8 Easy ways to add value to your home
So you’ve decided to upsticks and move? Woah there. Step back from the property portal! Before you do anything take some notes from Tania Thompson, house hunter (extraordinaire), on how to add thousands to your home.
The Cotswolds are property dynamite right now but if you’re thinking of moving you might just want to take a step back – time to look through your potential buyer’s eyes. Tania Thompson, aka The Cotswold House Hunter, is an expert on this (and lots more!). We caught up with her between hunting beautiful houses (it’s a hard life) to find out how to add thousands to a home.
Hello Tania, tell us a bit about you?
Having worked in property for 20 years it’s safe to say I live, breath and dream about property! After studying property agency at uni in Cirencester, I left the Cotswolds and embarked on a career with estate agents Douglas and Gordon in London but I knew I would always return home. I joined Savills in 2009, going on to run an office for Jackson-Stops. Last year I bit the bullet and started The Cotswold House Hunter.
OK, so … what does a house hunter actually do!
I essentially act solely for the buyer. I seek out houses for clients that are usually not on the open market and get them to the front of the queue. Over the years I have forged fantastic relationships with the local estate agents, so this puts me in a strong position to find the perfect home for my clients. I literally take all of the leg work out of the process and make what can be a tiring and troublesome process more fun!
I preview every house and advise on areas, schooling, dog walks and, very importantly, any potential issues. Once the dream home has been found I then negotiate the purchase on a client’s behalf and deal with solicitors, surveyors and many more to progress the deal through to exchange, completion and beyond. Many people are now using a buying agent as it not only saves them time but also money.
We got you! .. Give us your top, hot-right-now places to buy in?
The Coln Valley, Stow-on-the-Wold, Minchinhampton and Cirencester. At the moment I am seeing a lot of clients searching for properties with, or with the ability to have, a home office.
Tania’s 8 ways to add value to your home
1. Invest wisely
What you are unlikely to want to do is a full-on redevelopment of your living space. It will either already be a house that you have lavished love and attention (and money) on, in which case don’t spend another penny, or it will be in need of some TLC. Be honest with yourself about this and offer up as blank and as good quality a canvas as possible. If there is scope for your buyer to develop your property, then the chances are they would prefer to choose their own kitchens, bathrooms and paint colours.
Unless you really know what you are doing, leave any major projects for your buyer. If there are little jobs to do that would make all the difference that you have never got around to, do them now. Fix the cupboard door that is hanging off, replace the spotlights that don’t work, mend the squeaking stair. A fresh coat of paint really can make a big difference without costing the earth but keep it neutral. Make your home look loved and cared for but don’t go mad.
2. Curb appeal
Begin by going outside and standing at your gate. First impressions really do count. If you don’t have plenty of space on your drive then move your car or cars off of it when viewings are scheduled. Make the arrival (and departure) as easy as possible. Give your front door a fresh lick of paint, cut the grass and get rid of the weeds. Tuck the bins away in a corner and clean the windows. A little effort here will reap rewards and you don’t want to put anyone off before they have even crossed the threshold.
3. Flexibility and multitasking
Since Covid 19 and lockdown took over our lives, our homes have, by default, had to work harder than ever for us. They are no longer just the place we live, but also where we work, where we play and where our children study – they are offices, classrooms, gyms and recreational spaces. The more flexible and adaptable our homes can be the better. In preparing your own home for sale, the more you can showcase your home as a multi-functional space the better, home offices are very popular for buyers right now.
4. Declutter and clean
It sounds obvious but many people don’t bother. Think about it though – you are going to have to do it when you do finally move so you might as well do it before you take your house to the market. Clean, tidy and decluttered spaces look bigger. Fact. Make sure that people can move easily through your home and visualise themselves living in it – they won’t do that if they are in awe of your chaos. You do not need to make your spaces devoid of all personality and character but do put your best foot forward allow people to see beyond it.
5. Make your home welcoming
You don’t need to go bonkers but the smell of freshly brewed coffee or a fire flickering in the grate really do make a favourable impression. Draw the curtains, throw open a window if it’s hot or put the heating on if it’s cold. Turn on the lights if it’s dark, make the beds and, if you have them, put the dogs away. Many of us love our furry friends but it isn’t universal and not everyone appreciates being welcomed by an over exuberant pet.
6. Maximise the outside spaces too
Now more than ever, our gardens need to work as hard as our houses – they are, after all, an extension of our homes and it is increasingly important to demonstrate outside seating and dining opportunities. Maximise the light that they bring, consider privacy and do what you can to show off the spaces that you have.
7. Get the timing right
If you live on a busy main road, avoid viewings around rush-hour. If your garden and living spaces face west, encourage afternoon viewings. Timing really can make a difference.
8. Trust the experts
Whenever possible, avoid the temptation to get involved in viewings – if you can go out, do go out (and take your dogs if you have them). Potential buyers will find it much easier to relax and concentrate. You have employed an estate agent to do a job and you are best advised to leave them to it. They know their buyers, they know your house and they know what they are doing. You will already have primed them on the salient points and they are on your side, playing your house to its strengths and pointing out all of its best bits.
If you need to be in, be friendly but discreet – if there are questions, you will be asked. Similarly, if a buying agent is bringing their clients to look at your house, the above applies; these guys really do know their buyers. Also, that old adage, less is more, is so true. The fewer people there are in the house, the bigger it will seem.
Thinking of buying or renting in The Cotswolds? Contact Tania at the Cotswold House Hunter, a professional, independent and discreet property search agent at www.cotswoldhousehunter.co.uk or call
+44 (0)7977 585716