Back to home
in Real Estate

Why Working Your Way Up The Property Market Doesn’t Have To Be Such A Grind

  • January 30, 2017
  • By Grace
Why Working Your Way Up The Property Market Doesn’t Have To Be Such A Grind

Most people think that working their way up the property ladder is something that takes a couple of decades, and even then, you’ll only end up with something half-decent. It’s apparently a lifelong project, with the ever-present issue of the mortgage to pay. But does it have to be that way?

The great thing about houses is that they aren’t a standard, depreciating assets, like a car. They can be improved, often resulting in massive gains in resale value. Redesigning a home needn’t be just cosmetic either. Fundamental changes can be made to the character of the home to bring it up to date and increase its appeal in the modern marketplace. Here’s what to do.

Tip #1: Correct Any Structural Problems

Before you begin working on any cosmetic improvement, it’s essential to make sure that there aren’t any serious underlying structural problems. Buyers can be fooled by hiding defects in the property, but there’s a good chance that a surveyor won’t. Look out for things like a sagging roof, collapsed floors, chimney stacks that are about to fall down, broken and missing roof times, bowing walls, rising damp and rotting joists.

All these defects can be repaired, for a price of course. But it turns out that they are among the best bang for the buck that you’re likely to see. Remedying structural problems will result in massive gains to the value of your home, well above those you are likely to get from other improvements. Correcting a structural defect will involve consultation with structural engineers, surveyors, and builders.

Tip #2: Invest In Central Heating

A lot of older homes rely on alternative heating methods, like storage heaters. The problem with these solutions is that they aren’t anywhere near as convenient as central heating. Storage heaters rely on heat building up during certain times of the day and take a long time to take effect. What’s more, it’s hard to get heat on-demand, making it a turnoff for buyers.

Most buyers, especially buyers in the upper end of the market will see central heating as something that is essential. So if you want to work your way up the property ladder, consulting with a plumber and getting them to fit a heating system is essential. Fitting a post-war home with central heating will cost, on average, between $5,000 and $7,000, depending on how many rooms you have in your house.

While you’re investing in central heating, it’s also a good idea to work out whether you could benefit from increasing the general energy efficiency of the building. Have a look and see whether you can add insulation to the loft space, replace windows with double glazing and seal drafts under doors and around windows.

Tip #3: Makeover The Kitchen

For many buyers, the kitchen is the most important room in the house, partly because of its functionality, and partly because it is so time-consuming and inconvenient to upgrade. But for people wanting to work their way up the property ladder, an updated kitchen is a good idea.

Take a look at the kitchen you’ve got right now and look out for things like cupboard doors that don’t close properly, damaged worktops and peeling paint. Next, inspect what is known as the “carcass” in the industry – the wooden structure that supports all the kitchen units in your home. It turns out that the carcass for cheap kitchens made from MDF plyboard is the same as the carcass used for designer kitchens, meaning that it is entirely possible for you to upgrade your kitchen without ripping everything out and starting again. Many companies offer services that simply replace all of the fixtures and fittings, like the doors, work surfaces and handles, and don’t charge any extra for the underlying wooden structure. This means that you can get a kitchen that looks brand new at a fraction of the price.

The layout of your kitchen is important too. The most valuable homes, according to tend to be those that enable open plan living. Open plan living is extremely popular in the market right now, and so buyers are looking for kitchens that lead out into living areas, as well as those that have islands.

Sometimes, open plan isn’t an option, especially if there is a supporting wall separating your kitchen from your living room. But there’s still a lot you can do to open up space in a kitchen. Go to a kitchen supplier and ask them about possible layouts for your kitchen. You need space for a refrigerator, washing machine and dryer. Integrated units tend to look the best and help to keep everything out of the way.

Finally, buyers also want kitchens that have integrated extractor hoods. These hoods help to remove steam from the kitchen, preventing the humidity level from rising, and reducing the chances that mold will set in. Hoods can add dramatically to the value of a house and help sellers like you move up the property ladder.

Tip #4: Remodel Existing Space

Adding new space to a home will increase its value, but often homeowners can create value, simply by playing around with the space that they have. Take a look at the plans for your house and have a look if there is any way to improve public living areas, like the kitchen, dining room and living area. If you’re a whizz on the computer, fire up a CAD program and have a look to see what changes could be made.

A good idea is to look at existing circulation spaces in your property – like halls, landings, and stairs – and see whether better use of the space could be made. Today’s buyers are less interested in formal living. They’d rather have rooms that are spacious and functional, suited to their purposes. Remember, having fewer, larger rooms will give the impression of making your house look bigger than it actually is.

It’s worth pointing out that structural walls can be removed, but they’ll need to be replaced by steel joists. If you need to replace a structural wall, it’s a good idea to talk to an engineer.

Tip #5: Add To Existing Accommodation

What’s the first thing you usually see to describe a family home? The bedroom count.

It turns out that bedroom count matters a lot. There’s often a big difference in price between houses offering three bedrooms and those offering four. Adding extra space, therefore, will usually add significantly to the selling price.

There are a couple of ways to add extra bedrooms to your home without extending the property outright. The first is to convert the attic. Attic rooms are often very popular, thanks to their skylights and commanding views over the rest of the town. Basement bedrooms are also an option, though not nearly as popular. Finally, storage rooms, such as spare rooms you might have along your landing, can be converted, although you may need to raise the ceiling in some cases.

Tip #6: Give The Garden A Makeover

When buyers come to look at your property, one factor they will consider when coming up with an offer is the quality of the garden. The best selling gardens aren’t those that look stately with bed after bed of flowers and beautifully manicured bushes. Instead, they are those that are neat and tidy and imply minimal upkeep. Consult with a landscaper and ask them how to arrange your garden so that it is most attractive to potential buyers. Get them to construct a plan that includes outdoor living space, an area for wildlife, and a path that cuts through the lawn for access.

Another important consideration when it comes to gardens is privacy. A feeling of privacy and seclusion will add dramatically to the value of a home. Add fences up to 2 meters in height, and consider planting trees to keep prying eyes away from your property.

In some states, decking has also become very popular, especially in the south. Decking affords space for things like a barbecue area, storage boxes, and seating.

Tip #7: Add A Conservatory

The typical conservatory adds far more value to a home than it costs, according to, so long as it is well integrated into a home.

Prices for a conservatory usually start at around $6000, plus a further $2000 to build and fit. Well designed conservatories are those where the glazed windows face south to allow maximum sunlight throughout the year. North-facing conservatories are a waste of time.




It’s also worth noting that some buyers will be put off by cheap conservatories that don’t use energy-efficient flooring and glazing. Always make sure that your conservatory area is as energy-efficient as possible, as poorly designed conservatories will be a drain on heating bills.


The best-designed conservatories are those that expand an existing area in the house, like the kitchen. To be effective, and to help your house sell for more money, conservatories have to feel like a genuine part of the house. If they don’t, you could wind up losing money.

By Grace, January 30, 2017
About Little Modernist
This site is designed to help you live your best life. We know how overwhelming life can be, so we have designed this blog to focus on the essentials: how to get ahead financially, how to improve your health and fitness, and how to make the most of your free time.
Like Us On Facebook
Facebook Pagelike Widget