Choosing House Updates that Hold Their Value



Housing markets could once be described as steady and reliable, but recent decades have seen shake-ups. Owners once confident in their investments lost massive equity during the global downturn, and as worldwide real estate markets have stabilised, conditions in the UK continue to frustrate some would-be owners.

It is no secret that affordable housing inventory in the UK is not sufficient – an understatement in prime areas, like London and other urban centres. So many would-be buyers are locked-out, hoping for access to something they can realistically afford. Even current owners are unable to make desired moves, believing a good thing is hard to beat and staying-put might be the best approach. Seeking the best of both worlds, many are turning to sensible improvements to freshen their environs, without moving house.

Time-Tested Approach Still Holds True

If you are like most home owners, there are a number of things you’d like to change about your property. From minor tweaks to major renovations, improving form and function can indeed become an obsession, as one upgrade leads to the next. From a financial standpoint, however, some house improvement spending doesn’t provide the same returns as other renovation investments. As a result, it helps to answer a few questions before launching improvement projects.

What is your budget? – Even professional estimators miss the mark, at times, so your preliminary spending forecast is not carved in stone. It is important to establish limits before launching, preventing your well-intentioned project from becoming an unmanageable financial burden. Whether or not your house updates focus on your personal comfort or gaining the best returns on an upcoming sale depends upon your answer to the next question. In either case, competitive rates are available on short-term, no-credit-check loans, which can help move projects along between paychecks.

How long do you plan to stay in your current house? – Answering this key question helps determine the best places to invest remodeling resources. Long-term residents should take a different approach to house renovation than people planning to move house within a few years. When you are in it for the long term, updates have more of an impact on your day to day comfort than profitability. A logical focus is on things that will enhance functionality and personal enjoyment of your home.

If your life plan includes a near-term exit from your house, improvements should focus on the upgrades most appealing to potential buyers. Spending on these improvements should be restrained, targeting the things for which you know buyers will pay a premium.

How Old is Your House? – In some ways, the current state of your house is the best guide to determine the most sensible improvements to carry-off. If your old house is not set-up for modern living, for instance, functionality presents a natural place to start, giving buyers a sense of modern convenience, rather than a dated feeling.

Possibilities…

Convert Your Loft – When adding-value for a sale, it doesn’t always make sense to invest substantial sums. A loft conversion represents a noted exception. The cost of such a move might exceed ¬£10,000, so the housing market and other factors should be closely considered before moving ahead. And a major renovation doesn’t happen overnight, so your timing is also important. When everything does line-up favourably, utilising loft space can dramatically increase the value and appeal of your property.

Modernise the Kitchen – Home owners hold kitchens dear, because they often serve a dual function. Not only are prep areas the center of your culinary world, but in some households the kitchen also doubles as a social center. To cover both uses, the space must cross over seamlessly in form and function, presenting a user-friendly food preparation area that is also appealing (even impressive) to family members and guests. It is a tall order, so buyers appreciate homes in which the work has already been done, allowing them to enjoy the spoils. Time and budget permitting, kitchen upgrades provide excellent return on investment, when compared to other home improvement spending.

Improve the Exterior – With so many design choices made indoors, keeping-up the appearance of your home’s exterior sometimes takes a back seat to interior upgrades. As a seller, it is important to consider the overall aesthetic value of your property, including its exterior. Paint, garden plantings, and other enhancements are the first thing to stand out when potential buyers look over your house, so the money is well spent. For the best results, time your plantings so trees and shrubberies are well-sized and groomed when you plan to sell.

Update the Shower Room – Adding another washroom can be a worthwhile investment, when a single one isn’t enough to adequately serve your house. Each case is unique though, so the location of plumbing and the space you have available to frame a new loo are key considerations when estimating the cost of the project. When expanding the number of washrooms isn’t a realistic approach, improving your existing facility represents a faster, less costly update. For cost-efficient results, consider swapping lavatory fixtures, changing the paint scheme, and updating accessories.

Well-executed home improvements add value to your house and help attract buyers when it’s time to sell. By timing upgrades to coincide with your personal plans, it is possible to enjoy the updates while you live in the house and still profit from the improvements when you leave. To make the most of your home improvement budget, first answer a few questions about your future and then focus on cost-effective updates, offering the greatest returns.

Paul graduated in 2001 with a degree in Finance. Since then he has gone on to work for several of the UK's most well-known financial institutions.

An avid blogger and a huge football fan, Paul is here to guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance and perhaps save you some money in the process!

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