Professional Home Improvements

A man's home is his castle. That goes for women too. But sometimes even a castle needs another room.

The cost of moving home is so high nowadays that it's often cheaper-and causes less upheaval-to modify your home and, perhaps, extend it in order to produce the kind of living space you need.

Improving your home will also add to its value, although the more expensive extensions and additions may fail to produce the amount they cost you when it comes to selling.

So think carefully about the improvements you make. If you are in short-term property, go for those which will definitely increase the sale value of your home. If you plan to stay for many years, carry out those improvements which will add to the quality of your life in the property and don' t worry too much about whether you will get your full money back on them.

Things Worth Doing

Central heating and good insulation are always worth installing. People like to be warm but don' t want to spend more than they need on doing so. A well-designed central heating system will run economically and good basic insulation will prevent the heat it generates from being lost or wasted Putting the basic fabric of a place into good condition is an important improvement and one that should be done before you start decorating or you could find you damage your work and have to do it again. Get rid of woodworm, dry rot and damp as soon as possible. Most reputable firms will give long guarantees-often years-on their work and will allow you to transfer the guarantee to the next owner when you move. Check this before you use a particular firm.

Rewiring is a sensible safety precaution and designing the wiring system yourself means that you can site socket outlets where you want them and make sure that you plenty in the kitchen and living room.

Rewiring is a sensible safety precaution and designing the wiring system yourself means that you can site socket outlets where you want them and make sure that you plenty in the kitchen and living room. Don't install it unless you are competent-use qualified electrician. If you are not sure about the condition of the wiring in your new home, it's worth paying for an inspection. You can arrange this through your local Electricity Board. It's worth asking the inspector if it's possible for you to put in more sockets if needed, and how much this will cost. It's fairly simple and cheap to turn single socket outlets into double ones. This gives you a lot more flexibility with lighting and using electrical appliances.

When selling a place first impressions often stick in the mind so get the front of your property into good order with a well-painted front door with attractive door furniture, a clean undamaged doorstep and path and, where there is one a neat front garden. You probably don't think much about the front of your house as you walk through the door, but would-be purchasers will be put off by peeling paint and fifty milk bottles on the step.

Doing up the kitchen and bathroom is a good selling point but expensive. If you can't afford to do this really well it's probably better to live with what is there and let your purchasers spend the money.

Put down good flooring in fairly neutral colours . Flooring is an expensive item and if you can include well laid easy to clean carpet, wood cork or other flooring your buyers will feel they are getting a bargain.

Things Not WorthDoing

Double glazing takes a long time to pay for itself-the Department of Energy reckons around 25 years. Do-it yourself double glazing is cheap and efficient but doesn't always look good. Only install professional double glazing if you have to replace rotting windows anyway ( the difference between single and double glazing in this instance isn't that great), if the property is so exposed that you are losing a lot of heat through glass, or if you are on a busy main road that is noisy.

Fixtures and fittings have to be left when you sell a place. Things like kitchen units built-in cupboards a built-on greenhouse or sun room may not raise the value of your home enough to justify their installation. Think carefully about spending money on them in short-term accommodation; you might do better buying things you can take with you when you move on.

Thinking Ahead

Buying to sell within a few years is a perfectly sensible way of moving yourself up the home buyer's ladder until you reach the kind of place you want to remain in. Be careful thought not to get so carried in. Be careful thought not to get so carried away by the idea of doing up tatty properties and selling for a huge profit that you improve them beyond their locality. While some areas change their ownership profile fairly quickly others can take years to gain a new inane-indeed they may never do so. If you are in a first home the chances are that you will expect to sell it to another first time buyer who won't be able to afford what you are asking or able to afford what you are asking or who may prefer to look for a more basic house in a better area for the same price. Keep your home improvements to a level which sit comfortably in the area and save your fantasies about whirlpool baths and snooker room extensions until you get into an area where they fit.

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