move to a nicer place, so how can you go about getting as much money as possible for your original place?

There are a few relatively easy, relatively cheap things you can do to enhance the place and make it that little bit more valuable. With the massive prices houses command, a difference of a few percent translates into thousands and thousands of pounds, so if it works out you’ll be delighted you made the effort. 

1. Paint your door

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When Mick Jagger sang “I see a red door and I want to paint it black”, he wasn’t singing about attempting to increase the selling price of a house he was looking to get rid of… but he could have been! A survey by massive US real-estate site Zillow looked at 135,000 houses and found that places with black or charcoal grey doors consistently fetched higher asking prices than those with any other colour. That house above might be a delight to come home to every evening, but when the time comes to sell up, reach for the roller.

How much it’ll cost you: Up to about forty quid for some decent outdoor wood paint.

How much you’ll make: According to Zillow, up to US$6,271 (£4,710)

2. Add some quartz to your kitchen

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Zillow also found that property listings that specifically mentioned quartz countertops ended up fetching, on average, 6% more than those that didn’t. Obviously replacing the whole worktop with a big slab of crystal isn’t the cheapest thing to do, but unless your kitchen is unfeasibly big it should work out.

How much it’ll cost you: Up to £500ish per square metre, so it’s not a small investment

How much you’ll make: The average house price across the whole UK is £226,071, and adding 6% to that gets you to £239,635, which is an increase of £13,564 - not too shabby!

3. Mismatch your cabinets

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It’s another kitchen one - it’s one of the most important rooms in the house. In fact, Phil Spencer from Location Location Location says “If you are only going to improve one room, make it the kitchen.” Two-toned kitchens, also known as tuxedo kitchens, where the units don’t all match up, are having something of a moment - they add a bit of character while remaining conventional enough not to scare anyone off.

How much it’ll cost you: Anything from £20 for a few replacement doors to - well, the sky’s the limit really.

How much you’ll make: Zillow reckons places with cabinets of two different colours sell for US$1,547 more, which is about £1,163.

4. Warm it up

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If your house doesn’t have central heating, it won’t sell. You aren’t showing people a home, you’re presenting them with a task. Phil Spencer is adamant about this - get it sorted before selling and you’ll more than make your money back.

How much it’ll cost you: Between £1,000 and £3,000.

How much you’ll make: £5,000.

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5. Upgrade your bathroom

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Getting your whole bathroom done can cost a bomb, but replacing individual components can make it feel newer, nicer and generally more desirable without forking loads of money out. A set of new taps isn’t a big outlay, but can make a big difference. A heated towel rail, a big fancy shower head or a glass door instead of a shower curtain can all make the place feel slicker and more welcoming.

How much it’ll cost you: A set of taps starts at about £20.

How much you’ll make: It depends, but a new bathroom supposedly adds 3% to a house’s value, which on that £226,071 house is a cool £6,782.

6. Open it up

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Walls that aren’t load-bearing don’t really need to be there - buyers are generally interested in the amount of usable space rather than the number of rooms (downstairs, anyway), and knocking through can make a house feel bigger, increase the amount of natural light in there, and add up to 5% to the value of the place. 

How much it’ll cost you: If you’re extremely confident, you can do it yourself, but the consequences if it doesn’t go well could be pretty dreadful (see above). According to Quotation Check you’re probably looking at about two grand to get it done professionally.

How much you’ll make: On that average-priced house, that’s about £11,300. 

7. Remember the basics

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Clean your house before showing it to people! Take nice pictures for the websites it’ll be listed on, not crappy phone shots where you can barely see what’s going on! Tidy stuff out of the way so prospective buyers aren’t squeezing through a hallway full of bikes before they get into the house properly. Don’t, like, microwave a big load of haddock two minutes before they show up…

8. Remember where your house is

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This is less a way of adding value as a way of avoiding losing large amounts of money. Basically, you can’t make your house too nice for the street/area/place surrounding it or it’ll never shift. If all the rest of the houses on your street cost £250,000, and you’ve done a massive extension and got a posh kitchen and want a million quid, it just isn’t going to happen.  

(Pics: Pixabay)