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Best home improvements if you're selling your property

By Daisy Mason

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If you're thinking about investing time and money in home improvements to increase the chances of selling your property, these are the areas where we think you should focus your efforts.

Start by compiling a list of the improvements you need to make and get quotes for how much the works will cost. At this stage, it's not worth spending more money on improving the property than the value the work will add to the asking price.

The minimum that you must do, however, is to ensure the structure is sound and that the property's electrics and plumbing are maintained to a level that a buyer would expect.

You need to be careful not to get carried away with the amount of work you take on and of course, you won't be able to enjoy your improved home for very long before it's passed onto someone else. Just limit your spending to what is necessary.

Look objectively at the inside and outside, or perhaps ask a friend to give their opinion and make sure you check out what the sales properties in your local area have to offer before you commit to any makeovers.

Sometimes a little can go a long way when leaving a lasting impression on potential buyers, which means you might not need to go as far as ripping out the bathroom to improve your chances of selling the property.

However, if your home requires more extensive refurbishment work, it might be best to market it as it stands. Your estate agent will be able to talk you through what your options are and advise you on what they think is best for your individual property.

Repair peeling and flaking paintwork

Usually a fairly straightforward task, tidying up old paint jobs and freshening up tired wallpaper will go a long way in making your property more sellable.

It's also a good idea to cover up any unusual or fluorescent colours, like black or bright green, as this can immediately put people off. It may be to your taste, but don't expect potential buyers to love it too.

Make small updates in the kitchen

Alongside the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home that potential buyers will focus on. However, while a major refurbishment may make buyers swoon over your property, you may not be able to recoup the cost that you spent improving it.

The good news is that if it is slightly dated or needs refreshing, you don't need to spend a lot of money to make a big difference - our cheap and simple tips for updating your kitchen are perhaps all that's needed.

Reseal mouldy sealant in the bathroom

Taking out old sealant and putting in fresh stuff around your shower or bath is an instant way to make your bathroom look more appealing.

Mould in bathrooms doesn't mean the property isn't cared for properly, but it can give that impression on viewings.

Tidy the garden

If you have a garden and you don't use it very often, we highly recommend putting on your gardening gloves and spending a day sprucing it up.

Cut back overgrown plants and trees, mow the lawn and give any patio areas a good scrub. Additionally, you could invest in a couple of potted plants to liven up the garden if there isn't much greenery - and you can take these with you when you leave.

Stage the balcony or terrace

If you have a balcony or terrace, make sure you remove things like bikes and storage boxes and stage it with furniture to give an idea of how useful and big the space is. Adding some greenery here will also add to the homely appeal.

You need to make sure potential buyers can see themselves living in your property and showing outside space in its best light is important.

Tackle damp issues

Damp blights most older properties, but you need to make sure your home is completely free from damp and that appropriate measures have been taken before you market your property.

Damp proofing may be costly, but buyers will be put off instantly if it's not done. It's one of the main things we recommend you spend your money on, as well as tidying up any past damage caused by a damp problem that isn't there anymore.

Fix exterior problems

While you're outside, check the exterior of your property for any defects in the brickwork or plaster and any patches of water, which could indicate there is a problem with the guttering and drainage system.

Also check the roof for leaks - any damage here could cost you the sale of your property, as most buyers will be put off purchasing a property that needs a new roof.

Get any issues sorted before they become bigger, more expensive problems and to help avoid questions from buyers on viewings.

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