Home Improvements

Ian Gray, Head of Residential Property at ESPC member firm Morton Fraser, tells us about the pitfalls of carrying out too much work before you sell your home.

If you're thinking about selling your property you may have thought that if you "upgrade" the interior of your home the value of your property will increase. Unfortunately, this isn't necessarily the case. After all, what is a kitchen in the grand scheme of things?

Styling, quality and personal taste

When you're looking for a new home you assume it will have a kitchen consisting of a sink, worktop, wall units and cooker; the basics. The only variables from property to property is the styling and quality of fixtures and fittings, which tend to be dictated by personal preference of the owner. Second-guessing what a potential purchaser would want is therefore just about impossible!

I would also emphasise, that in most cases, to increase the value of a property there must be a significant difference and a genuine improvement between what was and what is now. This would usually involve something more significant than just changing the units - i.e. extending the actual kitchen space. You must also remember that the bigger the change; the higher the cost and so the impact on value has to be significant to cover these.


Things aren't always what they seem

Reality TV home makeover programmes may make DIY projects look simple enough but things aren't always as they seem. If you are planning on home improvements it is important to genuinely calculate the nature of the project in terms of it's management and financial aspects. Decide at the start on the quality of finishes and assess all the potential costs, including an appropriate add-on for contingencies, as changing plans during the works can be disproportionately expensive.

In many cases planning, such as listed planning and building warrant consent, may be required. These can, in some instances, significantly delay the start date of the project. The associated cost of the application, architects fees and time (both your own and in relation to the project) should also be taken into consideration.

It is also important to remember that on re-sale consent certificates and guarantees for the works carried out will be requested by the buyer’s solicitor. This all causes significant issues at the point of sale and can drastically reduce the ultimate price.

renovating, pull down wall

DIY disasters

Unfortumately we regularly see properties where the concept was good but the money spent has been wasted due to the DIY enthusiast not having the appropriate skills and not providing an appropriate standard of finish thus reducing the value of the property!

My top tip

Sell the property as it is and let the buyers change everything to their taste. There are many things that can be done that will make a property marketable without having to rip out the kitchen or bathroom! Remember your ESPC member firms are here to help and will be happy to discuss your proposals.

About the author

Ian Gray - Portrait 170With over 30 years of experience in the residential market, Ian Gray heads up Morton Fraser's Residential Property team. As a Chartered Surveyor with passion for property and a background in valuation and surveying he also has a true interest in people. He has  accordingly developed a reputation for giving sensible and honest advice to ensure that clients achieve the best deal for them.

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