When selling a property, everyone wants to get the best possible price. It might involve a bit of hard work but there are lots of little ways you can boost its value without spending huge sums.
Yahoo Finance UK spoke to five property experts about how to increase a property’s value with a limited budget.
Create a good first impression
Buyers decide whether to buy a house early on in the process — research by Strutt & Parker showed that 76% of house-hunters believe first impressions are everything when buying a home.
Property investor and online educator Claire Louise Owen said it doesn’t take much to add curb appeal to your home to improve the attractiveness of the property at first sight.
"Clearing the driveway or front garden is such an easy task…. jobs could include painting the fence, clearing the weeds and replacing broken paving slabs, planting flowers and feeding the grass, build bin storage, clear and clean gutters, painting windowsills and replacing the door or door accessories," she said.
Make your garden count
Multiple lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic have seen the value of outside space skyrocket. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, make the most of it.
According to finance brokers Norton Finance, well-maintained gardens increase the value of your home by 20%.
Adding plants and flowers is inexpensive and makes an instant difference — you can pick up bulbs cheaply online or from a garden centre, and keep your garden looking good by mowing the lawn and cutting back trees.
Replace harsh lighting
How you light a property makes a real difference to potential buyers — especially if the viewing is in the winter or the evening.
"Edison bulbs in particular have become very popular, as they are cost effective and create a stylish, warm and interesting light," said Graham Bauer, director at Neilson & Bauer.
"A large Edison bulb can be very effective in the hallway for instance and create a wonderful atmosphere for around £50 ($68). This will certainly enhance the saleability of the property and, used correctly, can add on a couple of thousand to the value."
Decluttering costs nothing — in fact, if you sell unwanted items, you might even make money.
"It creates space and helps people imagine themselves, or someone else living in there," says Marion Ellis, founder of Love Surveying.
Read more: The pros and cons of building your own home
"Psychology is at play here because if they can see themselves living there and the benefits of the property more clearly, they are more likely to covet it and in turn the property will be more in demand."
To really allow people to imagine this as their home, "impersonalise a house, remove family photos…. let the prospective purchasers visualise putting their own mark on the place," said property developer Tarun Singh.
You might have learnt to live with that dodgy drawer and know those tiles have been broken for years, but a prospective buyer won't see it that way — and psychology is at play again.
"When we see leaky taps and overgrown gardens it sends our spidey-senses into overdrive," said Ellis.
"Good maintenance is a sign that the property has been looked after and so the risk of there being something wrong is reduced."
She suggests fixing door and window openings if they are not smooth and tidying up loose wires and sockets. For smaller jobs, see if you can fix them yourself with the help of a DIY manual and YouTube, or book a handyman for the day.
Watch: How much money do I need to buy a house?
Cleanliness is close to godliness when it comes to house-selling so, if you can’t face tackling those hard-to-reach places, get a professional in.
Make sure bathrooms and kitchens are thoroughly clean and smell nice.
However, if your carpets have seen better days, don’t automatically think you have to replace them. Norton Finance has estimated that the average household would spend £2,500 replacing old carpet even though sometimes they just need a thorough clean. Hiring a carpet cleaning unit and cleaning fluids for the weekend will set you back around £36.
Expose the floorboards
Alternatively, you could just get rid of carpets altogether. Buyers love original features, such as sanded floorboards, and this effect can be achieved at a very low price if you’re prepared to put the work in.
"A floor sander can be hired for about £75," said Bauer.
"A 5-litre tub will cost around £70 and cover 18 sq/m. Then all you need is plenty of facemasks, an old rag to apply the varnish and plenty of patience. Plus, don’t forget to open up the windows! This can add anything up £10,000."
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book but a fresh lick of paint really will make a difference — just make sure it’s not a divisive colour.
"Create neutral zones as much as possible and use simple colours that everyone will either like or not have a strong opinion about," Ellis said.
"A 2.5 litre tub of Farrow & Ball will cost around £55 and cover 24 sqm," said Bauer. Depending how much you’ve painted, "you will certainly add up to £5,000 to the value — possibly even more; but, more importantly, help towards the saleability of the property."
Downsize your furniture
Give the impression of a larger square footage by downsizing your furniture said Ellis.
"It creates proportion and more space. Logically you can see how a property functions in a positive way and none of the problems, such as cramped space," she said.
Read more: The costs to consider when buying a home
Swapping bulky furniture for slimline pieces, halving your books and utilising the loft or garage can help create space. Putting things in storage can even be worthwhile in the long term.
Consider the kitchen
A new kitchen can add up to 10% to the value of your home but a complete renovation is expensive, time-consuming and disruptive.
Instead, think about the little things you can do to give it an upgrade.
You can sand, seal and repaint kitchen units yourself for under £40 and add new cupboard handles for less than £12, according to Norton Finance.