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Don’t Move, Improve

If your home is feeling too small, too cluttered, too much like hard work, it can definitely be tempting to look elsewhere. Yet moving is hard work too. It’s expensive and messy and it isn’t always the right thing to do. In fact, staying put but making some changes can actually be a much better option. 

As Barclays Mortgages suggests, “you need to think about your needs as a family. Every family is completely unique, and we all need different things. For example, are you frustrated that your teenagers are always holed up in their rooms on their tablets or smartphones? By making some small changes to a communal area, you can make it feel more like their own space and hopefully see a bit more of them!”

Jonathan Moss, South East regional director of Yopa, the online estate agency, has some more advice; “Since the changes in stamp duty legislation forced many people to improve instead of move, once neglected lofts are enjoying a new lease of life in conversions which transform them into extra living space, be that bedrooms, studies or playrooms. The average loft conversion – usually adding a bedroom with an en suite – costs around £40,000 but can increase your property value by an estimated 21%.” 

“The addition of a conservatory typically costs around £5,000 and can increase the value of a property of around 10% when done well. They are a relatively easy way of adding light to a property and providing a sense of the outdoors without having to go outside and brave the temperamental British weather. To add real value, make sure your conservatory is fully glazed and blends in with the style of the rest of the property. If you already have a small garden, don’t risk the addition of a conservatory as the smaller garden space will put off buyers.

“According to NAEA Propertymark, if your budget can only stretch to renovating one room, that room should be the kitchen. You can cut costs by painting cupboard doors yourself and adding new, fashionable handles. When renovating a kitchen, it pays to keep it simple, stylish and uncluttered. Integrated appliances can also boost appeal.”

“You can add up to 5% value to your property by adding a second bathroom. An average bathroom costs £4,500 and 70% of estate agents say an additional loo helps to sell a house, according to NAEA Propertymark. An en suite is no longer a luxury and a four-bedroom home should have a minimum of two bathrooms.”

So what are the key considerations before embarking on a renovation?

At the outset, the all important consideration is budget. Some people oversee the importance of setting aside an adequate amount of budget for an experienced and qualified installer.

Secondly, it is a good idea to work out what you want from the space based on your lifestyle. Inspiration from magazine cuttings, Instagram or Pinterest is a great start to give more of an indication of your preferences in terms of styles and functions for the space, there are now so many advancements in products and technology the possibilities are endless!  

It is also worth paying a little extra to go to a specialist, such as bathroom specialist West One Bathrooms, who are able to offer the whole package from a full design service to unparalleled access to suppliers globally for the supply of the bathroom, they also have experts on hand to offer advice from start to finish. As Louise Ashdown, head of design at West One explains; “We have a vast portfolio of products enabling us to guide every client not only through the physical displays but brochures too, ensuring everything is tailored for clients. We ask clients about things before they even knew they existed!”

“When visiting a showroom, we always suggest clients bring as much information with them as possible. This includes dimensions of the space, including ceiling heights, window and door heights and positions. If they can also accompany this with photos of the current space, it assists with understanding any restrictions with the space, as well as identifying factors that the client currently dislikes about their existing home.”

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