New Year House Resolutions!

publication date: Jan 8, 2010
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

New Year House Resolutions!

Well it’s that time of year again where we make all those promises and forget to keep them! However with the chilling winds, snow and ice falling in the UK, now is a good time to think not just about how you are going to lose weight or stop smoking but also getting those jobs done in the home in 2010!

What you NEED to fix!
With winter we tend to get snow and ice, stormy weather and rain which can cause flooding, pipes to freeze, loose or cracked tiles to fall and fences to blow over. So it’s important to make sure your property is in ship shape!

It’s also a known ‘fact’ that if your boiler breaks down it’ll be in the middle of a cold snap, and with the new ‘boiler scrappage’ scheme you can see if you qualify for £400 towards a new one!  Visit the Energy Saving Trust to see if you qualify.

What’s worth doing during the credit crunch!
While money is tight and the housing market is still a little wobbly, it’s not worth going overboard on jobs unless you are planning to add lots of value to your property.

The kind of things you should be doing are sitting down and looking at the type of rooms you need now and in the future. Do you need an office for the family or for you if you are planning to work more from home?  Are the children growing up fast so the ones that are sharing will need their individual space?

Look at the layout of your home – can you use rooms for different purposes? Are there areas with ‘unused space’? This might be a room being used as ‘storage’ or under the stairs.

It’s also worth just finishing those annoying little jobs that never seem to get done. Washing painted walls can give them a fresh look (check this works on a small area that can’t be seen first). Sort out any small cracks, or badly fitting doors, or fix a lampshade to the bulb in the bedroom you rarely use.

Sweeping up outside, clearing drains and making sure any tiles on the roof or poorly fitting guttering or fencing is fixed so it stays water and wind tight when it rains or a storm approaches.

What will add value during the recession?
You do need to be careful what DIY or professional jobs you do around your home while house prices aren’t really going up that much.

Only do jobs that you are definitely going to finish, or if you are half way through doing a place up then do finish it off. More and more agents are finding buyers splitting into two categories:-

Doer Uppers and Move In Straightaway

So if your property is a bit of wreck, it’s unlikely to be worth doing anything to unless you are going to do the whole house. Alternatively if it’s mostly done, then concentrate on finishing it off to a high standard so it sells quicker and ideally for the best price.

Normally any kind of makeover will help add value to a property, but in a recession better finished homes just tend to sell faster rather than for more money.

So you need to be doing jobs that tend to take the property into another price bracket. The best way of doing this typically is to add an extra bedroom, or an en-suite, but make sure the house is balanced. A five bedroom home with no garden won’t sell and a property with a huge downstairs and only two bedrooms is a tough one to market as well.

What bargains can you get?
Well this is definitely the time to bag a bargain! Basically companies are desperate for your cash, so they are shaving a fortune off kitchens, bathrooms and the appliances and accessories to go with them.

But tradesmen are also a bargain. Years ago most would work on developers sites, but as there aren’t so many new builds being done, lots are working for homeowners. Make sure their work is good quality, they always come with references you have personally checked AND you have a form of written contract.

If you don’t write down the work and cost and both sign something, builders can run off with your cash and there is nothing you can do about it! Make sure you don’t hand over big amounts of dosh unless the materials have arrived and/or the work has been carried out to your satisfaction.

For more help with your property project or handy tips, contact us or tel 0845 838 1763.


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