Think also about headroom and whether there’s scope to incorporate some storage space by lowering the ceiling height in certain areas. It might not be so handy for storing the ironing board but can be a godsend for the longer-term storage items. Just ask anybody who has a loft.
- Go for premium accents
A common mistake I see new developers make when building lower-priced homes is to opt for the lowest cost specification throughout. This is a massive own goal since it’s the little things that can make a big difference. Cheap single panel doors with basic door furniture make the whole place feel low rent and borderline institutional. But you don’t need to step too many rungs up the pricing ladder to get a mid-range wooden door and some nice, brushed steel handles, plus you probably won’t have that many doors in each unit. Overall, your budget will only have increased by a small amount, but the customers’ perception of the quality will go up disproportionately. The same rule applies to light switches and power sockets; white is perfectly acceptable, but chrome or colour adds character; just be mindful of the overall cost.
- Install premium appliances
I know what you’re thinking – top-of-the-range washing machines are all very nice, but what about the budget? Well, here’s where branding can work in your favour. Of course, premium brands such as Bosch, Neff, AEG, and Siemens cost more, and they’re not what most people would expect to find in basic flats. Yet all of these brands offer entry-level models that, while light on features, are heavy on brand cachet and don’t cost a great deal more. Your customers will notice the brand, not the model, and it can help lift the perceived quality of the entire home.
- Install bigger shower cubicles
Small homes usually come with small rooms, and bathrooms are no exception. Yet we all know how uncomfortable it is when you’re trying to take a shower in a cubicle that’s barely big enough to turn around in. Instead, make a point of going large on the shower front so that its size is immediately noticeable when you walk into the room. Naturally, this will mean pinching space from somewhere else. Still, it’s unlikely to be a colossal compromise – even a large shower doesn’t take up a vast amount of space. But I guarantee you it’s something that people will notice, and it can make a difference to a home’s saleability.
- Don’t skimp on the tiling
When creating a tiled splashback behind the basin, you can save a few pounds by not tiling down to the ground. The thing is, the wall behind the basin is a place where dust and dirt accumulate over time, and it’s much messier and more difficult to clean if it’s not tiled. So, do the decent thing and tile down to the floor. The increased cost is negligible, and it’s one of those little touches that can make a room seem more homely, even if people struggle to put their finger on exactly why.
- Maximise lighting quality
No one likes a poky flat, and now that natural light is a requirement for both permitted development and full planning schemes, its absence shouldn’t be an issue. But you should still take time out at the design stage to work with your design team on maximising the amount of light you’re getting into your units. It’s not just natural light you need to worry about; a few strategically placed downlighters can make a real difference. That said, don’t spend money unnecessarily; I recall one developer who blew a small fortune on sophisticated mood lighting, forgetting that viewings would be happening in daylight hours.