How to add value to your home
Today I discuss 5 tips for how to add value to your home, including a breakdown of what these might entail and how to avoid some of the pitfalls associated with the pursuit of adding extra appeal.
This post will be of particular interest to those of you who already own a property here on the Costa del Sol, those who are interested in buying to renovate and sell on, or even those who are considering making some changes to get tenants in and earn rental income.
As a conscientious homeowner, how to add value to your home – whether it be from day one or several years down the line – should always be at the back of your mind.
Below I point out the five areas I see as vital for anyone wanting to boost the value and kerb appeal of their property, especially compared to comparable properties in the area.
1. Let the light in
First thing’s first, you live on the Sunshine Coast, for crying out loud! Unless your property is a basement unit, there’s no excuse for not maximising the amount of natural light that comes into your home.
If your home is quite old or you’re renovating a property that’s been abandoned for some time, you might want to consider replacing aging or damaged windows. This will improve the overall appeal of the property’s build quality and will ensure your place is flooded with light, as it should be.
On a smaller scale, the first thing I’d do is have a look around and see if there are light bulbs that need changing, any old and tired light fittings that need throwing out or any heavy curtains that need to be pulled down.
Remember, you don’t need to be an interior designer to give your home a “light and airy” feel. This means obstructing natural light as little as possible and accompanying it with quality artificial lighting elements that are neither too dim nor too intense.
2. Decorate your property
Continuing with the theme of interior design and light, another way you can make it look spacious and bright is by simply painting the walls a neutral colour.
Yes, you wouldn’t believe how much a lick of paint can transform a living space, especially (but not exclusively) in the case of apartments. If you only have 70 or 80 square metres to play with, the worst thing you can do is, aesthetically, close that space up by painting it in a deep red or purple and black colour scheme.
In terms of overall decoration, ultimately no-one can tell you what to do since taste is subjective and your home is your castle. That said, if you come to selling it, renting it out or have someone over to value it, there are some things you should bear in mind.
Getting rid of clutter and freeing up living and circulation spaces is one strong recommendation. You don’t have to scale back to a minimalist design, but it’s easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves living somewhere they can move through without obstruction: a living space that flows.
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Equally, try to make use of all areas of the property. “Lost” rooms, intended as an extra bedroom or study but just used as storage, are not the answer to the conundrum of how to add value to your home; neither do empty, unconverted basements and garages that aren’t getting used.
You might also want to consider adding a stand-out feature to give your humble abode that “wow factor”. Changing the front door to something with a bit of personality or grandeur is a common tip. Or maybe a water feature in the garden. Or perhaps reviving a fireplace if your property has one.
Flooring is also an area that requires some attention. Neutral-coloured laminate flooring in good condition with no lumps and bumps is perfectly acceptable, while carpet on the Costa del Sol is a big no-no. Especially in bathrooms!
3. Reform, but not just any old how
If you’re considering a refurbishment or a radical real estate face-lift, be mindful of not just spending for the sake of spending and look for genuine solutions for how to add value to your home.
I say this because many homeowners assume that by remodelling their house they will get back what they spent on the refurb and then a tasty packet on top.
And that is usually the case. But remember that there is a notional maximum value for any given property type in any given area according to market fluctuations, meaning you cannot re-establish market prices by spending more on your reform.
A hypothetical example
For example (I’ve made up the numbers for illustrative purposes), if you bought a two-bedroom apartment in Mijas Costa two years ago for €150,000 and you spend €10,000 on doing it up with top-end fixtures and fittings etc, you’d expect it to be worth somewhere in the region of €165,000-€170,000, right? That’s probably the minimum return on investment you’d expect.
However, let’s say that prices have remained pretty stagnant and, in the current market, the most people are willing to pay– even for a refurbished apartment – is €155,000. You’d feel a bit miffed, I’d imagine.
Like I said, this is only a hypothetical example and is unlikely to be the case. Indeed, house prices have been steadily increasing since 2015 and now would actually be a good time to invest in a reform.
But the moral is: take all factors into account before deciding whether what you plan to do will add value to your home. An experienced vendor services expert or independent property valuer/appraisal specialist will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
4. Value-adding structural changes
One of the most common ways to add value to your home on the Costa del Sol is to remodel your kitchen and integrate it with dining and living spaces.
Again, this is all in the name of an open-plan interior, which is central to contemporary design and something that home buyers are looking for more and more. Gone are the days when pokey kitchens isolated from the rest of the house add value to your home.
Nowadays, kitchens are a social as well as a functional space, and having free flow through the areas of the house where you spend most of your time is a big selling point.
Apart from kitchens, bathrooms are a value-adding area. Two-bedroom flats with one bathroom are significantly less attractive than those with a second bathroom, for example. In all types of property, this is often an uncomplicated structural change and the rewards can be significant.
Even if it’s unfeasible to amplify the number of bathrooms, at least make sure the one(s) you have is/are reformed to the same standard as – or higher than – the rest of the house.
5. Energy is key
Since we live in an age where sustainability and eco-architecture are highly valued by property buyers, my final tip for how to add value to your home is to think about what energy sources you use and its distribution.
If you own a detached or semi-detached house, it may be possible to install a photovoltaic system and, thereby, have a solar power water heating system. If you wanted to really push the boat out, you can even buy your own mini wind turbine to generate energy that way.
Another, less extreme, way of making your home more eco-friendly is simply by changing your old halogen light bulbs to LED bulbs. Apart from being a plus point in the mind of a potential buyer, the energy consumption is around 85% less, meaning you'll save on your electricity bill in the meantime!