Selling and Buying Your Home – 3 Top Tips
The list goes on! As estate agents, we receive plenty of common questions and provide the advice needed. You can find blogs on a lot of the nitty-gritty.
This blogs brings to the fore three areas where we know it is worth taking a step back to consider:
- Raising The Value of Your House Through Home Improvements
- The Difference Between Old and Modern Builds
- Knowing the Area as Well as the House you are Moving Into
This blog is full of useful comparisons and top tips to help you get the most out of your new and old home. Good luck with the house hunt!
1 ) Raising The Value of Your House Through Home Improvements
If you’re thinking of selling up and shipping out, leaving the place you have called home for the past few years can be an incredibly stressful time. You can’t put a price on the years you have spent there, and making a potential buyer and property evaluator see the beauty in the home that you have come to know and love in the short time that they are viewing it can be a tall order.
Some properties may need more than just a lick of paint- restructuring the home before you pop your beloved homestead on the market takes something more than just plastering some fancy Farrow & Ball over the cracks.
Here are a few amends you can make, that while they may appear to be costly in the short term, can actually increase your property’s value tenfold in the long run.
Mending structural issues
When making the investment of a home, both seasoned buyers and property ladder newbies are going to be looking for something more than face value. Aesthetics are great, and cosmetic fixes may mask deeper issues, but there’s no pulling wool over the eyes of the property valuer! And at the end of the day, they are the ones who get to dictate what your property will sell for, so it’s them that you need to impress.
There are a few things to look out for that you may think might go unnoticed; things such as rising damp, leaky roofs and a collapsed floor. Checking for these kinds of problems is a great starting point before you start thinking how to make the place look attractive.
Update plumbing and electricity
This is particularly relevant if your home is an old one – over time, wires corrode, creating unreliable connections to power throughout the rest of the house. Call a local electrician to audit your house, and identify any issues that need fixing (we thoroughly recommend that you get a professional to do this). It’s important that the breaker box and meter meet modern regulation.
The same goes for plumbing. Over time, older pipes can corrode, and the material that has broken down inside the pipe can cause a blockage to the extent that it can cause a blockage and prevent water flow.
Consider these types of fixes as being like an MOT for your car- you wouldn’t buy a car without knowing that the key components of it worked, would you?
Renovate the kitchen and bathrooms
The kitchen is important when it comes to making your home look fresh and modern to prospective buyers, and is often considered the focal point of the home.Wherever you can, it’s best to update paintwork, tiles, and create as many opportunities for storage- so that the person viewing your house can envision stashing away their abundance of Tupperware lids in those cupboards!
Another room which shouldn’t be neglected is the bathroom. You want the place where people clean themselves to look cared for don’t you? If you can, install new shower heads, update paintwork and give all of the ceramic a thorough scrub, so that it looks as fresh and hygienic as possible.
Build a conservatory or extension
Nothing adds value to a property quite like adding new rooms to it! If there is space in the garden to spare, you might consider adding on a conservatory or extension to maximise the floor space inside the home.
These types of builds do require lots of design planning, and sometimes even permission from the council before the build can begin. Where possible, always get advice from a reputable professional. Adding an extension or conservatory can add 5% onto the value of your home, so if you have extra space, consider using it!
Create kerb appeal
When a potential buyer is looking for houses that they even want to consider viewing, the likelihood is that the first images that they are going to see of your home as they waltz past an estate agent’s window.
For that reason, it’s important that your front door acts as a window into the heart of your home. Making the house look attractive from the outside adds value, and better still can be one of the least costly renovations you can make:
Add a pop of colour to the front door with a fresh coat of paint
Replace windows and ledges that are looking worse for wear
Introduce life to your garden with plants
Porchlight? Make sure there’s a bulb in there to show off your hard work!
Add to existing space
If your house is already small, or you don’t have much room outside to add an extension or conservatory, using existing dead space can be a great way to add an additional bedroom to the property.
While it is a minor investment (a loft conversion can add on average 10% on top of your property’s value!), it is best to get some advice from a specialist to make sure that the loft space is safe to be adapted into another bedroom, office space or whatever you envision it becoming.
2) The Difference between OId and Modern Builds
Whether you’re buying a house for the first time, or you’re a veteran of the property market, the age of a prospective new home is sure to play a key role in your decision to buy. Newly-build properties tend to be hugely different to those built decades, or even centuries, ago. And if you’re going to get the best from your purchase, you’ll want to take account of those differences. In this article, let’s take a closer look at some of them.
What are the upsides?
The main upside to older properties is that they tend to look better. A house built in the 19th century will tend to have a distinct look and feel which modern houses simply can’t replicate. If you’d like to move into a property that’s brimming with genuine character and history, then an older one is certain to fit the bill.
If you’re buying a property that’s already been lived in, then you won’t need to worry about paying for the connection of the phone line and aerial – as they’ll already have been installed. While these costs might be small, it’s often reassuring to know that someone has successfully lived in the house, and so any problems connecting to the net or watching television are unlikely to be considerable.
We should also consider that older houses tend to offer more space than those built recently – for reasons that we’ll examine shortly, older homes tend to come with higher ceilings, and they tend to be more expansive overall. Moreover, they tend to be cheaper – and you’ll be able to enjoy a home whose price won’t fall by a fifth the moment you move into it.
If you’re looking to buy a brand new house, then you won’t need to worry about an extensive chain of ownership. You’ll simply have a short conversation with a sales representative before agreeing a final sum – and then you’ll be ready to move in. If you’re looking to minimise hassle, therefore, buying new might be an attractive way to go.
Since they haven’t been around for all that long, newer properties won’t have picked up any wear-and-tear. You can therefore expect to move in without having to encounter any hidden costs involved with re-wiring the place and redecorating. You might even find that carpets and other furnishings are thrown in for free – though you’ll be free to replace them at a later date.
What are the downsides?
First and foremost, we should consider the cardinal sin of older homes – they’re often a lot more difficult to heat. In the 19th century, housebuilders weren’t all that wary of things like energy efficiency – since electricity and modern plumbing were still the stuff of science fiction. Even when it was realised that insulation and the like were important, the technology of yesteryear wasn’t a patch on the stuff you’ll find in a modern build.
You might find that an older home has been given a few upgrades over the years to compensate for this. But there are some hurdles which can’t be easily vaulted: if your home doesn’t come with cavity walls, for instance, then cavity-wall insulation won’t be possible. Moreover, some period properties won’t be granted planning permission for things like double-glazing. Instead, you’ll need to look to alternatives like secondary glazing.
You should also account for wear-and-tear that’ll need to be repaired. Ideally, you’ll want to do this before you move your furniture in, too – as doing so afterwards can make things a bit more difficult. When a property is empty, its flaws will be all the more apparent – and so it’s worth setting aside some time and funds so that you’ll be able to address these problems.
Victorian-era properties are quite notorious for not having very tight seals between the floorboards – and the brickwork tends to be rougher, allowing rodents the chance to get in. Given a choice between living outside in the cold and living in a snug, heated hideaway, small animals are always going to take the opportunity to move in. If you don’t want to share your home with bats, rats, squirrels and other critters, you’ll need to identify and seal up any potential points of entry.
The main downside to buying new is that you’ll typically be looking at a much smaller property. The sites where developers bid for land are generally centred on the maximum number of houses that can be crammed in while still following the rules. Unlike some of our neighbours on the continent, we in the UK don’t have any rules about how small our houses can be – and thus you can find some of the smallest homes here. If you’re looking to buy new, particularly at the entry-level end on the market, expect to buy small.
You can also expect to have to pay a premium for things like garages and driveways – and for much the same reason: there’s less money to be made building garages than there is proper homes.
When you’re carrying out your first inquiries and inspections, it’s worth considering that the show-home you’re looking at might not be the same as the property you eventually move into. Often, there’s a tiered system to lure buyers in – so the bathroom, and kitchen in your home might not be quite as good as the one you’ve looked at. Unless, of course, you’re willing to pay a premium.
We’ve taken a look at the general differences between older and newer properties. But while these observations might hold true when we look at the property market in general, there are sure to be variations within your local area. If you have your heart set on one or the other, then it makes sense to focus your search accordingly. If you aren’t sure, however, then it’s better to cast a wide net – that way you’ll know you won’t be discounting perfectly attractive properties out of hand!
3) Know the Area as Well as the House You are Moving Into
At Greenaway Residential we know that we’re lucky to be based in Crawley, West Sussex amongst some of the loveliest towns in the area. We also know that for new property buyers and renters who are wishing to move into our part of the world the decision to come here from outside the area can be a complex and time-consuming one.
Moving into a new area can be something of a leap into the dark if you don’t know anything about the place. So to save you hours of your valuable time we have compiled some information on the towns that we service which we hope will help you in your decision.
This medieval town which sits on the border between Surrey and West Sussex is steeped in history. The ancient Manor of Horley, which had been under the control of Benedictine monks, was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and later passed into the control of King Henry V111. The east of the district also boasts the well-preserved 12th century Thunderfield Castle. In 1816 a regular coach service from London to Brighton was introduced and a railway station was built in Horley in 1841 following the construction of the railway line. Since then the town has built significant commuter links direct to London and is next door to Gatwick Airport. This has helped the town to develop and grow economically. Horley also has the advantages of a Metrobus service connecting to the airport and to surrounding towns, villages and industrial estates.
With a bustling, and surprisingly long, high street Horley has plenty to offer in the way of shops, restaurants, bars and cafés and with the addition of new housing estates the area is expanding rapidly. With a busy theatre and a pub reputed to be the second oldest in the country you’re sure to find plenty to interest you.
Horley’s education needs are well served with several infant, primary and junior schools plus one secondary school. Further education is provided within the neighbouring Redhill, Crawley and Reigate areas. For sports fans there are clubs for cricket, rugby, tennis, hockey and bowls alongside the local Horley Town football club. Horley also has its own leisure centre. For budding race car drivers there is a fantastic race simulator on Brighton Road where you can experience driving a realistic Formula One car.
Situated a mere 27 miles south of London and 21 miles north of Brighton this is another commuter town well serviced by transport links. Gatwick Airport and Biggin Hill Airport are both in close proximity and a major busy road network links to both London and Gatwick. The area even boasts a newly preserved and reconstructed standard gauge railway, the Lewes Line.
There are a good variety of state and independent schools in East Grinstead as well two private prep schools. Imberhorne School is where the local athletics club members train and the area is well provided for in terms of sporting interest with a rugby team, football team and several local sports and social clubs.
East Grinstead proudly promotes its own Music and Arts Festival plus a separate Choral Society and Operatic Society, reflecting the town’s extensive literary heritage. Nearby you will find Ashdown Forest, the fictional home of Winnie the Pooh and if you wish to explore the town’s heritage the local museum charts its history including the privations suffered during World War 2. You can also explore this lovely medieval town’s ancient timber-framed buildings and 18th century Gothic church or the East Court Mansion, built in 1769.
The regeneration of East Grinstead town centre began in 2006 and this expansion and development is expected to be ongoing for around 20 years. Visit our East Grinstead Office page.
Crawley is a fine example of a 13th century market town that has grown into a modern, thriving commuter town on the edge of London and surrounding south east towns and cities and which was in 1946 part of the government’s master plan which was the New Towns Act. This designated a fast-growing Crawley part of the ‘new towns’ earmarked to service Gatwick Airport and the surrounding developing industrial, commercial and retail sectors. Despite the modernity of the town a large part of its heritage was discovered to be of Iron Age and Roman origins. Various burial mounds and artefacts have been discovered around the area. It goes without saying that Crawley is well serviced by major transport links to London, Gatwick, Brighton and the surrounding areas and in line with government expansion plans the whole area continues to grow in terms of housing and industrial needs. New residential areas plus associated new roads, schools and retail outlets are being constructed.
Crawley has a huge number of schools as a result of the 2004 overhaul of the town’s educational system and further education is provided by sixth form facilities at six of the local secondary schools.
With a football team which in recent years played Manchester United in the F.A. Cup as well as a number of local teams plus rugby and hockey teams Crawley is well provided for in terms of sporting and leisure facilities. There are several parks and recreational areas dotted throughout the districts of the town including the Queen’s Square Memorial Gardens and Tilgate Park and Nature Centre to name but two. With golf courses, theatres, fishing lakes, kung-fu schools, woodlands, model railway and bridleways Crawley and its surrounding districts have plenty for families to do and see. In fact Crawley has been described as the perfect combination of town and countryside.
Crawley has been a renowned shopping area since 1948 and the intervening decades has seen a significant expansion of retail opportunities with numerous major retailers operating across the district. There is the County Mall shopping centre in the centre of town along with weekly markets and local shops. Team this with a good selection of bars, pubs, restaurants and cinema complex and you’ll never be short of things to do in Crawley. Visit our Crawley Office Page.
It’s clear to see that the local area has a lot to recommend it – and here at Greenaway Residential, we’d be delighted to show you where you could be moving to next.