Do Home Improvements Add Value

Do Home Improvements Add Value?

Do Home Improvements Add Value

Well, the answer to this question is ….. maybe!

Some might, and some are unlikely to. Some may add to the value, but some may be valuable in other ways. So, here, we at Stephens & Partners Estate Agents take a look at whether all home improvements are equal.

We have bags of experience in property in and around Cardiff, so if you need some expert advice on exactly what could add value to your home, just get in touch. Call us on 029 2022 7603 or email us at info@stephensandpartners.co.uk.

What classes as a home improvement?

To start with, what exactly constitutes a home improvement? This is an interesting one. A new central heating system is undoubtedly an improvement, but chances are that a new system is being installed because the old one isn’t up to the job.

So, yes, it is a home improvement, but it’s not the same as, for example, building a conservatory.

Get a bit lofty

Many people are looking for a home that gives them space. Perhaps a growing family needs a couple of extra bedrooms, or a room is needed to use as a space in which to partake in a hobby or to work.

There’s no doubt that in the right area, the number of bedrooms can help increase the price of your property. You could go up into the loft, making good use of a void, or you might decide to have an extension built.

The thing to consider here though is why you are having the improvement done and what it costs. If it costs you £25,000 to have your loft converted, and it will only add an extra £10,000 to the property, does it make sense? Perhaps not if you’re doing it to sell your home, but it will if you intend on staying there and need the space.

Kitchen improvements

They say that the kitchen is the heart of a home. A tatty, tired-looking kitchen with units from the 1970s may well put people off. If you have a brand new, sparkling kitchen, then you can certainly up the value of your home.

If you don’t want to go the whole way to getting a new kitchen, have you thought about putting new handles on cupboards, painting doors, installing a new worktop? There are alternatives.

Drive up the value

You may be tempted to create space by adding a bedroom, office or playroom by converting the garage. But, put the brakes on and have a think. If you need to, fine. But, think about those who may buy your house when you sell. Are they likely to need a garage? So will you be driving up the value or making your property harder to sell?

By changing the use of the garage, you may be devaluing the price and attractiveness of your home – particularly if you’re in a busy town or city centre where parking is at a premium.

Decorating and landscaping

You’ve chosen some lovely wallpaper. And while you were at the DIY store, you picked up some ideas about landscaping the garden too. But, wait a minute. If you’re decorating or landscaping, you’re probably doing it to your tastes. That’s fair enough, but if a potential buyer comes along and really doesn’t like what you’ve done, you may not be getting any future value out of it – although landscaping may make your home more attractive and so easier to sell.

It’s about the value of kerb appeal!

What’s the added value?

It’s difficult to put a value on home improvements as they vary so much. A bathroom in one house may add £10,000 to a property, but a bathroom at another house that doesn’t match the same quality finish, may add just a couple of thousand. A decent loft conversion could add up to £30,000 to a property, but the profit depends on exactly how much it cost you in the first place.

As you can see from a brief look online, a lot of “value” is based on estimates.

Based on our experience and knowledge of the local property market in Cardiff, we can tell you what your property is worth now, and what it might be worth with a few home improvements.

Stephens & Partners Estate Agents are your local property experts for the Cardiff area. Call us on 029 2022 7603 or email info@stephensandpartners.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

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Making the Switch: Changing Estate Agents in Cardiff – How to Choose Wisely

Choosing the right estate agent in Cardiff is key to you being happy when you come to selling your home.

Moving home is a stressful time, and we won’t lie – it can be hectic. There are so many things to do, so many plans to make, and then there’s the number crunching to do.

It can be a tough time, even though you know that at the end of it you’ll be starting a new chapter in a new home with your family.

One of the key things to do is to choose the right estate agent at the start of the process. Sometimes though you may need to switch estate agents because you’re simply not happy with the estate agent you initially chose.

This is not the best position to find yourself in! So, here are our top five tips to help you choose the right team to sell your property.

1. Why Change Estate Agent?

So, you think you need to change the estate agent who is selling your property? You may well be right, but take time to think carefully about why you want to change and make sure it’s for the right reasons.

Ask yourself the following:

  • What is it that makes you want to change?
  • Are you being patient?
  • Have you spoken with your agent, or are they oblivious to your thoughts and feelings?
  • If you have had that conversation, have they tried to rectify things?
  • Have they failed to attract viewings?
  • Have you got unrealistic expectations?
  • Do they communicate regularly with you?

Top Tip: Before changing agent, you should always speak with your current agent to satisfy yourself that there is nothing more they can do for you. Changing agents can be done, but make sure it’s for the right reasons. Make lists of the pros and cons and consider very carefully.

2. Check Your Paperwork

This is crucial, and we can’t stress this enough. You may be unhappy with your current estate agency and want to change, but the agreement you signed up to may prevent you from doing this immediately, or it may come at a cost.

You may be tied into an agreement whereby the estate agent is the sole agency allowed to sell your property during a specific period. This sole agency clause will mean that you can’t instruct another estate agent during that period. It might also mean that you are tied into an agent for a specific time and will need to be patient.

You may be able to break the agreement if you pay a fee, as some agents do charge a fee even if they don’t sell your property.

Top Tip: Make sure you read the paperwork and are happy with it, including the small print, or at least are aware of it and its implications, before you sign it!

3. Take Your Time

When you have decided to move, it’s easy to get carried away with things – after all, it can be an exciting time.

But, slow down. Take the time to choose the right estate agent for you. And, this is the case whether you’re choosing an estate agent for the first time or are wanting to switch.

Do some research about your intended agent.

  • Search online to see what others think of them.
  • Look at their reviews.
  • Are they friendly and approachable?
  • Do they have good knowledge of the local area?
  • Are they prominent in the local community?
  • How well do they market themselves and their properties?

Top Tip: In an online world, customers leave reviews all over the place – on websites, social media and Google! Use these as part of your decision when choosing an estate agent in Cardiff.

4. The Right Agency for You

You will find several estate agents in Cardiff all of whom operate in different ways, but who all should have the same objective – to sell your home!

At Stephens & Partners Estate Agents we may not be the cheapest, nor the largest agency, but we will always do our absolute best for you, and we believe that our local knowledge and expertise counts for a lot! We want to make sure that we are the right fit for you. We will ensure you feel comfortable with our team and of course, we will market your property effectively so that you get the offer you deserve.

5. Making the Switch

If you do make the decision to switch estate agent, check your contract as a priority, so you are aware of any potential issues. Then, when you’ve chosen your new agent, be upfront and clear with them and explain why you’ve changed, as this will help them going forward.

We will be delighted to act for you and use our experience and skill to help you sell your property. Give us a call on 029 2022 7603 or email info@stephensandpartners.co.uk and we’ll get the conversation started.

how to sell my home

7 Home Selling Myths…Busted!

When it comes to selling your home in Cardiff, there’s a lot of overwhelming information and old wives tales out there, and it can sometimes be difficult separating the fact from the fiction.

Advice often comes from well-meaning friends or family members who are just trying to be helpful, but in reality, they are not property experts!

Our team at Stephens & Partners Estate Agents are all experienced property professionals with many years of experience between us. So, to ensure you are in possession of the correct information, here are seven home selling myths you’re likely to hear and why they’re not to be believed.

1. Overpricing Your Home Will Lead to Better Offers

Unfortunately, many sellers believe that by overpricing their house to start with, it leaves more room for negotiation and ultimately a better offer. That’s why we often see sellers marketing their properties with the agent who has simply come in with the highest valuation!

However, this is entirely false.

When buyers are looking at properties, they’ll search within their price range. If your property price has been inflated, then it’s going to be competing against other properties that appear to be far better value for money, rather than sitting in the price bracket it should be in! This potentially means it will sit on the market for longer.

Buyers whose budget doesn’t stretch to the higher price range will miss out on seeing your property altogether as they’re not even looking in that price bracket.

You’ll attract more offers and sell your property more quickly if it’s been priced fairly. It gives it a chance to stand out among other properties in its price range, rather than being a poor relation in the higher price category. And you’re more likely to see interested parties competing upwards rather than knocking you down.

2. Getting an Immediate Offer Means it’s Priced Too Low

If you’ve resisted the urge to overprice your home and an offer comes in straight away, it’s tempting to think that you’ve missed a trick by not marketing it at a higher price. After all, if you had done, then you’d be a few thousand pounds better off surely.

Again, this is false. Most buyers scour the market for a couple of months, waiting for the perfect property to come up, and there’s a good chance that they’ve jumped in immediately to avoid missing out.

Remember too that if you’d overpriced it, there’s a chance they wouldn’t have found it in the first place.

3. A Better Offer Will Come Along if You Wait

This is another all too familiar trap that sellers fall into. After all, if you’ve had an offer on the very same day your home has gone on sale, then surely there’s likely to be a whole queue of buyers lining up for it?

No, not necessarily. You might just have been lucky enough to have the right buyer come along at the right time. If you receive a fair offer, then it’s usually best to accept it whether your property has been on the market for hours, days , weeks or months.

4. The Estate Agent With the Lowest Commission is the Best Option

While you’ll naturally want to earn as much money from your property sale as possible, it doesn’t mean you should sign a contract with the estate agent who offers the cheapest fees.

Selling a property can be a very stressful process. A good estate agent will help make it run as smoothly as possible while communicating effectively and providing outstanding service, so it’s crucial you weigh up what’s included in their fee.

Although it’s tempting to cut costs as much as possible in the short term, you might come to regret it over the longer term, especially if your property isn’t selling.

5. Major Renovations Will Offer the Biggest Return on Investment

Many homeowners are under the impression that if they spend a few thousand pounds on a conservatory, a swimming pool or a landscaped garden, they’ll just be able to add the cost of it to the house when they come to sell.

Sadly, it’s not quite as simple as this. Not all buyers will want to maintain a pool or require the space that a conservatory ultimately takes away from their garden, for example. Many buyers prefer to start with a blank canvas too, so they can add their own renovations.

That’s not to say that a major renovation is a bad idea, but if you’re only doing it to see a return when you come to sell, then it might be worth considering the type of renovation or extension that will bring you the best returns.

6. It’s Not Worth Fixing the House up at all

If you’ve decided to sell your property, it’s understandable that you won’t be thinking about spending even more money on it. After all, it won’t be you seeing the benefits long-term.

This logic is flawed, though, and it could cost you when it comes to getting the full asking price. A property that’s well maintained and looked after is far more appealing to buyers. Fixing broken fences and gates, tidying the garden, replacing broken windows or doors and giving any tired rooms a fresh lick of paint will go a long way towards selling your property for its true value.

7. Online Valuations are 100% Accurate

Online valuations are a fantastic tool and we are most definitely in favour! However, a quick online valuation of your property should be used as a guide. Online tools don’t always take into account the condition of a property or the extra value you may have added. They’re simply using other similar sized and types of properties in your area as a guideline.

The best way to get your property valued is always to contact an experienced, local estate agent who will come and value your property in person.

Stephens & Partners Estate Agents are your local property experts for the Cardiff area. Call us on 029 2022 7603 or email info@stephensandpartners.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.

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15 Old Fashioned Household Cleaning Tips that Work!

15 Old Fashioned Household Cleaning Tips that Work!

Whether it’s a good old spring clean or you want to ensure your property in Cardiff is spick and span before you put your home on the market, choosing cleaning products that get the job done is essential!

We have become so used to seeing fancy, branded packaging lining the shelves of the cleaning aisle that many of the traditional cleaning methods that our Grandmothers would swear by have disappeared.

Fear not though, because the team at Stephens & Partners Estate Agents are full of great ideas, and can offer you 15 old fashioned cleaning tips that really work:

1.   Use White Vinegar to Clean the Windows

Do you have trouble getting a streak-free finish? Sometimes, no matter how much you scrub and rinse, your windows will keep drying with streaky marks down them, making them look worse than before.

If this sounds familiar, then white vinegar is the answer. Just spray a little bit on your windows and wipe clean to achieve a streak-free finish.

You can also mix it with warm water and cornstarch to achieve similar results, but a spray bottle of distilled white wine vinegar by itself should do the trick.

2.   Use White Vinegar to Remove Limescale

As you’ve probably guessed, white vinegar is incredibly versatile. And in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t leave a nasty odour like malt vinegar would, so avoid the bottle of brown stuff at your local chip shop!

To remove limescale from the kettle, just fill the kettle with a mix of water and white vinegar, leave for a few hours, and when you come back to it the limescale can be removed easily.

You can also use it to remove limescale from showers and taps but take care as it’s not suitable for all taps, such as gold-plated ones.

3.   Use Lemons to Remove Stains on Chopping Boards

If your chopping board is looking tired and stained from things like strawberries and raspberries there’s no need to give up on it and buy a new one, because another fruit is the answer you’re looking for.

Just squeeze a lemon over the board and scrub to remove those stubborn stains. If you’re wondering how this works, it’s the acidity of the lemon that works its magic here. Just don’t use it on stone floors or worktops.

4.   Use a Lemon to Remove Grease From Dishes

Just like white vinegar, lemons are incredibly versatile when it comes to cleaning. If your saucepans or frying pans have tough grease on them, just cut a lemon in half and rub over them. This loosens the grease, allowing you to remove it much more easily.

5.   Use Baking Soda to Clean Dirty Pans

Similar to lemons, the acidity in baking soda makes it a great product for removing stubborn grease. Simply apply it to a scrubbing brush and get to work on your greasy pans, and you’ll find it works far easier than a scourer or sponge.

6.   Use White Vinegar to Remove Sticky Residue

Ok, so we’re back to white vinegar, but we did say how versatile it is. Don’t you hate it when you remove a sticker or label and loads of it remains stuck to the object? Well, apply some white vinegar to the area and it’ll magically lift it off.

7.   Soak Clothes in Detergent and Water Before Washing Them

This only applies to clothes with a heavy stain, so don’t worry you don’t have to do this every time you’re about to put a wash on.

Before stain removal products became such big business, people had to find other ways to remove them from clothes, and a good pre-soaking before sticking them in the wash was how they did it. And it still works today.

8.   Use Baking Soda and White Vinegar to Unclog Drains

There are loads of plug and drain unblockers out there all telling you how tough they are on clogs and blockages, which then underwhelm you.

For something that actually works, put a tablespoon of baking soda down there, follow up with a cup of white vinegar, leave for a couple of minutes and then pour in a kettle of boiling water.

9.   Use Toothpaste to Remove Scratches on Glass

Another strange but true cleaning tip! Just make sure you use a classic toothpaste and not the gel ones. Add some to a soft cloth, wipe in a circular motion, then wipe away with a damp cloth and dry.

10.  Remove Stains With Glycerin

Rub some of this into any stained clothes, leave for an hour or so and then wash as normal. And it’s great for sore throats too!

11.  Use Lemons to Clean Copper Saucepans

To get your copper shining again, lemons will do the job perfectly. You can take the hollow shell of a squeezed lemon, dip it in cooking salt and then scrub the saucepans. Rinse and dry after, and you’ll have sparkling copper again.

12.  Dust With Water

There’s no need to buy expensive polishes and dust cleaning products, just using water on your duster is sufficient. Give your duster a good soaking, then wring it as dry as possible and use it without any cleaning products. Just make sure to dry wooden surfaces immediately after wiping.

13.  Use Natural Ingredients to Freshen the Air

Avoid the chemical smells that come with canned air fresheners and consider more natural options instead. Items like vanilla extract or cinnamon sticks will give your home a unique, longer-lasting smell than a shop-bought air freshener.

14.  Use Old Clothes as Cleaning Rags

Just because your t-shirt has a hole in it or doesn’t fit anymore, it doesn’t mean you can’t still get good use out of it. You can use it to clean the car or windows and it’ll do the job just as well as a purpose made cloth.

15.  Use Coffee Grounds to De-odourise the Fridge

Put a bowl of coffee grounds in the back of your fridge and it will absorb any bad odours and leave it smelling much fresher.

Now there’s no excuse for you not to have a sparkling house!