The housing market has been rocked recently, after the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) announced that stagnant buyer demand is continuing to cause a pronounced slowdown.
The snap general election is scarcely helping this state of affairs, creating a significant decline that is unlikely to be reversed any time soon. In fact, house prices fell by 1% in April, marking the second consecutive month of decline and a drop of nearly £3,000 from December 2016.
This also creates significant challenges for vendors, who must work hard (and smart) if they are to effectively market their property and optimise its value. Here are some ways in which this can be achieved:
Optimise the Curb Appeal of your Property
According to various studies, potential buyers form an impression of your home within the first seven seconds of viewing it. This creates a minimal window of opportunity to engage buyers, so enhancing the curb appeal of your home is crucial.
Refreshing your exterior doors and walls with a fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference, as can cleaning any front-facing windows.
In terms of additions, do not be afraid to add new letterboxes or door knockers where required.
To create a genuine wow factor, you could also consider installing a secure and stylish gate at the front of the property. Bi-folding gates offer a relevant case in point as they are functional, space saving and help create a unique sense of opulence.
Consider a Loft Conversion
Increasingly, loft conversions are becoming the best and most-effective way of introducing additional living space into a property. This is particularly true for new-build properties, which are notoriously compact and often benefit from carefully planned extensions.
This should be a viable extension that does not require planning permission, particularly if your loft space has a maximum headroom of 2.3 metres.
This is a complex endeavour that can cost an average of £20,000, but when you consider that it adds an estimated 21% to the value of your home it is well worth consideration for those who have the necessary means.
Build a First-floor Extension
While two-storey extensions can cost up to £45,000 and are not always guaranteed to deliver a viable return, the same cannot be said for single-storey alternatives. These cost between £20,000 and £30,000 on average, while they also add value of up to 10% depending on the location of your property.
This type of structure may require planning permission, which can delay the build and incur additional costs.
You will also need to pay approximately £500 to the local planning office, as this instructs a surveyor to make regular visits to check that all work complies with real-time Building Regulation.
Add Another Bathroom
Along with the kitchen, the bathroom is a seminal part of any living space. The addition of an en-suite or a second bathroom can also be completed relatively cheaply and can add more than 5% to the value of any given property. This represents a win-win scenario, so long as you never sacrifice significant bedroom space to make this a reality.
When working in smaller homes, try to use materials and design techniques to create the illusion of space. The use of glass can be particularly effective, as can a minimalist design approach that leverages creative (and in some instances hidden) storage solutions.
Introduce Eco-friendly Elements
If there is one thing that buyers are looking for in the modern age, it is a contemporary home that benefits from eco-friendly elements. These not only drive a reduced carbon footprint, but they also create more cost-effective and efficient homes that are cheaper to run.
There are a number of elements that you can look to implement, including solar heating, reused materials and the addition of insulation throughout the house. These can increase the value of your home by an estimated 6%, while also making it far more marketable.
You may also want to consider the fact that loft insulation along can trigger savings of up to £145 each year, and these concessions can be maximised further by installing smart technology that helps you to control heating through your smartphone.