You would have to be very wet behind the ears when navigating the property market to be unaware that the value of any given property relies on many factors external to the property itself. In real estate lingo, the concept of “external obsolesce” refers to all the things that affect the value of a home but which the property owner has no control over. Things like the street the property is located on, the proximity to schools and amenities, the character of the neighbours, the level of crime in the neighbourhood, the development (or lack thereof) that is going on, etc. can all have a seriously significant effect on property value.
However, not everything external to the property itself is beyond your control. If you would like to boost the value of your home, then are a limited number of things you can actually do outside your home in order to boost its value. You can trim the front lawn, improve the cleanliness of the street with some litter picking, have a word with your neighbours, and so on. So outside your front door, there are a few things you can do – but not much.
Inside though, it is a different story. Interior design is entirely something you can have detailed control over. And more often than not, the amount spent on any interior design overhaul is almost sure to be less than the amount you will gain from the increased value. This is simply why so many people do it.
Personal Taste vs. Fashion
When you buy a home, you will inherit a certain interior design. When you begin to move in your own furniture and redecorate, it is most likely that this will be dictated by personal taste. Most of the time, there is nothing wrong with doing this. You will be living in the property for a significant period of time, and for that time, the property is your home and an extension of your personality.
Nevertheless, if you are coming to the point where you would like to sell your home or if you’re “flipping” a property and buying it for the sole purpose of renovating it and then selling it on, personal taste can come into conflict with value. It all depends on how much your interior decorating tastes align with current fashion and trends. The chances are that they will align to some extent. After all, what makes for a popular interior design choice is precisely what most people like. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that it will align a hundred per cent; if you have somewhat eccentric tastes, it might not align at all. This can be a problem when it comes to maximising the value of your home.
We will outline some of the interior design choices that boost value below, but generally speaking, value-boosting interior design is that which has the broadest possible appeal. This means it can be considered something of a compromise, or a consensus, among the general tastes of homeowners in any given market. So, the way to really boost value for your home is to keep things generally inoffensive and aesthetically neutral – and at least some elements of that are sure to clash with personal taste.
Therefore, you might find yourself only making a few tweaks to the interior in order to boost value, or you might find yourself doing a complete overhaul. The important thing to remember though is this: if you stand to make more on value increase than you spend on the renovation, then it is always worth it, no matter how big a job it is.
Preparing the Home for a Viewing
Before going on to a few of the tried and tested interior design choices that are sure to boost your property’s value, it is worth going over how you should prepare your home for a viewing. The viewing is the precise point at which your hard renovation work will bear fruit, and there is plenty of last minute, inexpensive, touches you can make to really make your home appealing.
Naturally, the home should be tidy before a viewing, and it should also smell neutral, Accordingly, give the place a deep clean and do what you can about particular odours. You might not mind the smell of that Bolognese cooking in the kitchen, you might consider that fire safety sign by the staircase necessary, or you may have grown completely used to the smell of your dog, but some of these will not be the case for those potential buyers viewing the property.
The final point to note about preparation for a viewing is that you should remove all overtly personal items. Not every element of interior design is a fixed element of the room; some things can be easily removed and stashed in the cupboard ahead of a viewing. So, overly personal items such as the classic guitar hanging on the wall or the large canvas family portrait, should be removed ahead of any viewing. You can always put them right back up again afterwards. Here follow then some value-boosting interior design ideas for you to chew on:
Fix Up the Flooring
The floor covers more surface area than any other interior design installation in your home (apart, in some cases, from the wallpaper) and it is sure to be noticed. Tasteful carpets and wood/laminate flooring are currently a safe bet for value boosting. You should also tend to any damage to the flooring as this is majorly off-putting, and the amount you would lose from retaining damaged or worn flooring is sure to be more than the cost of fixing it.
Upgrade the Kitchen
In most areas of the house, a certain tasteful retro charm can be a real value booster. The kitchen is the exception here. The kitchen is a part of the house which people want to appear sleek, clean, and modern. This is because viewers know they will be cooking food in there, so having the technology that will make that easy and comfortable is a must. As the room where people eat, any dirty appearance is completely unacceptable.
Make the Most of Natural Light
A room that looks dim and cluttered has precisely no popular appeal. Clear out any clutter (see the section on preparing for a viewing above) and it’s almost possible to make the most of natural light. Changing the windows might be out of the question, but you could change the curtains or blinds and you can clear away light-blocking vegetation outside the window. Painting the room in light tones is also a terrific way to really accentuate natural light – and it’s a sure value booster.
Attend to the Small Details
It probably isn’t true to say that “the devil is in the detail” when it comes to value-boosting the interior – much more important are first impressions and the general effect. However, many small details can cumulatively create quite a striking effect. Therefore, you should attend to all the little chips in the paintwork, creaky doors, and the ornaments placed around the room – because they can all certainly add up.
The interior is the one part of your property which you can significantly influence at a relatively low cost. When you move into structural changes and renovations of that sort, the costs can skyrocket. Attend to the interior however, and, relatively cheaply, you can add a significant amount of value to your property.