Once we’re on the first few rungs, it’s often a question of maximising what we have.
And there are some simple ways to improve your home, to ensure that when the time does come to move onwards and upwards, it’s in tip-top condition to achieve the best price you can get.
One of the the most disruptive but ultimately rewarding ways to add value is to convert your loft or garage, or change the way you use your existing space.
If your home is a family space, an open plan kitchen/diner can create a real heart for the home.
But please call in the experts, however easy knocking down a wall may look on TV, your improvements will be need to be done safely.
Whilst you may or may not need Planning Permission, you will definitely need to comply with Building Regulations, so make sure you know what these are by taking a look at the government's planning portal.
Conservatories and extensions can add vast amounts of space to your home and depending on the nature of the work, can be done with very little intrusion into your existing space.
Consider what you will use the room for carefully, as this will dictate your choice of roof style, heating method and layout, which in turn will dictate the cost.
Both options will be subject to Building Regulations and possibly planning permission.
Garden makeovers may sound costly and sometimes seem less of a priority than your inside space.
But what if you could create an outside room simply by adding a structured dining area, or a home office simply by installing a garden pod?
With living space of paramount importance for most homebuyers, maximising ALL of this, inside and out, can create real impact, both from a practical and aesthetic angle.
Take a look at the garden design ideas on RHS website for more inspiration.
If you live in a period property, there’s real value to be had from restoring or maintaining the original features.
Properties that manage to combine this charm with modern décor and fixtures can command a real premium when they come to the market.
It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Perhaps you already have parquet flooring hiding under the carpet, or a beautiful fireplace behind that plasterboard?
If you haven’t discovered any gems but would like to add some, reclamation yards are a great place to start.
It’s true, we don’t sit and look at the outside of our houses very often.
But a tidy front garden, a hanging basket or fresh coat of paint on the outside walls will really show off your house to its full potential.
If your windows needs replacing but you can’t afford to do the whole house, consider just the front, it will make the world of difference to both the value and the heating bills!
If you can’t fit sash windows to your Victorian semi, the window ‘dressing’ can be just as effective.
Period properties can benefit from the addition of shutters, a practical way to dress bay windows that look great from both the inside and out.
If you’re adding a conservatory to your home, why not consider fitted blinds when you’re pricing up the work.
It’s the finishing touches like this which can really give a property the wow factor when you come to sell.
Whilst a new kitchen will certainly add value to your home, it’s not always necessary to replace the whole thing.
Replacing just the doors and worktops and cleaning up the tiles can make all the difference, as can a new floor and a change to the wall colour.
Try out a virtual room design tool or look online to see what you could achieve.
And make use of online galleries for ideas on how to modify for your home.
It goes without saying that a lick of paint can improve a room.
Wallpapering (even just one feature wall) can add a feeling of luxury and elegance to a room.
Consider adding a new light fitting as this can completely change the look of a room.
If clutter is your problem, consider investing in built-in storage, for example under the stairs, or either side of a chimney breast.
Bespoke storage will be relatively expensive but will definitely reap rewards when you come to sell, as storage is a key consideration for most buyers.
It’s easy to put off dealing with problems such as damp or cracks, or a dodgy tap, especially if you’re thinking of moving.
But nip these problems in the bud early.
Not only can they prove more costly if they escalate, but they will definitely be picked up by surveyors when you do come to sell.
There are plenty of ‘How to’ videos throughout the web which can save you plenty of cash.
Items such as loft insulation or a new boiler may seem like ‘invisible’ improvements, but these costly enhancements will definitely yield a return.
Not only will you feel the benefits, but you’ll see them in your reduced outgoings.
A modernised heating system or solar panels can be great selling points too (gas central heating will always trump hot air systems), and can improve your Energy Efficiency rating when you put your house on the market.
If you do make improvements that may add value to your home, don’t forget to let your Home Insurance company know.
You’ll need to make sure you’re covered to the full property value.
And as with any DIY work, if you’re not confident about carrying out the work, get the advice of an expert first.
It’s also wise to check if you’re covered for any accidental damage that may occur as a result of the work being carried out, and if you’re insured with us we’d love to hear about your exciting home improvement plans!
First published March 2014.