We all know that property is one of the best investments you can make – be it to utilise market growth or to generate income through rent. Here at Howick and Brooker we are regularly asked by homeowners what improvements they can make to their homes (prior to selling) in order to increase the property’s value. The rule of thumb here is to utilise what you already have and remember that additions that are too costly might not bring you much of a return when you sell, so work with what you’ve got and make it more useful for potential buyers - it’s important to think about who the most likely buyers are and to go for improvements that will be most beneficial to them. E.g.: is your home good for commuting? A Young family? First time buyers?

Here are five ideas that can add great value to your property:

 

Kitchen - It’s extremely fashionable nowadays to have a large, spacious kitchen (ideally with an island unit) that can be used to entertain as well as prepare food. If you only want to improve one room, then definitely concentrate on the kitchen and add a few wow-factor touches to make it stand out. According to various sources a new kitchen could give your property a value boost of up to 8% value.

ways to increase the value of my home

Bathrooms and Heating - After the kitchen, your bathroom should be next on the list for an overhaul if it’s looking dated. Choose a crisp white bathroom so it appeals to lots of people and add some ultra-stylish features to add impact. Additionally, buyers prefer at least onebathroom in a property, so if your home only has the one and the possibility exists to add a second, please do. Many Victorian cottages only have a downstairs bathroom – it’s beneficial to move this upstairs if you can. It might seem obvious, but adding central heating to a property that doesn’t already have it will help to increase its value and its appeal. For most people central heating is essential and buyers will try to offer less money if they need to have it installed.

Garden - Large gardens and particularly front gardens have become less attractive but we all love an outdoor space! What we do with it however can be important to the value of your home. Creating an ‘outdoor room’ or can add heaps of value to your property, especially if it is currently run down. Adding a deck, patio or seating area can make a lovely space for entertaining or for the family to enjoy in the spring and summer. Summer houses are welcome additions, and are often considered veryattractive when they can be utilised as a playroom or office. They effectively add an additional room to your property

Conservatories are another great way to add square footage to your property and they’re excellent if added next to your dining area or kitchen to increase the size of that shared, family space. A good quality conservatory is imperative – ideally with proper insulation – if the room is either too hot or too cold it willput potential buyers off. A  conservatory could put up to 15% onto the value of your home.

how can I sell mu home in Essex?> 

 

Conversions - Speaking of extensions and additions do you really need that garage? Most people would much prefer an extra reception room, so if you can get permission it’s well worth converting the garage to add square footage to your home. Depending on where it’s located it can also make a fantastic playroom or home office.The loft is another often unused space and can make a stunning extra bedroom – please make sure you have permission to convert! A converted loft can add up to 20% onto a property’s value. Even boarding out a loft space is beneficial.

Add parking space - Having somewhere to park the car is a big plus for most buyers. Parking spots are becoming even scarcer, making them especially valuable. Even if your buyers don’t drive, they will value the space for when family and friends come to visit. If you don’t already have parking, but do have a front garden, consider paving part of it to create off-road parking.  You might have to apply to have the kerb dropped, but it is worth investigating.

Before undertaking any major work such as an extension, you can consult your local Guild Member to ask for their advice on property values. And please undertake careful research re costs before undertaking any substantial alterations. Good luck!

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership - is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.

 

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area please get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve all seen the numerous programmes on daytime TV, where savvy business people and/or keen amateurs buy run down houses and ‘flip’ them for a sizable profit. We may even know friends who do this professionally or as a bit of a hobby. It seems a very attractive way to earn a substantial one off payment, or even a living, and these shows make it seem so simple! What could possibly go wrong?

tips on renovating a house

Well, it NOT simple naturally, and there are a myriad considerations to take into account. Here’s a quick guide to some important things to consider before you embark on a renovation project of your own. Please remember that this is NOT exhaustive! If you’d like any more detailed advice please get in touch.

 

Choosing the Right Property

Properties in need of renovation go on the market in two ways:

  • Through auction (please take a look at our guide here.
  • Through an estate agent

It is wise to contact estate agencies in your chosen areas, making it clear that you are interested buying a renovation project. That way agents will alert you when suitable properties come to the market, you will are the first person they call when they take on a relevant property.

Auctions require less waiting but they can be more competitive. Unconverted properties are highly sought-after by investors so guide prices can quickly be exceeded.

 

Check, Check, Check!

  • Is the property listed or in a conservation area? Certain parts of Old Harlow for example, (near our offices) are in a conservation area, meaning that fencing or exterior appearances cannot be altered.
  • Have a chat with any neighbours before your plans are drawn up. This will save unnecessary objections later and you may also find out stories of previous renovations in the area, and what has been approved and/or rejected.
  • Research the area. What are similar properties selling for when they are in good condition? Could you achieve even more with a new, clean finish? How long does it take for properties of this type to sell?
  • Don’t renovate without the relevant plans or consent – councils are well within their rights to removed buildings that have been changed without permission.

 

flipping a house – where do I start?

Before You Start….

  • A lot. Many ‘flipped’ properties are inadequately planned, which can lead to higher costs and a lower-quality finish. Making changes part way through the work will mean certain steps have to be re-done. It is worth hiring the services of a professional at this stage.
  • Consult professionals before you start renovating: town planners, contractors, attorney, project managers, and the bank.
  • Investigate funding options. Work out how much money you have to spend and where it is coming from. Also consider an emergency backup fund in case the project runs into difficulties, such as requiring a new roof or boiler.
  • Unless you absolutely have to (or you’re a professional builder yourself), don’t complete the work yourself. A lack of professional can lead to a poorer quality finish.
  • Don’t under estimate how much work and energy is required. Even if you’re not doing the work yourself, organizing contractors and making endless decisions is very tiring.

 


Once you’ve Started

  • Get three quotes for every job to ensure that you are getting a good price.
  • Sometimes offering tradespeople a bonus if they complete work on time (or even early) can be beneficial. Regardless being polite and friendly to your tradespeople is obviously beneficial.

decorating your home for a quick sale 

Finishing touches

  • Who is your buyer? If they expect luxury, spend a lot, if they’re a first-time buyers, basic appliances will be acceptable.
  • Decorate to a high level but keep it neutral. This means the buyers are able to put their own stamp on the home. White walls are a must.
  • Instruct a Guild agent to sell the home. These are local property experts who know the market, so they can advise on the best time to sell.

If you need further help, get in touch with your local Estate agent to explain your plans, ask for advice, and remember to invite them around for a valuation when the project is completed. They can also give guidance on the types of properties that are most popular at the moment.

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.

 

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

So, you’re looking to move – perhaps you’ve found your dream home or location already or perhaps you’re simply ‘testing the water’ to see how much interest your own property might generate. Either way marketing your property at the right price is really important. 

how much is my house worth?

Rumour and gossip is always rife in neighbourhoods when it comes to property value. We’ve all heard stories of a ‘Joe’s house that only went for £xxxxx’, or ‘Susan’s place, which is smaller than yours, was sold for a whopping £xxxx!’ And to a point it’s crucial to start by doing some research into properties recently sold in your area to get an idea of how much you could expect to achieve. But remember there are always variables. Joe’s house may have had structural problems and Susan’s might have been wonderfully decorated and had a new extension, for example.

Before inviting an agent to value your property, take a look at our online valuation tool to get an idea of an estimated value.

best local agent in Harlow

So, who to use? Well, it’s common wisdom that you should use an agency with a good amount of local knowledge. A valuation will take a lot into consideration, including market conditions and a knowledge of the local area and recent sales. This is before the evaluation of your property – it’s condition, any additions or features etc.

A reputable agent will be objective when it comes to appraising your property, so try not to be too emotionally involved. The valuation should be based upon the property and not on the financial investments you have made over the years. So don’t be tempted to choose an agency based solely on the highest valuation. An agent may suggest a higher price to win your business, for example.  And remember, overpricing your house is very likely to deter prospective buyers – people are unlikely to arrange a viewing if the price seems over-priced. An over priced property is very likely to be on the market for a long time – which can cause frustration and cost you money in the long term.

If you do receive an offer, the buyer’s lender will discover if the house is over-priced anyway, and will probably refuse them a loan.

 

Find a reputable, local agent who will give you a reasonable and realistic valuation. And good luck!!!

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.  

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Way back in the distant mists of time, when men were real men, women were real women and even estate agents were respected as serious professionals, the Nation’s first, and perhaps only celebrity agent appeared on the TV and radio. He was the inimitable Roy Brooks, raconteur, wit, chum of the rich and famous, and libidinous centrepiece of the French House with his great friend Jeffrey Bernard.

Roy Brooks was a complicated sort of bloke – an avowed communist and revolutionary, he nonetheless became extremely successful as an estate agent in London’s West End. His success was based on a very unusual secret – he was crudely and often hysterically candid:

estate agent humour

For over thirty years Brooks’ articles would appear in the Observer and The Sunday Times to the great amusement of the bourgeoisie and the louche London classes, who would wonder who’s house he was describing. The working classes loved him as he ribbed their ‘betters’ with merciless abandon:

Desmond Wilcox had a story he used in the foreword of a book on Brooks in 1985. Even being Brooks’ personal friend did not protect him from awaking one Sunday to read that the bar in the corner of his own lounge had been described as: “a white painted brick feature for holding exotic drinks. Rather theatrical and in keeping with the pretentious style of the owner”.

Becoming wealthy from the enormous fees thrown at him by London’s upper crust never sat comfortably with Roy however, and he would occasionally be seen loading his Rolls Royce with a 1000 pairs of shoes that he’d drive to Russia, ‘for old times’ sake’.

We may never see his like again…

-Alan

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents


If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

 

Despite everything that’s happened thus far in 2020 (and let’s be honest we won’t be totallysurprised if an asteroid hit before Christmas) the property market seems preposterously buoyant. We detailed in a previous blog post how well sales were going in our area here in Harlow and the Villages – but it seems that this trend is happening nation wide.

moving home to harlow or old harlow

Despite a slow start when it first re-opened the property market is expecting a boom. A new poll carried out by Miller Homes showed that buyers are very active at the moment with a very large proportion of them hoping to move this year – many before the end of summer.

According to Judy Johnston in the Daily Express: “(Miller Homes) polled 750 potential property buyers around the UK, with surprising results. It found that more than two thirds of buyers are itching to get moving and still hope to do so in 2020, despite the uncertainty. It found that 69 per cent were still determined to make the move to a new home by the end of the year.”

The survey was conducted in May as restrictions were being lifted, which may of course have swayed the results a little, however of those polled a huge 36 per cent of people were hoping to move by the end of the Summer.

 working from home, harlow essex

As you may have seen, here at H&B we introduced virtual tours during the lockdown period, which have proven to be extremely popular. So much so, indeed, that we intend to keep producing them into the future. The use of virtual tours is in accordance with government guidelines of course - and although safe viewings (with social distancing provisions) are now acceptable it remains important to stay safe in this difficult time. This means, of course, that fewer viewings are possible, slowing the whole procedure down.

It has been estimated that 450,000 buyers and renters in the UK had to put their plans to move on hold during the lockdown. 

Chris Endsor (chief exec at Miller Homes said: “It’s encouraging to see that so many people are still keen to push forward with their property plans as soon as possible. With everyone spending so much more time at home during the lockdown, many people will have taken the opportunity to re-evaluate their current living arrangements and this may prompt increased interest in moving home.”

best estate agent in harlow, sawbridgeworth

Life has changed for a large majority of us over the last few months especially when one considers family life, work routines, expenses and family finances. It’s very positive to see that people are still very keen on moving and finding their dream property

That said, it is crucial to remember that the virus hasn’t gone away. Please stay safe and be responsible. We certainly intend to at Howick and Brooker.

The Howick & Brooker Partnership - is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents

 

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

 

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