18th July, 2016

What do people waste the most money on?

What do people waste the most money on?

Home owners are always thinking of new ways to improve their surroundings, making it a more pleasant place to live. Home improvements not only enhances the quality of living but it can also enhance the value of a home, if done correctly.

Unfortunately, even the most experienced homeowners who take pride in their homes can get sucked into spending money on maintenance costs or home improvements that are not needed. We have asked some of our agents to give advice on some of the most common renovations and additions that add value, as well as those that are not worth the hassle if you are looking to sell soon.


Quality over quantity

When thinking about renovating, many homeowners tend to think about installing new kitchens, bathrooms or adding an extension.

“Adding to the property can be a waste of money, particularly if cheap units or suites are used which can often be the case. If the rest of the property remains dated, replacing a section or adding an extension can make the property feel muddled,” adds Patrick Downey from Fine & Country Ross-on-Wye.

Make sure when renovating, you keep with the style and structure of the house.


Caring for older properties

Zoie Hawker from Fine & Country Portugal suggests that renovations should be welcomed in older properties. "The most important thing is to bring older properties that were built more than 15 or 20 years up modern standards," she said. "In some cases, this can be as simple as installing a new kitchen, re-tiling the pool, fitting new bathrooms and maybe replacing old single glazed windows with modern double glazing. But if going deeper things like central heating and air conditioning, not usually fitted in older properties, are also important. Also, plastering walls rather than the normal paint on cement and adding false ceilings makes a big difference."


Tidy those weeds

Keeping your garden tidy is key to having a happy exterior. A clean garden with a newly laid out lawn or a new patio can be the key to adding value when looking to sell the property in the future. Remove all perennial weeds as if overgrown they can cause havoc to the exterior.

Loraine Murphy from Fine & Country Marbella has found in her past experiences that the external appearance (also known as kerb appeal) is just as important as the interior. Sometimes, potential buyers won’t even look at a property or walk through the gate because it doesn’t look right, so any interior work that has been done becomes irrelevant.


Keep the breeze away

Double-glazed or single-glazed? Heat is lost through windows, so it may be time to have the old timber windows professionally overhauled and draught-proofed or to replace them with modern double pane windows. Single glazed windows can let the cold air through very easily, reducing the temperature inside your home significantly. Double-glazed windows are quite expensive to install but they insulate heat as well as keeping noise at bay, creating an extremely effective barrier. When deciding to change installation, make sure you use a FENSA registered fitter who will supply windows that fit to the Building Regulations standards and not only that, when you decide to sell your property, you will have a FENSA certificate ready for the solicitors.


Swimming pools

Many might say a dream home should have a swimming pool in order to live the high life. But sadly, swimming pools are hard work and require a lot of effort to maintain. If not maintained properly, the swimming pool can deteriorate and play host to mould. Many additional items are needed in order to keep the pool running and fit for swimming in, which is not cheap. Keeping the pump and filtration system running takes a lot of time and care which also uses a high amount of electricity, adding on extra costs. With this in mind, swimming pools may be great for the summer months, but don't expect your weighty pool investment to increase the value of your house to the same amount. It's wise to only add a swimming pool if you expect to stay at the home for some time and enjoy it regularly.


New Kitchen

A kitchen can be a homeowner’s pride and joy. It is often one of the first things homeowners look to replace. However, it is not an easy process and is expensive to renovate.

Linda Erasmus from Fine & Country South Africa believes that kitchens and bathrooms sell a home. Good workmanship using inexpensive material creates a better impression than expensive materials such as imported tiles that are installed imperfectly.

Modernising an outdated 1970’s plum coloured kitchen can take time, but bringing it to the highest modern standard can add value to your home. A fresh-looking functional kitchen can draw in potential buyers when wanting to sell.




The sky’s the limit

In today’s age, space is hard to come by. Adding extra space to your property can make it more enjoyable to live there as well as improving your quality of life in your home.

If the property has potential to extend then this is without a doubt the most cost effective way to increase the price on one’s home. In our area, an owner of a property could extend into their loft space (subject to necessary planning consents) and add anywhere in the region of 300 sq.ft. Now this may not sound like a lot but when the £/sqft is £850sqft, adding 300sqft for the cost of £40,000 - £50,000 can actually add around £250,000 to the property's value,” explains Charles Eddlestone from Fine & Country Fulham.


A splash in the right direction

According to agents, the popularity of en suites has risen significantly and are they are in high demand. Many older bathrooms can have faulty pipes because of age and will need them replaced. Make sure all plumbing is up-to-date and checked regularly.


The little things that count

Giving your home a fresh coat of paint and doing some general DIY maintenance around the house can be cost effective and fulfilling; transforming your home from dull to lively.

Christelle Rentsch from Fine & Country Kempton Park recently had a property with a lemon yellow 1970’s bathroom which just would not sell. The kitchen and second bathroom had already been renovated, but this bathroom was a stumbling block. The seller even tried painting the offensive tiles, but the bright yellow bathroom was still putting off potential buyers. In this case, a quick renovation could have secured a fast sale.

Make sure you spend on the bare necessity and prioritise on quality rather than quantity, saving you having to renovate again. Keep it clean and simple to enable potential buyers to imagine what it would be like to live in your property.

Whilst spending on your property is a good idea, make sure that it will give you a good return on your investment. If in doubt, ask your agent!


Are you looking to sell your property in the near future? Click here to contact your local office and arrange a free valuation.


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