Figures released by Halifax in Arpil 2008 show that average UK house price dropped by 2.5% in March - the biggest monthly dip since September 1992. So with prices on the slide, homeowners now have to work harder than ever before to consolidate or improve the value of their property.
But with rates high and credit scarce, picking the right areas to improve and add value is more important than ever. With this in mind, ProblemSolved.co.uk, the network of recommended, local tradespeople, has put together the swimmers and the sinkers of improving the value of your home.
5 ways to add value to your property
- The race for space - Today, kitchens, dining and living areas aren't the one trick ponies they once were, and living spaces need to be as versatile as the people who occupy them. Open up communal areas to accommodate modern lifestyles.
- Decorate to accumulate - Okay, it's not rocket science, but you'd be surprised at how a lick of paint and some new carpet can breathe new life into neglected space. Keep things simple with 'space' and 'light' as your mantra when choosing colours.
- Room for improvement? - You're paying for every square foot of your property, so make the most of it. If you spot dead space, bring it back to life. A walk in wardrobe is an open invitation for an en suite bathroom - the must-have accessory for any self-respecting modern bedroom.
- Lofty ideas - The average cost of a dormer loft is around £23,000, and can add up to £100,000 to the value of the property. With lofts, there are good and bad - so don't forget about circulation space and headroom.
- Bargain basement? - If you can't go upwards or outwards, the only way is down. Basement conversions can be expensive (from around £300 per square foot), but with prices per square foot upwards of £600 in some urban areas, we don't need Sarah Beeney's husky two cents to make the numbers work.
5 ways to waste money on your property
- My way or the highway - Keep any individual expressions of style filed under "easy and cheap to replace." If a fushia pink exterior pebble-dashing is your thing, who are we to judge? Just don't expect us to pay for it.
- Play by the rules - There are some things you should just never do. Unless you live in a bungalow, ground floor bathrooms are a bad idea and a double bedroom is still a double bedroom, even with two doors and plasterboard partition.
- Itchin' for a Kitchen? - Even Derren Brown would struggle to second guess the tastes of any future buyer. Show off the space rather than the latest Italian cabinetry - put your money into down lighters rather than down payments.
- Fatal Extension - As Michael Douglas has proved, a brand new extension does nothing for a pre-50s relic, so respect the proportions and style of your property when planning to extend.
- A pool and his money - Anyone "investing in a swimming pool" is an idiot, naive or Sebastian Coe. You splurge on a swimming pool. You splash out on a swimming pool. You don't invest in a swimming pool.
ProblemSolved is a network of tradespeople powered by public recommendation and review.
. The website allows people to search for tradespeople in their local area, recommend someone they know and send in their reviews. It currently has 60,000 members and is the largest site of its kind in the UK.