Whether it’s putting your personal stamp on a place you’ve just bought or giving your neglected space a fresh new makeover to bring it up to date, home improvements are the key to turning your house into a true home. The right projects can also add a significant boost to the value of your property; even if you have no intention of moving in the foreseeable future, it’s always nice to know you’re holding your own on the property ladder.
Adding value to your home needn’t mean spending a fortune; property magazines and websites never tire of extolling the value-boosting virtues of having an attic conversion or a new fitted kitchen – but if you’re not in the market for a major reconstruction, there are plenty of small changes you can make to your home to increase its worth.
Michael Holmes, property expert for The Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show says that relatively small changes can make a considerable impact:
“In a property that is already structurally sound, free of damp, and has a modern central heating and wiring system, there is a great deal of scope to improve simply by making cosmetic improvements. If it is currently very run down or poorly decorated, a cosmetic makeover can boost the value of a property by as much as 5%,” he says.
Property expert Kate Faulkner of propertychecklists.co.uk suggests a methodical approach to home improvements, tackling your to-do list in priority order and not forgetting those easy-to-neglect maintenance tasks (the broken plug, the missing halogen bulbs, the leaking tap). She also recommends enlisting the help of an extra pair of eyes.
“The first, and most cost-effective thing, is to tackle the walls. But when your paint starts chipping, it’s easy to get used to it if you’re seeing it every day. This is where it’s useful to call on that mate – you know the annoying one that always likes to point things out and has tremendous attention to detail.”
If you don't have that friend, she suggests it could even be worth employing a professional to do a thorough check:
“In the renting industry you have inventory clerks who are paid to go round the house and record its whole condition. They cost around £200-300 but if this is not your forte, it’s worth getting one of those guys in to point out all the things that need replacing or doing.”
Keeping on top of those maintenance niggles will not only improve your everyday quality of life, it could save you unexpected costs further down the line:
"The major problems people have in their homes are caused by a lack of maintenance and a lack of checks on the property. We are staying in our homes longer now – an average of 15-20 years – so we need to be more responsible for maintaining our homes properly," says Faulkner. "It’s also part of your insurance policy, which a lot of people don’t realise. If there’s something wrong, the insurance company will find out if it’s because you didn’t maintain it properly and you will have to pay out."
We asked Faulkner and Holmes to share their tips on the best ways to add value to your home without undergoing a major overhaul. Click through the gallery below see their recommendations in priority order: