The UK housing market is benefiting from a boom in house prices, with house prices rising at their fastest pace for three years according to Halifax. The building society said that current trends suggested that prices would continue to go up over the course of the year.
In the quarter ending in July, house prices were over 4% higher than the same period in 2012, thanks to a 0.6% rise in June, followed by 0.9% rise in July. While the figures have not come as a surprise, they have beaten previous economists’ forecasts.
The economy plays a major part in dictating house prices, so with GDP on the rise sellers will want to get the best possible value for their home. However, it’s not just the economy that has an impact; there are numerous factors that affect the value of a property.
As you may have guessed by the slogan, “location, location, location” – where your home is situated can have a huge impact on how much it’s worth. An estate agent will consider what is in the local area, such as the schools and other amenities, but also transport links, so train stations and bus routes can all affect the value.
The reputation of an area can also change the value by thousands of pounds. Most areas have a sought after neighbourhood, while other areas may be known for being hotspots for crime or anti-social behaviour. It doesn’t matter how nice the property is; if it’s got a good postcode, you can expect to receive a much higher value than if it was situated around the corner.
As with most things, competition on the market and the availability of similar properties can drastically affect the value of a property. If at the time of selling, there are many other houses of a similar size and style on the market in the same area, you might have to lower your expectations. However, the flipside is that if there’s a real shortage of properties like yours, you could end up with a much higher offer than you initially expected.
First impressions do mean everything, especially to estate agents and buyers. Although it’s common sense to ensure that the property is clean and tidy inside, it’s important that the entire area looks attractive. Whether you spend the day weeding the garden or adding a few flower pots to the window sill, the little things can make a huge difference to the overall appearance. However, it’s not just the garden that can affect the value, the look of the building can also factor in. To ensure that you’re not losing out on thousands of pounds because of a lack of attention to detail, make sure the exterior has a fresh lick of paint and the windows are clean. Simple tasks that might take you a few hours or cost a few pounds could be the difference between getting the asking price or falling significantly short of it.
One of the most common ways to increase the value of a property is carrying out home improvements, whether it’s fitting a new kitchen and bathroom or adding a conservatory. However, it’s important that homeowners don’t waste their cash on unwanted changes.
The most worthwhile improvement is thought to be a new kitchen, but adding a garage or creating parking space is also one of the most common requests. Unsurprisingly, given the British climate, an outdoor pool often ended up in a loss. Increasing the amount of space available is the best way to add value, with loft conversions and garages boosting the value of home by thousands.
Is the property unique in any way? Period properties or homes with lots of character tend to hold a higher value than others, but it does depend on the area. The style of the house can also impact how much buyers are willing to pay. In order to establish whether the property has a high or low market value, you’ll need to compare it to other similar sized houses in the same area.
When putting a property on the market, it’s important to get a number of valuations from various agencies as a lot of it comes down to personal opinion. You might be surprised at just how much valuations can differ. Do a bit of research into the estate agent before allowing them to market the property. If your agency is not doing everything to get a sale for you, the property might start to lose value and end up on the market for months. This is one of the aspects of selling that many homeowners completely ignore – in fact, people probably spend longer thinking about what to wear than who to sell their home with.