A well planned home improvement project will add to the sales potential of your property whether you sell immediately or a few years down the line.
What makes a property saleable? Estate agents have their own opinions as to what determines value, but location and neighbourhood are very important factors and a little research into other properties in your area will give you an idea of the ceiling price and what you can expect to get for your house.
Prime spot or not, however, if you are planning to sell, bring your home up to a 'reasonable standard' before you put it on the market, and that means at least making it look better than the other properties in the road.
Under the surface
Don't ignore 'unseen factors' when selling a home. Up-to-date damp proofing, tidy guttering, efficient drains, good pointing, secure roof tiles, a well-planned garden - there are many factors that may persuade a buyer to put an offer on your house rather than next-door's.
But if you are staying put for a few years before moving on, anything you do to give your home additional living space will make it more appealing and could add more than 10% to its value. Having a garage will definitely draw them in, adding 10-15% to the property value and central heating can add 15%.
Cleanliness is next to profit and according to the Nationwide, having a second bathroom may add as much as 9% to the value of a property, but only if it has several bedrooms. In a two-bedroom house this may be seen as a waste of valuable space.
One sure way to help a sale is to have a loft conversion, extension or conservatory, but be wary of adding on solely for profit. Phil Spencer, co-presenter of Channel 4's Location, Location and managing director of Garrington Home Finders advises:
"An extension may give the house greater financial potential, but most areas, except central London, have a ceiling price. So you need to decide how you give your home the 'cutting edge' - subtly!
"An extension should never feel like an add-on and should be decorated in keeping with the rest of the house. A four bedroom house, for example, cannot be transformed into a six-bed home by simply turning a loft into two bedrooms. What about bathroom facilities? Can the living space itself stretch to cater for more people?
"Keep colours fairly neutral and don't overspend. If you're doing up a kitchen, use cheaper unit carcasses and spend your money on the door fronts and worktops. In the bathroom, use a plain white suite and add style with great fixtures and fittings."
Watch the budget
Remember, while many improvements have intrinsic value and will attract viewers, they won't always add real money. According to the FMB a new kitchen is one of the most popular home improvement projects, but keep your expenditure in proportion. Splashing out on a £30,000 designer kitchen is great if there's a keen cook in the house, but this probably won't be recouped in a sale.