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Move or Improve?

When it comes to making decisions about what to do with your home, above all, please take advice. It is the largest asset most of us will ever own so the decisions you make are vital.

If you’re outgrowing your home, do you improve it, or sell it and move elsewhere?

Well, if you’re going to move, you have two options – sell it or let it. If you’re interested in letting, it’s a good time to do it as property values are still relatively low and the rental market is strong with high rental values, so you may want to bring in a good regular income through letting and then sell your house at a better price once the property market is more buoyant. However, if you are not an experienced landlord, get good advice from an agent to ensure you avoid the many pitfalls.

If you’d rather sell, be clear about your priorities. Which is more important – speed of sale or the price you get for the property? Most likely both. But in a slow property market there’s an important distinction between the two, as it will affect the asking price recommended by your estate agent. Whilst 2013 is already proving more positive with more property sales, it is still a buyers’ market, so it remains important to get the asking price just right.

If your property is a ‘doer-upper’ (needs modernisation!) then don’t spend any money on it, simply make sure it is uncluttered, immaculately clean and priced right. If your property is ‘ready for moving in’, then take agent advice on presenting it to its absolute best internally and externally, to maximise not only sale price but also chances of sale. If you’ve enhanced the property at all, make sure your agent highlights all your improvements in your property brochure, and be sure to keep all supporting documents like guarantees to demonstrate quality of workmanship.

Whether you sell or let, you’ll most likely need to buy or rent your next home. Renting has less pitfalls but research the market and location, and be careful who you rent from. When buying, do so with great care. Above all, do not buy any property that you could have a problem selling, and it really is worth take advice from your friendly local agent before buying any property. Before I went into estate agency, I made that mistake myself, but I won’t make that mistake again!

If, on the other hand, you are thinking of staying put and improving your home, great! This can be a much cheaper option overall, as long as you plan and act carefully. If you are considering significant changes (i.e. loft conversion, extension, conservatory, etc.) always get advice first. Every property has a ‘ceiling value’ so you mustn’t over-spend. And beware of DIY – nothing puts a buyer off more than a property with botched workmanship. It’s also important to keep things in proportion, so always maintain a balance between living space, sleeping space, garden space, and parking space. And whatever you do, don’t do anything to make the property look ugly, or it may never sell again!

In conclusion, get good advice from your local estate agent. It costs nothing and it could save you dearly.

Oliver Hudson, Managing Director, Hudson Property

June 2013

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