How to add value to your unoccupied property

Selling a second home or an unoccupied property can be financially rewarding. However, if your property isn’t worth as much as you originally hoped, there may be ways you can try to increase the value to get as much profit back in return. This may require clever planning and strict budgeting, so take a look below at some of our handy tips that could help you increase your unoccupied properties’ value.

Before you start…

Before taking on any major projects around your property, have a plan in place for what you would like to achieve, as well as a realistic time goal and budget. It is always worth asking for quotes from builders, electricians, building surveyors etc., so you can get a much more approximate idea of the amount of work required and the costs involved. Remember though, unexpected issues can occur during any DIY or major project, so be prepared for surprise costs or a detour from your plans.

Cleanliness

One of the first things potential buyers will notice when viewing a property, is how clean it is. A property that is dirty, cluttered, and unhygienic maybe a red flag to buyers, as it raises questions such as, what potential issues are lying beneath all that dirt and grime? It can also be an automatic no-no for some buyers, who simply do not want to face the daunting task of cleaning a property in such a state.

By simply giving your property a deep clean and removing any rubbish and clutter inside and out, it can instantly look a lot more appealing and you can help buyers see the potential in the property.

Freshen-up

There are smaller and less costly tasks you can carry out in your unoccupied property, to increase more viewings and possibly the value, such as: 

  • Re-painting marked or faded walls and ceilings can brighten up any room. Keep colours neutral as it provides potential buyers with a blank canvas to work with.
  • If your wooden floors are looking a little tired, you could consider sanding them down and re-seal/staining as a finish. You could do this yourself or hire a professional. For carpets it might be a case of replacing with a basic, neutral colour. While for tiles or other hard floors, either try to buff them up to save on cost or leave them be.
  • Once you have freshened up the place, ask your estate agent to take some strategic shots of the property, to really capture the new look. This could help draw in more viewings, as this will be the first that viewers see of the property.

The must haves

The amount of work and money that you will need to spend on your unoccupied property, will entirely depend on its current condition. You may find that some of the necessities are in bad shape, and by tackling these issues first, it could keep buyers interested.

  • If you need significant roof repairs, such as replacing the batons, tiles, or you have a hole, then consider this a priority. Not only will the roof repairs keep your property weather tight, but it could help prevent any further damage such as damp, mould or leaks. Potential buyers could be put off from a property that requires major roof repairs and you could end up with offers under your asking price.
  • If the electrics in your property need major work such as re-wiring, this should also be completed before the property goes on the market. Most buyers will want to be able to use the basics such as lighting, heating, and appliances.
  • Gas and water are no different. If the plumbing and gas are in a state of disrepair, then this could be a hard no for buyers. If you are in doubt of the condition of your plumbing and gas, have a plumber and gas engineer come out to confirm this for you.

Loft conversions and extensions

If you’re wanting to increase the size of your unoccupied property, then a loft conversion or an extension, could be the way to go. Provided that you have the appropriate planning permission in place, and the structure has been built to correct building standards, then according to this 2020 article by The Telegraph, a loft conversion could increase the value of your property by up to 20%. While expanding your living space to include a second bathroom could increase your value by an average of £12,000.

Of course, any sort of major renovation project such as a loft conversion or extension, is a lot more costly than your average DIY job. So, ask for plenty of quotes from builders and depending on your budget pick the renovation that will increase your property value the most but for the least amount to do. You will of course need to check with your local authority, to see if you need planning permission before you start construction or renovations.

Bathrooms and kitchens

Traditionally, a second bathroom or en-suite was considered a luxury in the standard UK home, however, a second bathroom is now a very attractive quality for potential buyers.

Although bathrooms can be expensive to install, if the bathroom in your unoccupied property is in a sorry state, then consider upgrading it. A new bathroom could mean the difference between a potential buyer and a solid sell. A new basic bathroom suite can be installed for around £4,500, and by keeping the design simple, white, or neutral, it is likely to appeal to a much wider audience.

Kitchens are another major selling point, but it is whether you feel your property needs an upgrade or not.

The key to installing a new kitchen is:

  • Example: Don’t spend £20,000 on a new kitchen if you will only make £5,000 back in return
  • If you are selling the property, keep the kitchen colours and design simple.

If you can’t quite afford an all singing-all-dancing kitchen, then consider:

  • Replacing the worktops if they are looking worn
  • Replace, re-sand or re-paint the cupboards
  • Replace the built-in appliances if they are outdated or not fully functioning.
  • A lick of paint or new tiles can work wonders

Don’t overdo it

If you are fixing up your unoccupied property, purely to sell it on and to hopefully make a profit, then don’t go crazy by fitting in the most expensive bathroom suite or spend silly amounts on shag-pile carpets. By making little changes here and there, and only making big changes if necessary, you stand a much better chance of making a bigger profit on your property.

People also have different tastes, and whoever will purchase your unoccupied property, will mostly likely change something within the property once they get the keys. So, remember to plan carefully, budget, and spend wisely when it comes to adding value to your unoccupied property.

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