Buying To Upgrade.

I have always said, and always will say that “Property is a great place to keep your money” – the market place continues to rise, although no longer at the prolific rate it one did and each home can offer you a way to increase that value.

So how do you make money with property?

I am not talking about property development,  that is a separate issue altogether, but rather to the mere mortals that just have the time and money to buy one house, live in it for as long as needed and then sell it on to help fund their next purchase – with the ultimate aim to be mortgage free.

Although the best type of property to buy would be one that is … well … derelict, that would also come with the problem of mortgage companies lending funds for the purchase – the more work that is needed the bigger deposit you will need as security. As we are talking about mere mortals and not Bill Gates we need to look in a totally different direction.

So what do you look for after you have scrimped and scrapped a deposit together ?


When you are looking at properties to buy and you may well look at quite a few – try not to discard anything, some people will be put off even by the smallest amount of work, whilst others relish a challenge. If you know that you will be selling this home in the future then why not go for something that you can increase the value with home improvements?

Sometimes, a simple repainting of the home will help to increase your selling price and in other instances spending a few thousand pounds on updating can shoot the value right up.

So when you are out and about viewing potential homes, see if any of these below would benefit that home and therefore have a positive impact on your sell on value.


Out of every bathroom I have been into over the last 25 years, I would say that about 4% made my jaw hit the floor, all the rest just looked the same – I know what you are thinking, that 4% must have been a huge room with a stand alone bath in the middle and a picture window looking out over rolling hillsides – No and No, you don’t get many rolling hillsides in London!

Most of the bathrooms in these homes were around 7 foot x 9 foot, which was about enough for a bath with a shower over, toilet and basin. In each of these homes however the vendors had replaced the ordinary and made the room a functional joy. Clever use of lighting, windows and space, in some cases being able to put in Velux windows to the roof space and other cases removing the bath to give more freedom to the room.


Do not be afraid to remove a bath, not everyone wants to soak for an hour and a wet room is a great compromise.

Do spend your time gathering ideas before you jump in, set your budget and buy when the items are on sale (lets face it someone somewhere has a sale on!) if you can wait that is.


There are so many choices here, will it be carpet, marble tiles or hardwood flooring?

Lets start with carpet, avoid thin carpet with even thinner underlay, it will wear out quickly and feel horrible under foot, instead go for something with a really good underlay and ‘toe scrunching’ thickness to the pile, its a joy to walk and sit on and is a great investment.

Tiles also look great in certain rooms such as entrance halls (which has the benefit of being the shoe dumping ground with an easy clean surface) but they can be cold to the barefoot in the middle of winter, unless you purchase underfloor heating to go with it. Some tiles can add a touch of glamour when you first walk into an area, but to get the most out of them they should be used in a larger area.

Vinyl – Bathrooms, kitchens and utility areas can all benefit from vinyl flooring and over the past few years it has just got better and better, it can look as if a master tile fitter has tiled your floor or having stripped wooden floor boards adorn your kitchen, but easier to clean and warmer.


Hardwood Flooring is beautiful, but can tip the balance of affordability – so let me point you in the direction of laminate flooring, there are some out there that are so close to the real thing at a fraction of the cost that it might be worth looking down that avenue. If you are buying an apartment, do check that you are allowed to have that type of flooring, some leases say you can’t.


Time to put you hand in your pockets, depending on how deep they are, you can either update or remodel.

To most I would suggest an update, this is buy far the cheapest option and not only gives the kitchen a major facelift, it can also if looked after can last for 10 years or more, leaving plenty of time before you resell your home. It is a simple change of sinks, taps, cabinet doors, work surfaces and surrounding tiling.

A remodel can cost a fortune, but it is worth it if you have decided a wall is coming down which allows you to change where the gas, electric and water outlets are. From then on it is a choice of carcasses, doors, work surfaces, appliances, lighting and tiling – see I told you it wasn’t cheap!


You don’t have to have a farmhouse kitchen for it to look special, some well chosen lighting, flooring and cabinet doors will also do a fantastic job.


In my experience the outside space is often the most neglected, which is a shame as it really is the extra room (maybe for only 8 weeks a year), it doesn’t matter how small this space is, make it welcoming and practical and sometimes it can be the last box a purchaser needs to tick which will allow you to sell on.


Also with outside space come the added advantage of extending to the side or to the rear, all subject to planning permission of course, but before you offer on the property it might be worth looking up and down the street to see if others have extended or converted their lofts, after all it would be quite difficult for permission to be turned down if others have already been granted it!


Remember that in most cases for us mere mortals, we won’t be able to recoup the cost of a £20,000 kitchen remodel in the space of 6 months – I advise you to plan your spending carefully so you can make money with the market place increases and make money with the work and changes that you make to your home. This increases your equity and finally you may find a home that you can work on, whilst living in that has been bought with the proceeds of all your hard work from previous properties.





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Selling property for over 25 years, helping vendors achieve higher values, purchasers to get the home they want and helping Estate Agents achieve their goals.

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