Sell My Old House: Tips for Maximising Value Before Home Sale

The property market is evolving with eco-friendly and modern homes, meaning an old property isn’t exactly what some potential buyers may be looking for. With outdated electrical systems, inefficient insulation and old-fashioned designs, selling old houses can be challenging.  

If you are thinking ‘I want to sell my old house’ but are unsure how you can boost its value before it hits the open market, you have come to the right place. We’ve put together a guide outlining the definition of an old property and its features and the ways to sell your house on the market today. 

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What defines an old property? 

An old property doesn’t have an official definition, but for the UK, houses considered ‘old’ are usually constructed between 1920 and 1970. These homes range from post-World War II houses to the semi-detached mid-century properties of the 1970s. Houses built within specific decades refer to that period of history. For example, houses built before the 1920s are considered period homes. 

Houses built before the 1920s are in the ‘period home’ category yet have different names based on their eras. 

  • Tudor (1485 – 1603)

  • Jacobean (1604 – 1713)

  • Georgian (1714 – 1820)

  • Victorian (1837 – 1901)

  • Edwardian (1901 – 1914)

  • Post WW1 (1918-1939)

Each of these properties has different features distinctive to their era, such as Tudor homes were usually built from brick or timber, whilst Victorian properties have tall ceilings.  

Aside from the home’s origins, an old house can include any property with over two owners. In that circumstance, if someone bought a home during the period of an ‘old home’ and still lives in it, the property can fall into the ‘new house’ category. The term ‘new house’ is usually subjective as homes post the 1980s are technically ‘new’.  

When purchasing a property, it’s crucial to understand its history because it’ll help for many reasons. The first is assisting surveyors when identifying potential problems and performing a risk assessment on the home. Another, it helps influence your decision if you want to change the home through renovation or extension. If the house is a listed property or within a conservation area, you’ll have strict regulations for preserving the building’s original features. Older homes also can potentially cost more to insure due to their level of maintenance and risk factors, and knowing the home’s era can aid insurance needs. 

Which features or problems does an old property commonly have? 

Older properties, whether before the 1920s and in the period era or post-1920s and before the timeline of being considered new, can have shared problems and features. These features, although modern at the time, can cause issues and deter potential buyers.  

Outdated plumbing and heating 

 How your home operates is crucial for those living in it, such as heating, plumbing and wiring. With older homes, the systems installed can be outdated and not up to the modern standards in current and newly built homes. 

 With central heating, it wasn’t a common practice in homes before the 1970s. During the 1970s, only 30% of homes had central heating, and these older homes used today probably don’t have the most effective heating systems. With older heating systems (boilers), it can cost more to replace them or run them. Buying and installing a new central heating system can cost thousands of pounds, depending on the house size.  

Outdated plumbing issues go hand in hand with poor heating, as poor plumbing includes leaks and water pressure. Plumbing won’t generally cost as much as an entire central heating system to replace, yet the little issues can amount to a much more significant problem. Another plumbing issue to consider is lead pipes. Although they banned lead pipes at the beginning of the 1970s, they still exist in homes built before that era. Lead is dangerous, especially for children and why it’s crucial to check for its presence on your property. 

Outdated interiors

Designs and styles change throughout the decades, whether it’s a particular wallpaper, carpet or furnishings. With outdated interiors, potential buyers may see the work needed. Whereas with properties of a blank canvas or modern design, it’s a cleaner base for buyers to make their own. 

Old windows 

Double glazing isn’t as popular in old homes and wasn’t standard until the 1970s and 1980s, and compulsory to comply with building regulations until 2002. Old windows can harm security and loss of heat as they’re usually single-glazed, costing the potential buyer more in the long run. If your home is double-glazed, it’s better for retaining heat, soundproofing and dangers on the outside. 

Potential asbestos

The most considerable issue in older properties can be the implications of asbestos exposure, causing lung cancer. The material wasn’t banned until 1999, meaning any property created before then could be at risk. From pipe cement to floor tiles, asbestos is within some form of insulation. As a dangerous material, anything can disturb it, and if your home is known to have it, you’ll need to work with professionals.  

Awkward layouts 

Some older properties have awkward layouts to make enough space for suitable use at the time, and those layouts today aren’t as practical. For example, especially in terraced houses, you may find the bathroom on the ground floor near the kitchen or attached to one of the bedrooms. Moving a kitchen and bathroom can be expensive for new owners. 

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What should I renovate first in an old house?

When it comes to sell old house, you may want to consider renovating in order to help increase the value of the property. However, before you get the hard hat on and start drawing up the blueprints, there are a few factors you may wish to take into consideration first. 

Your budget: How much are you willing to spend? Bigger projects like kitchens and bathrooms can be expensive, while smaller ones like painting or updating fixtures might be more affordable. You should first weigh up exactly how much you want to spend in order to get your property up to scratch and plan from there. 

Your priorities: What's most important to you? Improving functionality, increasing value, or making the space more aesthetically pleasing? You should decide what you want to get out of this renovation project in order to decide which home improvement to carry out first. 

The condition of the house: Are there any major structural issues that need addressing before you can move on to cosmetic upgrades? You should carefully thinking about your property, understanding if there are any safety issues that need addressing before you move on to the more aesthetically focused projects. 

Your lifestyle: How do you use the space? Prioritise areas you spend the most time in or that have the biggest impact on your daily life.

Exactly what you should renovate in an old house depends upon the property itself, and your own circumstances. As a rule of thumb, it is always wise to renovate the structure of an older property first, as this is one of the most important aspects of a property. Structural issues can seriously devalue a property, so they are usually the first port of call when it comes to a house that needs a little TLC.  However, it is worth bearing in mind that this is one of the most costly areas of your home to address. 

If your property does not suffer from structural issues, then you may wish to turn your attention to other areas of your home. It is no secret that the two areas of the home that buyers are most interested in are the bathroom and kitchen, so you may wish to turn your attention there. 

Your kitchen is one of the busiest areas in the house, so it's important to keep it looking as modern and functional as possible.  

How can I add value to my old house?

From boosting your kerb appeal to installing smart home technology, there are many ways that you can go about adding value to your old home. Every property is different and not every older home will need the same improvements, however, if you are looking for a surefire way to boost your older property's value before you sell, improving the insulation is one of the best ways to do so. 

It's no secret that older homes are often cold, draughty, and an energy nightmare. Homes that were built before 1900 are less likely to be energy efficient, so this is one of the best areas of your property to concentrate your efforts. 

  • Upgrade insulation: Upgrading insulation in your attic and walls can significantly improve your home's energy efficiency, reducing heating and cooling costs, which can be a major selling point for potential buyers.

  • Replace old windows and doors: Drafty windows and doors can significantly impact energy efficiency. Consider replacing them with more energy-efficient options.

  • Invest in renewable energy: Consider installing solar panels or a wind turbine if your budget allows. While an initial investment, it can significantly reduce energy bills and attract environmentally conscious buyers.

We'll buy your old home in as little as 7 days

Tips to increase old house sale profit

When it comes to selling your home, we all have the same goal in mind, to get as much as we can for the property we own. 

Boost Curb Appeal (Low Budget - High Impact):
Exterior freshening:

Power wash your siding, paint your front door, add fresh mulch and flowers, and improve outdoor lighting.

Maintain your lawn and landscaping:

Mow regularly, edge your walkways, and trim overgrown bushes.

Strategic Improvements:
Kitchen and bathroom updates:

These rooms have the highest impact on potential buyers. Consider repainting cabinets, updating hardware, replacing outdated appliances (focusing on the most visible ones), and installing new countertops or flooring if possible.

Neutral paint colours:

Use light, neutral colours throughout your main living areas to create a sense of spaciousness and appeal to a wider range of buyers.

Energy-efficient upgrades:

Replace old windows and doors with energy-efficient options, and upgrade insulation in the attic or walls for potential cost savings.

Smart Spending and Staging:
Focus on DIY projects:

If you're handy, consider tackling smaller projects like painting, minor repairs, or landscaping updates yourself to save on costs.

Stage your home:

Declutter, rearrange furniture to create an open and spacious feel, and add decorative touches to make your home feel welcoming and highlight its potential.

Strategically address major repairs:

Weigh the cost of repairs against the potential increase in your selling price. Consider addressing critical issues but avoiding unnecessary over-improvements.

How to sell old houses 

Selling an older property, like any other, presents a unique set of considerations. Choosing the right old house sell method is crucial for maximising your profit and achieving a smooth transaction. Here's a breakdown of the three main options, each with its own advantages and drawbacks:

Traditional estate agents 

The traditional way to sell your home is through an estate agent if you’d like to be more involved with the process and aren’t in a hurry to sell quickly. Estate agents market and sell the property, liaise with the solicitor, negotiate with buyers and sellers and deal with the admin side of selling.  

Selling your home with an estate agent, you’ll pay between 0.75% - 3.5% of the selling price to the agent. The cost varies based on the type of estate agent and their rates.  

House auction  

Selling old houses is popular at property auctions because there’s a pool of potential buyers, usually looking for their next home renovation project or are a property developer. Auctions have a high success rate of 70-80%, with the opportunity to earn more for your property than you expect to. It’s a secure process because once the highest bidder wins, they’ll pay a deposit and clear the amount within 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the auction type and auction house. 

At an auction, you’ll need to set a reserve price as the lowest you’ll accept for the property in its current state and pay the auction house a fee to help advertise it beforehand, creating buzz before the auction. 

Property cash buyer 

Selling an old property can be daunting as you may find it challenging to gain lots of traction, especially with outdated interiors and systems. As property cash buyers, we buy old homes, providing an accurate and fair price. We buy old homes regardless of condition, so whether you are selling a house in bad condition or you are sell house in poor condition, we can help. 

We specilise in fast house sales, regardless of your selling situation. We understand that life events like relocation or inheritance can necessitate a quick sale. We offer solutions that can help you achieve a sale in as little as seven days.

The first step is entering your postcode on our website and answering all the questions about your property, such as its condition, location and any crucial features. Our expert team will send over a free, no-obligation offer after evaluating your property using local data and current market conditions.   

If you agree with the offer, one of our regional managers will inspect the property to see if it's up to the standard. If the inspection is successful, we agree on a timeline for the sale, and your home will sell within seven days. The offer we gave you is the amount of cash you’ll receive for your property.  

Are you considering selling an old house? We buy old houses for cash, offering a swift selling experience and handling the entire process, including the solicitor costs. 

We offer the flexibility to choose a completion date with a minimum of 7 days hassle-free. Contact our team today, and we can advise you on how to sell your property, the process and the considerations to make before working with us. 

We can buy your old house fast

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Alexandra Ventress

Alexandra is a Content Producer who enjoys writing articles, finding out about the property market, keeping you up to date with the latest trends.