If you are moving in your main focus may be on the interior design and creating your dream home. If you are renting it out you will most likely want to finish it to a good but inexpensive standard as quickly as possible and get tenants in ASAP. Increasing the value of the property is the main priority for sellers and depending on what you think you can achieve that could be a quick repair and makeover or a more involved project.
Whatever the chosen purpose for your new property, there are five things you should consider doing.
Get a full building survey:
When you’re buying a new house, it’s easy to get seduced by the look and feel of the place – and even experienced property buyers can be so enchanted by a property they underestimate the potential for things to go wrong. Research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reveals an average repair bill of almost £6000 thanks to hidden problems such as structural defects, rot and subsidence – not to mention ageing electrical and plumbing systems. Don’t get caught out, pay the extra for the full survey and have peace of mind. It’s the biggest purchase you’ll ever make so don’t leave the integrity of the property to chance.
Change the locks:
A staggering 58% of home buyers do not change the locks when they take ownership of a new property. It’s a relatively inexpensive task compared to the potential losses you’d incur should anything untoward happen. Unless it’s a new-build property you have no idea if any third-parties have copies of the keys. It may seem an extreme example but if you have items stolen, your insurer will normally need to see evidence of forced entry before paying out on a burglary claim.
Energy efficiency is going to help you no matter what you choose to do with the house. Lower bills will either help with the cost of running the house or make it more attractive to new owners or tenants. Installing energy saving devices and solar panels will bring down a house’s carbon footprint and make it more affordable to run. Solar panels could increase your rent yield, save your tenants money and earn you a little more on top, do the same for owners and add value if you are selling. Electric heating systems are an especially attractive prospect for landlords as they do not require annual maintenance. Also, the removal of the need for a boiler for your radiators would free up space in your property – with most boilers being housed in kitchens it opens up the possibility for more storage and a generally more attractive kitchen.
Convert the loft:
If your budget allows this you could be making a huge difference to the value, rent yield and future suitability of your property. Landlords can add an extra 10% to their monthly rent for adding an extra bedroom whilst those looking to sell could add up to 20% to the value of the property with an extra bedroom and maybe even 5% more if they can comfortably fit in another bathroom or en suite. If you are going to be living in the house it could be worth future-proofing it as there’s nothing worse than putting time, money and effort getting a house the way you want for life to unexpectedly – or expectedly – change direction and see you outgrow the house you’ve so carefully cultivated. And even if you do end up outgrowing the house you’ll still have added 20% to the most probably already increased value of your property
Do the kitchen:
It’s the heart of the home and a substandard kitchen will hold you back with whatever you want to do with the house. If you’re renting or selling it could be the difference between the asking price or having it on the market for a long time. If you are going to be living in the property it’s worth doing as early as possible because the longer you are in the house the harder it’s going to be to commit to the work. We can all rough it on the couch for a few days or wash at the gym or a relative’s if we are having an en suite put in or renovating the bathroom but you can’t go without a kitchen for weeks on end unless you want to eat take-away every night.
Regardless of what you choose to do with your property one of the very first things you should do is crack open a bottle of bubbly and celebrate!