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How to raise the value of your house without spending a fortune

Follow these ten tips on how to impress potential buyers for less – and increase your returns as a result.

How to raise the value of your home without spending a fortune (© Getty Images)

Buying a house may seem like an expensive purchase, but trying to get rid of one for more than you bought it for can be just as costly - especially in the midst of a recession. But raising the value of your house isn't all about refurbishing the attic or spending loads on an extension. Instead, it's the little touches - the ones that won't burn your wallet - that can really impress potential buyers. Little touches like...

1. Neutralising your décor

Sure, that bold orange paint might be to your eccentric taste, but it might not be to everyone's. If you're looking to make your house more appealing, then you need to play it safe. Go for neutral colours such as white or soft subtle colours such as light blue, and remove anything that could be seen as too off-putting. The trick is to make your home look attractive, whilst at the same time making it easy for the buyer to imagine living there.

2. Making sure the exterior is in good condition

"Never judge a book by its cover" the old saying goes. Although, truly, how many of us listen to that? It's exactly the same with houses. Before anyone views the inside of your home they will judge the outside - affecting their opinion of how much it's worth before they even knock. Impress by making sure the front is de-cluttered, freshly gardened and that your door has a fresh coat of paint. It's also worth making a note of whether the neighbours' houses are ship-shape, too. No one wants to move in next to the house with rubbish bags piled up outside.

3. Making space

It might sound simple, but being smart about de-cluttering your house is key to making it look more spacious and airy. This could involve hiding away those storage boxes underneath the bed, clearing away letters off the kitchen table, and moving around furniture in the front room to make the room look bigger. Use all the tricks you can and you'll find space that you didn't even know was there.

4. Mood lighting

There's nothing worse than a naked bulb providing stark, artificial light to a room. It looks clinical, and gives your home a sterile air. To make it look more cosy, why not try mood lighting? Strategically placed lamps, candles and fairy bulbs nurture a warm atmosphere that can make a house really feel more like a home - touches that can add some emotional as well as physical value.

5. Adding natural light

As well as mood lighting (more useful, admittedly, during night time viewings), lighting up a room with natural light will make it look and feel bigger, brighter, and better. The best way to achieve this is to fit new skylights or, if you have them, to replace your curtains with some Venetian blinds. You could also try installing some French doors but this can work out a tad pricey.

6. Homely touches

Make your house feel well looked after by adding a few simple homely touches - by creating the right, just-lived-in atmosphere, it makes it look more like a home. For the lounge, try cushions and throw in accent colours, tasteful pictures (modern art canvasses- family photos may be too personal), quirky yet stylish ornaments and candles to give off a cosy, relaxed vibe.

7. Spring cleaning

Much like making space, this may sound simple but is essential. When buyers view your home, they want to imagine themselves already living there. They want to walk into the kitchen or the front room and feel like they want to do that again and again. Sticky sides and dusty floors somewhat shatter that illusion.

8. Updating your kitchen

More than any other room in the home, the kitchen is critical. Not only do you have to make sure it's spotless and hygienic, but it would also help to make sure counter-tops, cabinets and appliances are all in good condition. There's nothing more off-putting to a potential buyer than the thought of all the things they will have to replace.

9. Making the main bedroom feel like a retreat

The kitchen might be important, but the main bedroom should be the jewel in your homely crown. When people come to view, they should be able envision it as a cosy sanctuary - as somewhere they want to end their day. With that in mind, a few nice little touches - a reading lamp, a work desk, some soothing incense - can really add value in the viewing stakes.

10. Looking after your garden

No matter the size, if you're lucky enough to own a garden then you have a great source for adding value. Don't waste time, effort or money on something extravagant like a swimming pool, though (something said to actually put off potential buyers), just make sure the garden is trim, clean and, above all, welcoming. The latter can be achieved with subtle touches such as garden ornaments, some comfy furniture and things that will make your potential buyer dream of summer: a gazebo, a BBQ, maybe even a football net. The garden really can be the icing on the cake.

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