Want to Sell your Home? Here are 4 Ways to Increase its Market Value

So you’re planning on selling your family home, and you want to know if there are any changes you can make that will help to boost the market value of your property. Property values can often depend largely on the area; whether it is near a bus or train line, whether the neighbourhood is reputable, whether or not an ‘upmarket’ supermarket is close by. However there are a number of renovations you can make to the property itself which is guaranteed to increase its market value

Here are four of them. 

1.       Extension and Conversion

The Guardian states that adding a loft conversion or extending your home can increase the value of your property by up to 20%. Loft conversions and property extensions are a handy way to transform unused space into functional space in order to add value to your home. Loft conversions are generally considered less disruptive when compared to a property extension, but both have their merits. 

Remember planning permission! Local authorities can and will order you to tear down any extensions or conversions at your own expense. Some lofts cannot be converted due to lack of space, the internal height of the existing loft etc. so make sure to check with a professional before you start drawing up any plans. 

2.       Taking Care of your Amenities

When looking at a property, two rooms that potential buyers are likely going to pay a attention to, are the kitchen, and the bathroom(s). Problems in a bathroom can spell disaster for any potential buyer; as you have damp and mould to worry about in the long term, while a dirty or smelly kitchen can really put buyers off. People want to step into a fresh house full of possibilities, not a house where the kitchen smells of year old potatoes and garlic. 

According to Bathstore, your basic new bathroom suite costs, on average, about £4,500. MyLocalPrices values a typical new fitted kitchen at anywhere between £5,000 and £8,000. These prices give you a good idea as to what you should be aiming for, when looking at getting a new bathroom and kitchen fitted. The new amenities don’t need to be bespoke, designs that are presentable and in-keeping with the style of the house work just fine.

3.       Revamping a Tired Exterior and a Dreary Interior

It is important to remember that a potential buyer will be looking at all aspects of your property, including its exterior. If the brickwork looks dirty, the paint is flaking off the doors and the windows haven't been washed for years, it is unlikely that you’ll make a sale any time soon. Hire a professional property maintenance company to see to the dirty brickwork and the painting, and get a window cleaner to give your windows a good scrub. If the front door looks a little worse for wear, consider investing in a new door as opposed to fixing it up. 

Unless numerous buy-to-let investors are going to be taking an interest in your propertypotential buyers will not want to purchase the property with all its existing furniture. It is better to completely clear the property out. When repainting go for neutral shades such as Calico from Dulux, or a Light French Gray (sic) from Behr.

4.       Two Small Trumps One Large

In today’s world, 3 Bedroom properties are generally worth more than 2 bedroom properties, even if the 2 bedrooms are large and spacious. It’s all about functionality over form; a large bedroom is all very well for a retired professional, but it doesn’t quite fit the bill for a growing family with plans for the future. Likewise in a family home, two bathrooms are certainly preferable to one, particularly when you consider the amount of time some people like to spend in the bathroom. 

The rooms do not need to be particularly large, but the website does list the Nationally Described Space Standard for one bedspace as “a single bedroom that needs to have a floor area of at least 7.5m²”. For bathrooms, BHG recommends that at least 21inches of space must be planned in front of a lavatory, toilet, bidet and a tub, with 24inches of space needed in front of a shower. 

The Nationwide Building Society has calculated that an extra bathroom can add up to 4.9% or £9,600 on to the value of your home, whereas having an extra bedroom can bump it up by 11% or £22,100.  If you have the space, why not add upwards of £30,000 to the value of your home by turning one bedroom into two and adding a bathroom? It will certainly be worth the effort. 

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working alongside a selection of companies including Hunters Estate Agents, who were consulted over this post.

Who and what is RICS?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is an institution with offices all over the world. The organisation accredits professional surveyors within the property, land, and construction sectors.Founded in London on the 15th June 1868 after a meeting of surveyors at the Westminster Palace Hotel, it was originally known as the ‘Surveyors’ Institution’. John Clutton, the man responsible for establishing property consultants Cluttons, wasthe very first president.

The headquarters of RICS are in London, on the corner of Great George Street and Parliament Square.Their name was changed to ‘The Chartered Surveyors’ Institution’in 1930, and in 1946, the title ‘Royal’ was granted by George VI. Finally, in 1947, the professional body became the ‘Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’, or RICS. 

So, what exactly does RICS do? Well, apart from maintaining the highest professional and educational standards and promoting the aims of the profession, they also help to oversee regulation and provide unbiased guidance and advice.

Worldwide, RICS accredits over 500 undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The RICS accredited course is the first step on the road to becoming a Chartered Surveyor. It provides the initial academic requirements for students training to be surveyors.Because of its uncompromising code of ethics, clients and consumers are protected from unprofessional and low-standard practices.

The significant market presence of RICS means they’re ideally placed to influence policy and entrench standards nationwide. By working closely with government, they’re able to deliver the highest international standards and support and develop the real estate, land and construction arena for the interest and welfare of all.

The statistics are impressive: In 2015, the number of RICS qualified professionals in 140 countries around the world totalled 120,000, while student membership came in at 81,000. The United Kingdom has the majority of accredited professionals but there are also very large numbers in Australia, Europe and Hong Kong … and the numbers in China, India and the Americas are growing at a phenomenal rate.

The RICS works closely with other professional bodies such as The World Bank, The United Nations and The European Union. And in 2013, the RICS became a founder member of the alliance to develop International Property Measurement Standards, which launched its very first standard (for measuring office space) in November 2014. A year later, the RICS became a founder member of the alliance to develop International Ethics Standards. These member bodies are focused on the development and implementation ofnew, professional standards.

Becoming a RICS Member

1.      If you’re studying for or have completed a RICS accredited degree, (undergraduate or post graduate), you will need to complete two years of Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) training (if you have less than 5 years’ experience), or one year’s APC training (if you have experience of 5 or more years). But if you have at least 10 years’ work experience,then no APC training is required. 

2.      If you already have a Bachelor’s degree or are a member of a RICS approved professional body and have at least 5 years’ experience, you can apply to become a member straight away

Because Chartered Surveyors have the highest levels of professional skills that are recognised all over the world, they earn more too. A salary survey conducted in 2014 clearly showed that Chartered Surveyors earned at least 20% more than their non-chartered colleagues.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

RICS members never stand still for a moment and are required to continually improve their skills and competence. They do this by completing a minimum of 20 hours per year on CPD training.This programme, which encourages a spirit of continuous learning, ensures that members build on their skills and competencies on an ongoing basis.

How Do Students Benefit?

Students are offered free membership to RICS and can take advantage of career advice, the  extensive library of books and reference materials, exciting job opportunities, and can tap into the vast network RICS is able to provide.

Registered Charity

RICS has set up a registered charity called The RICS Education Trust. It offers grants of up to £10,000 for those members involved in research projects.Applications for grants areavailable to full-time practitioners and academics. The charity does not, however, provide financial support for undergraduate or postgraduate students.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working alongside a selection of companies including Peter Barry Surveyors, who were consulted over this post.

5 Signs that You are Buying a High Quality Cast Iron Radiator

Cast iron radiators have seen a wonderful revival of late as more people are seeking to bring a touch of elegance into their home that also captures an authentic vintage look.

When considering purchasing a cast iron radiator, it is important to be able to sort a high quality contender from an inferior pretender. The following guide will help make the task of discernment a much simpler and straightforward one to achieve.

Cast Iron Radiator

·         Weight

Perhaps the most telling sign that a cast iron radiator is of high quality is whether it is actually constructed of genuine iron, rather some other type of composite metal. Cast iron radiators are so effective because they have significant mass that when fully heated, continues to emit warmth long after they have been switched off.

A general rule of thumb is that a heavier radiator is likely to be constructed of very dense metal that will outperform those heaters made of a lesser substance. For cast iron radiators, heavier is definitely better. Always check with the manufacturer to confirm exactly what the radiator is made from and choose iron every time.

·         Thickness of Steel

As previously stated, mass conducts heat in a more efficient manner, so it is important that the metal used in the radiator is quite thick so it will retain its heat. Thinner materials lose stored heat much more rapidly than thicker materials. A very simple test is to tap or knock on the metal of the radiator and see if it feels strong and sturdy. It should feel more like tapping a brick wall rather than a tin can!

·         Length of Warrantee

Unsurprisingly, the length of warrantee offered by the cast iron radiator’s manufacturer is an excellent indication as to how well the heater is made. It also demonstrates the confidence that the product has generated as returns often reflect a combination of design flaws, previous returns and expected failure rates.

No manufacturer feels comfortable making products that may harm their good reputation or be subject to a recall, so a long extended warrantee speaks volumes about the quality of the heater in question. Expect a reliable cast iron radiator to be covered for at least 10 years or more from the date of installation.

·         Overall Finish

An excellent cast iron radiator will be matched by an equally high quality finish. It should look durable, thick and well covered as opposed to thin and spotty. As these heaters generate fairly intense heat it is important that any paintwork be up to the task of repeated heating and cooling for many years.

Many radiators are also available with the option of intricate patinas and scroll work on their surfaces. These not only make a wonderful statement in any room, but also indicate the level of skill and attention to detail crafted into the radiator by the manufacturer.

·         Meets Required Standards

Lastly, high quality radiators will tick all the right boxes as far as quality assurance and compliance with the rigid safety standards imposed by current legislation. Such standards vary around the world, so it is important to check that any cast iron radiator sold in the UK meets local standards and have never faced a safety recall.

Comparing high quality cast iron radiators need not be a complicated process, especially when armed with the right information that highlights those aspects that distinguish the very best from the barely acceptable. This preparatory research will help ensure your choice in radiators continues to serve you properly, well into the future.