Guild Blog: How to Renovate on a Shoestring Budget

Wanting to make a good impression and make your home stand out in the crowd doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are numerous budget-friendly ways that you can use to make your property more appealing to potential buyers and increase your chances of selling for the highest possible price.

Wanting to make a good impression and make your home stand out in the crowd doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are numerous budget-friendly ways that you can use to make your property more appealing to potential buyers and increase your chances of selling for the highest possible price.

You can make a big impact without spending big money, too. Subtle, well-thought-out and inexpensive updates are sometimes all that is needed to make a lasting impression and give you the edge in the market.  Here are some budget-friendly updates you could do before listing your home: 

 

Start with a renovation checklist 

Before doing anything else, walk through your home and visit each room to make a list of what needs to be repaired or replaced. It’s might be difficult, but try to be objective, focusing on how buyers would view your home. A second opinion from a friend or family members could help during this process. Look for outdated styles and fixtures, bold patterns and colours, unfinished projects and over-cluttered cupboards or countertops. Consider which elements showcase the home in its best light and what doesn’t. Once the checklist has been established, the next step is to set a budget and make time to complete the tasks.

 

First impressions count

It takes people just 15 seconds to decide whether they like a house or not. That just highlights the importance of making a good first impression. A buyer’s impression of your home is not only formed by what they see on the interior but starts from outside the property walls. People passing by will judge whether they want to have a look at the property by the way it looks from the street. Curb-appeal is vital and contributes to the success of attracting buyers. Start maintenance outside the property and work your way inside. Basic updates such as painting or refinishing of fences sheds and garage doors, cutting the grass and planting some flowers can improve the look of a home from the outside. 

 

Use transitional styles

Every home will have a style that is as unique as the people who own it. Ideally, you want to incorporate modern aspects into the home without losing its character and warmth. A transitional style walks the line between traditional warmth and homeliness, and the clean lines and subdued tones of a contemporary look. You want to tick the ‘just right’ box – not too cold or formal and not too fussy. 

 

Kitchen and bathrooms are key

As some of the most frequently used areas in any home, the kitchen and bathrooms will be a focal point for buyers. Pay extra attention to these areas to ensure they are fresh and look great. Things such as stained shower stalls, broken or missing grout and leaky taps or dated cabinet hardware are easily replaced at minimum cost. Exposed pipes in the bathroom can be boxed in and hidden. 

If laminate on kitchen doors is warped, there are companies who will re-laminate the kitchen doors and carcasses for a fraction of the cost of replacing them. A fresh backsplash is also a great way to update the look of the kitchen while giving the impression of a much bigger renovation. A new kitchen backsplash is surprisingly affordable and DIY-able.

 

A fresh coat

A new coat of paint is an inexpensive way to revitalise the home, especially if you have the skills to do the job yourself. Paint can breathe new life into a dated space and can be used in a variety of applications on walls, doors, cabinets, fixtures and even tiles. It is best to stick to a neutral muted colour palette when deciding on which paint to select, as these colours will appeal to the largest number of people. 

 

Replace or repair skirting boards

It is possible to repaint the skirting boards, but sometimes they can be over-painted and in need of a refreshed look, especially next to repainted painted walls or new carpets. At approximately £1.25 per metre, it’s a cheap fix and there are online companies offering a wide range of styles, meaning you can match styles with any skirting boards you wish to keep. 

 

Replace internal doors and door handles 

If your property was built in the ’70s and you still have the original doors and handles, then they are nearly 50 years old. It’s safe to say that these types of doors and handles will not be coming back into fashion anytime soon. Handles cost as little as £7.99 each, while a door will cost around £46.99 depending on the style and material chosen. 

 

Put up new window coverings

New window treatments can enhance a room without requiring much effort. You can find reasonably priced and easy-to-install shades, curtains, and rods at stores such as IKEA.

 

Light switches and electric sockets

Another cheap but highly effective update, replacing the light switches and electric sockets won’t break the bank but will bring the home into this century. A switch will cost around £1.32, while a socket will set you back approximately £3.89. Think safety first – always employ a professional when replacing electrical elements.

 

Repair failed double-glazed windows

While a blown double-glazed window was once very expensive to repair, this is no longer the case. There are many specialist companies who can remove moisture from inside the failed double-glazed glass, clean and re-seal your windows for a fraction of the cost of buying new double glazing.

 

Hang wall art

The look of a room can be completely changed simply by hanging artwork. Before making holes in the wall, layout the artwork on the floor to get the right arrangement if there are more than one or two pieces. Markets, antique stores and second-hand shops are great resources for finding expensive gems.

 

Updating your home doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. By making these small changes before listing a property, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of setting your home apart. 

To find other budget renovation tips check out our video on ‘How to upgrade your home for less’. 

Guild Blog: Golden Principles for Buying Property

Not all property purchases are equal. While one property investment could be the foundation to building wealth, another could be a monetary black hole. What is the difference between the two?  To ensure that you are making the most out of your property purchase, it is vital to be well-informed, savvy and make the right buying decisions from the outset. The choices you make during the property buying process will have a significant impact on the potential return on your investment in the long term.

 

Simply purchasing a home at what is considered a fair market value will not guarantee that you will see good returns in the future. Here are a few golden principles that you can apply to any property acquisition:

 

Do the research and ask questions

The first step is to decide whether you are purchasing the property as a home to live in or for investment purposes. This decision will have a bearing on how you will approach the purchase. If you buy the property with the intention of living in it as your primary residence, the decision-making process will be far more emotionally guided. In this instance you will consider aspects of the property and the surrounding area that appeals to you personally. However, if the property is for investment purposes, it is more important to research what appeals to possible tenants in the area and who the tenants might be.

Although it is possible to find a lot of information about an area online, nothing can replace checking out the location in person. Take the time to drive around the area and walk the streets. Consider what the traffic is like and who your potential neighbours could be, as well as the local facilities and amenities. Local estate agents will also be able to provide you with information regarding the local property market and recent stats and figures of sales in the area.

 

Keep it simple and stick to the basics

Irrespective of the property market phase or external factors such as Brexit, sound property buying principles remain true. These include the property’s location, the value per square foot and the potential rental yield. These factors will always be the key criteria to base your decision on.

 

Subtle variances can have a large bearing

Never underestimate the importance of location. Two homes can have the same features but have very different values depending on their location. For example, the average house price can vary by as much as £500,000 from one tube station to another in London, so it might be worth sacrificing a few extra minutes on your commute. It is even possible for homes to have different values based on which side of the street they are on. From an investment perspective, purchasing the worst home in a sought-after area is better than buying the best home in an area that is not as appealing.

If you are buying with the intention of letting the property out, you will need to consider that different aspects will be attractive to different people, so discovering your niche market is essential. As an investment buyer, you should also look at how many other rental properties are available in the area before you buy. The rental sector is driven by demand, and an investment could fall flat if there is an oversupply of properties available for rent in the area.

 

A plan is paramount

If investing, it is important to think about what you would like to achieve with your property portfolio and what needs to be done to get there. If you are buying a home to live in, it is essential to think about where you would like to settle for the next five to ten years.

Having a clear plan in place will help you remain focused and will give you something to work towards. Never limit your thinking to what you can afford right now, but rather what will be possible for you in the future.

 

Get rid of debt

Access to finance is a key element to any property transaction. While around 30% of buyers can buy a home in cash, most buyers will require a mortgage to purchase a home. To increase your chances of getting a mortgage approval, ensure you have a favourable debt-to-income ratio and keep a clean credit record.

It is also vital to have a deposit of between 10% and 20% of the purchase price of the property, as well as additional funds for solicitor’s fees, stamp duty and various other costs associated with purchasing a home.

 

A home is more than bricks and mortar

Although a return on investment is often at the core of every property buying decision, there are other aspects to be considered. The basic principle of purchasing a property is that if you wouldn’t want to live in it, it’s not likely many others would either. The property should appeal to you and you should want to own it.

 

If you are looking to buy a home you’ll want to own contact your local Guild agent.

Guild Blog: Making the right purchase for you!

Research has revealed that around 80% of homeowners have at least one noteworthy regret regarding their home buying decision.

 

Here are our five top tips to ensure you make the right choice while on the hunt for your next home:

 

1. Focus is key

A property may appeal in terms of your wants, but not necessarily tick the must-haves boxes. Make sure that the property meets your main objectives otherwise it can’t be the right home for you.

2. Find the right solicitor for you

It is imperative that you choose and work with a solicitor that you not only trust but feel comfortable with too. A good solicitor will keep you well-informed and will guide you through the buying process. The service your solicitor provides can dramatically alter your home buying experience.

(Ripon and Thirsk both have local solicitors who will help you purchase or sell your property.  Please do not hesitate to pop in and ask us who we would suggest)

3. Get a second opinion

Whether you have a close friend or trusted family member, it always helps to get a second, unbiased opinion. Better yet, hire someone to look at the property to give you an idea of the work that will need doing once you move in.

4. Check your finances

There are various unexpected costs of owning a home. Make sure you calculate what is within your budget, taking costs such as council tax, insurance and service charge into consideration.

5. Don’t engage in a bidding war

Focus on finding the right home for you, and don’t get caught up in a bidding contest. Walk away from the deal if it gets out of hand to ensure you don’t overpay. Remember, a higher price will mean a larger deposit, higher fees and thousands in additional interest on a larger mortgage.

 

Are you looking to sell your home? Contact your local Guild Member for help through the moving process.

Guild Blog: Why do house sales fall through?

 

Moving to a new house can be a stressful time, particularly if a sale falls through. Don’t worry if this happens as there are often ways to get it back on track. Guild Members talk about the potential pitfalls to avoid during your negotiations and give tips to help your sale move forward. 

 

Surveys 

If something unexpected comes up in a survey, it may be a big enough problem to make the sale fall through.

Becky Evans from Mark Evans & Co said: “In our experience, most house sales fall through due to survey reports. Unexpected work picked up on a survey may cause some purchasers to walk away from a sale. We would recommend that sellers sort out any paperwork for work carried out and organise certificates to provide to your surveyor and purchaser.

“If there is work that needs to be carried out, it can be more beneficial to rectify it before going on the market, because if your sale falls through, you will still have to pay solicitor fees and may still end up paying for the work. Purchasers should fully read their survey report and ask their surveyor to explain anything they don’t understand. If surveyors have not seen any paperwork or evidence of work, they have to assume it hasn’t been done and it can therefore seem like a larger problem than it is,” she warns.

Liam Sullivan from Drivers and Norris has some advice. “Some of the more common reasons for losing a sale can be avoided if you ask the seller if they are aware of any major works having been done on the property,” he said. “Or, if alterations have been made, do they have any documentation which signs it off, either from The Council or Building Regulations?”

Chain

A chain can fall apart for many reasons, and sometimes people can get bored of waiting and find a house elsewhere.

“When you agree a sale, you expect it to go through to completion. However, this is a time when you are not in control of events. You must rely on your buyer, and maybe even their buyer, and so on until the chain is complete. Any one of these people can and do change their minds occasionally. It is often nothing to do with your property,” explains Zoe Hayle from Marshalls Penzance.

The results of a single break can be huge, too. “A sale falling through at the bottom of a chain of sales can potentially jeopardise all of the others, so one break can mean three, four or more sales falling through,” says Justin Flanagan from Charles Eden.

How can you try to stop a chain from falling through?

Becky Evans from Mark Evans & Co has some advice: “Our biggest advice to purchasers and vendors is that you may have to compromise during your sale. Also, picking the right estate agent can literally keep your sale together; our contract chaser is invaluable and on many occasions, sales would have not gone through without her.”

During a negotiation 

Negotiations can be a tricky time, and you can find yourself dealing with surprising demands. It is worth being flexible, and remember that small details should not be a make-or-break on your deal.

Cheryle Wileman from Liverpool Property Solutions says that the key is good communication. “Fixtures and fittings can also cause some fraught negotiations with sellers wanting to take fitted wardrobes etc out of the property,” she explains. “Keeping calm is often the key.”

Allan Carr, Founder of Pulver Carr, agrees that a level head can push a sale through. “I have seen a number of sales almost fall through due to silly reasons such as having to leave a tired old shed, leaving curtains, not wanting to contribute towards an indemnity policy, or not being able to agree on a completion date.

“This is where the quality estate agent mediates between both parties and get them to look at the bigger picture of completing the sales transaction,” he says.”

People changing their mind and pulling out

Situations change all the time. Someone could lose their job, a family member could become ill, or people can simply have second thoughts.

Mike Coles from Debbie Fortune has noticed a range of reasons why minds can be changed. “The seller can change their minds after first accepting the offer and decide to stay put, which is sometimes called ‘gazanging’. The seller may not be able to find another property to move to, or the buyer’s finances are not in place or their mortgage advance is rejected.

“The buyer can be ‘gazumped,’ which is when the seller receives a higher offer from another buyer. The opposite, ‘gazundering’, is when the buyer reduces their offer at the last minute, before contracts are signed,” Mike explains.

As much as a buyer may want to move ahead, they may not be able to. “Despite buyers having AIP finance, there is a changing mortgage market and tougher underwriting depending on the loan to value once an actual application is completed. This can lead to upset unless the buyer has regularly reviewed the arrangements they have made,” points out Justin Flanagan from Charles Eden.

What should you do next? 

If a sale falls through, Kelvin Francis from Kelvin Francis says: “Get the property back onto the market without delay and commence a new marketing campaign. In the event of the cause having been a result of the survey, the seller should deal with any faults.”

How can you prevent a sale from falling through? 

Don’t forget to check your mortgage status before putting in an offer to ensure that you will be accepted to buy the home.

You should always remember to be patient, especially when waiting for sales to go through. The negotiation stage can be the most frustrating as you want the sale to move ahead quickly, but it is worth taking a step back and letting the negotiations take their course.

 

The most important thing is to choose an agent who will be able to constantly chase your sale through, no matter if it is in a chain of not. A highly-regarded independent estate agent, like Members of The Guild of Property Professionals, will be experts in sale chasing and can ensure that everything possible is done to stop a sale from falling through. 

Are you thinking of selling your home? Click here to find your local Guild Member. 

 

 

 

 

http://www.guildproperty.co.uk/news/post/1510588332/why-do-house-sales-fall-through

If you are thinking of buying a property and would like a survey to help you make this decision then please contact our Survey Department on 01765 694804.