How Can I Increase My Flats Value?

Brown Apartment

Investing in a property is a significant financial commitment, and homeowners often seek ways to increase the value of their flats. In the UK property market, where property values are influenced by various factors, strategic improvements can significantly impact the resale value.

For both landlords and owner-occupiers, a flat market value carries significant financial implications. Whether aiming to maximise resale profits down the line or borrow against rising equity today, many flat owners consider upgrades to increase capital gains.  This comprehensive guide explores effective strategies and enhancements that can contribute to the overall value of your flat. Below are the options highlighted in detail.

Cosmetic Improvements for Rapid Returns

Before investing in major structural alterations, consider low-cost cosmetic fixes that elevate a flat’s kerb appeal and perceived condition. These quick win upgrades often deliver an excellent return on enhancing market listing prices.

Painting & Decorating

A fresh coat of neutral-coloured paint makes cramped flats appear brighter and more spacious. Similarly, new wallpaper or tiles refresh tired decorative schemes. Ideally, declutter to maximise this light airy effect.

Flooring Replacements

Modern laminate flooring makes small flats feel larger while adding warmth and wood tones. Replace old carpets which can appear dirty and dated. Pay attention to awkward hallway and kitchen floors too.

Kitchen Modernisation

The kitchen sells a property for many buyers. New worktops, cabinets and integrated appliances bring dated cooking areas into the 21st century without requiring a full replacement.

Bathroom Improvements

Similarly, new sanitaryware, tiles, cabinets and underfloor heating upgrades make compact bathrooms feel clean, fresh and inviting without breaking the bank compared to full bathroom installation projects.

Garden Spaces & Balconies

Flats with outside spaces command a pricing premium. Planting, paving, seating and lighting transform any modest balconies, patios or courtyard spots from dreary to desirable.

Planning Significant Refurbishment Projects

More extensive flat renovations require careful planning yet deliver proportional rises in market valuations. Consider the following projects if the budget allows:

Full Kitchen Redesigns

Ripping out old inefficient kitchens allows a blank canvas to create sleek new living hubs. Opt for gloss handleless cabinets for a contemporary feel. Integrate the latest smart appliances and ample corner unit storage solutions. Island units break up spaces nicely while adding dining space. Underfloor heating gives a luxury feel. Consider zonal spotlighting for the atmosphere. And ensure fine ergonomic workflow between sink, oven and fridge spaces.

Opening-Up Floor Plans

For cramped flats, removing interior walls creates an instant sense of airy openness. Knocking down the divide between kitchens and lounges forms a sociable, flexible living area. Use flooring changes – like laying laminate floors in living zones and distinct tile types in kitchen areas – to define spaces subtly. Visit open-plan show home flats to gather creative space-optimising ideas. Just ensure structural walls aren’t removed without engineer sign-offs.

Loft Conversions

Converting an unused, wasted loft into an additional bedroom and bathroom adds highly valuable square footage to small flats. Velux-style windows flood ultra-modern attic rooms with natural light. Ensure professionals assess roof beams and load-bearing points for structural integrity before undertaking work. Loft boarding and insulation will also be required. Pre-emptively rewire for bedroom electrics and lighting too. Position the bathroom carefully to allow plumbing alignments with existing pipe runs below.

Rewiring & Pipework

Replacing ageing, dated electrical wiring and water pipes pre-empts future faults developing in unseen infrastructure. Consider chasing new wires and plumbing through walls before applying finishings for invisible upgrades. Or overlay modern access hatches for easier future inspections. Updates should encompass sufficient circuits and reliable drainage for any planned layout changes too. This is about future-proofing flats for generations to come.

New Windows & Doors

Replacing tired single-glazed windows with modern triple-glazing adds noise reduction and warmth. Larger imported European-style window sizes maximise light in rooms too. For period flats, purpose-built sash window replacements balance heritage external aesthetics with thermal insulation. Composite doors add enhanced security and soundproofing too. Consider how windows define overall external kerb appeal in any façade changes.

Return on Investment from Refurbishments

Will extensive upgrade projects pay back their initial costs if you eventually sell your flat? Market analysis suggests a resounding yes in most cases:

National Price Data Trends

Industry research shows that fully refurbished properties nationally achieve on average 4-5% higher selling prices than equivalent period flats sold as-is. This gap appears to be widening over time.

Location-Specific Premiums

Certain postcodes and districts are seeing above-average price premiums for newly refurbished flats meeting today’s lifestyle expectations, especially in changing urban zones and gentrified hipster hotspots.

Stronger Rental Yields

As well as commanding higher sales values, extensively modernised flats also let out more rapidly and achieve higher monthly rental sums from tenants appreciating up-to-date living standards.

Compounding Gains Over Time

Remodelled flats tend to sell more quickly with each future transaction due to ongoing contemporary appeal. Early refurbs thus pay compound dividends many years down the line.

Securing Finance for Upgrades & Renovations

Funding major upgrade projects remains the chief barrier for most flat owners. Explore all possible finance channels and be strategic in sequencing works:

Mortgage Further Borrowing

If you have sufficiently positive equity or improvements in employment status since originally purchasing, lenders often approve drawing down extra sums from mortgage funds at preferential interest rates.

0% Credit Card Balance Transfers

Transferring project balances to long 0% money transfers helps break bigger bills into more manageable chunks. Monitor transfer expiry dates diligently though.

Council & Government Schemes

Check if you qualify for any local authority or central government funding schemes aimed at improving housing stock conditions and safety works in your area. These can prove generous but highly allocated.

Personal Loans & Secured Loans

Unsecured personal lending often proves costly long term for major works. But secured loans against rising property equity itself following renovations may offer more favourable interest terms.

Crowdfunding & Peer-to-Peer Lending

Online alternative lending marketplaces are emerging options for sourcing renovation project funding from either the crowd or professional lending firms compared to slow high street banks.

Protecting Valuations Through Planning Permission

Before commencing ambitious conversion or extensions on period flats, consider a change of use applications:

Permitted Development Rights

What constitutes permitted development versus requiring council planning permission differs across England, Scotland and Wales. Always check respective regulations to avoid unapproved works devaluing flats.

Freeholder Clearances

Most leasehold flats also require additional clearances from freeholders before alterations impacting building footprints or structures can legally go ahead. Factor these potential delays in.

Conservation Area Compliance

Extensions or loft works within designated conservation areas or on listed period buildings often face additional limitations and approvals adding time, costs and uncertainty to projects.

Future Saleability Risks

Illegal works lacking planning permission can threaten future flat sales if issues come to light in buyer surveys. Approved consents provide definitive protections and values assurance moving forward.

Adding Flats by Subdividing & Converting Larger Properties

Beyond upgrading existing flats, some buyers strategically purchase houses or commercial buildings solely aiming to multiply flats quantities and greatly amplify end resale revenues.

Subdividing Houses into Flats

Whether vertically into duplex flats or horizontally into lateral apartments, surgically subdividing houses adhering to councils’ space standards promises almost exponentially bigger profits.

Loft & Basement Conversions

Creative digging down into cellars or building upwards within rooflines cost-effectively taps into “free” unused development space without expanding wider footprints.

Commercial into Residential Conversions

Offices, warehouses, corner shops and even churches hold lucrative potential for rezoning and converting into far more valuable high-density residential usage.

Buy Refurb Flip Model

The above conversion models lead many developers to “buy, refurbish, flip” – acquiring run-down buildings at discount prices, extensively remodelling internals then selling on upgraded flats rapidly at eye-watering markups.

Maximising Resale Values Through Auctions vs Estate Agents

When the time comes to offload your upgraded flat investment and crystalise returns, should you engage traditional estate agents or consider auction routes?

Higher Peak Prices Via Estate Agents

Good estate agents likely achieve higher ultimate selling prices than auctions through extensive marketing and biddable buyer competition playing out over months but deals risk falling through.

Faster Guaranteed Sales Via Auctions

Auctions facilitate deals completed rapidly and unconditionally on auction day itself, providing certainty of exit timing, but may sacrifice achieving the best prices in an urgent rush.

Hybrid Agent Then Auction Model

Some sellers list flats with agents expecting peak prices but incorporate “minimum reserve” auction clauses if unsold within 6 months as a contingency exit strategy. This balances risks and timeframes.

Research Optimal Exit Channels

Follow local flat sales across both channels to gauge relative pricing – remembering auction sales often indicate market lows due to urgency factors at play. Consider blending routes strategically based on trends.

Future Proofing Flat Developments Against Market Shifts

When planning renovations or subdivision projects for reselling flats, ensure that adaptations can withstand long-term changes in the property sector:

Adaptable Room Sizes

Avoid finely calibrated tiny room dimensions. Having space to later flexibly enlarge, split and combine rooms sustains appeal as family needs fluctuate.

High Ceilings & Large Windows

Maximising ceiling heights and generously specifying window sizes boost ongoing perceptual spaciousness and light as small flats risk otherwise feeling poky over time as trends expect bigger living spaces.

Soundproofing & Insulation

Noisy environs and inadequate insulation drive buyers away as priorities change. Consider triple glazing, acoustic baffles and enhanced fireproofing standards beyond minimums for sustainable marketability.

Prefabricated Bathrooms & Kitchens

Contemporary flat-pack sanitaryware and kitchen pods allow relatively cost-effective wholesale replacement or relocation as families expand or the next decades’ fashions evolve. 

Conclusion

First impressions matter, and enhancing the kerb appeal of your flat is an effective way to create a positive initial impact to increase the flat value. This can include maintaining a well-kept exterior, a fresh coat of paint, and an attractive entrance. Upgrading the kitchen and bathroom areas can significantly boost property value. Modern fixtures, high-quality materials, and a well-designed layout can make a lasting impression on potential buyers. Implementing energy-efficient features, such as double-glazed windows, insulation, and energy-efficient appliances, not only adds value to your flat but also appeals to environmentally conscious buyers.

The integration of smart home technology, such as smart thermostats, security systems, or lighting, can increase the attractiveness of your flat. Buyers often appreciate the convenience and energy-saving benefits of these features. Efficient use of space is crucial. Consider open floor plans, decluttering, and utilising multifunctional furniture to create an illusion of spaciousness. Adequate storage space is a significant selling point. Built-in wardrobes, shelving, and creative storage solutions enhance functionality and appeal.

Emphasise the advantages of your flat’s location, including proximity to public transportation, schools, parks, and shopping areas. Highlighting nearby amenities adds perceived value. If applicable, participating in or supporting local community initiatives can indirectly contribute to the perceived value of your flat. A thriving community adds to the overall appeal of the location.

In conclusion, increasing the value of your flat in the UK involves a thoughtful combination of aesthetic enhancements, functional improvements, and strategic marketing considerations. By investing in kerb appeal, interior upgrades, smart home technology, optimising space, and leveraging the location’s advantages, homeowners can create a property that stands out in the competitive property market. Ultimately, a well-maintained and thoughtfully improved flat not only increases its market value but also appeals to a broader range of potential buyers, positioning it as a desirable investment in the vibrant UK property landscape.

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