Our homes are an investment so, when it comes to property value, the question ‘how much is my house worth?’ is one of the most frequently asked. It’s then followed by an inevitable property valuation by a series of estate agents, which then results in most homeowners asking, ‘so how can I add value to to my home?’ If that sounds familiar, there are plenty of ways to increase the value of your home – from renovations, extensions and big decorating jobs, to smaller, more budget-conscious updates that will helps boost your homes selling power.
Before you make any big design decisions or start planning an all-out home renovation project, we would recommend speaking to a trusted local estate agent, who knows about house sale prices – and what sells – in your area to ensure that any amendments or additions that you make your home will, in fact, add value to the property. All homes have a ceiling price so it’s vital to make sure that you don’t end up losing money by doing renovations that don’t, in fact, alter the value of your home – although they may well be worth it if they make your home a more comfortable place to live.
So, whether you’re thinking of selling up or just want to add value to your home long-term by investing in it now, here are some of the most popular (and proven) ways to increase your property’s value and boost its selling power.
A loft conversion is the most cost-effective way to gain extra living space and you should be able to do it if your home was built before 1975 and/or the loft has a maximum headroom of 2.3m.
Work on converting an attic costs from around £20,000 – although on average a dormer loft conversion with a double bedroom and en-suite bathroom is more likely to be in the region of £35-45k – and takes about six to 12 weeks to complete. This configuration is the most popular option and, according to Nationwide Building Society, it could add an estimated 21% to the value of your home.
Remember, take professional advice before you start to plan your loft conversion because it must meet building and fire regulations.
Whether it’s a side return or a glass-box extension, adding a single-storey extension can start at around £30,000, while two storeys are generally about 50% more expensive – so from approximately £45,000 (before VAT) depending on size and location.
According to Nationwide Building Society, a modern extension on the ground floor can increase your property’s value by around 5%, while adding a bedroom to create a three-bed house will add about 12% to the potential asking price.
When planning an extension, design rooms to be as big as possible, but without sacrificing too much of the garden or outdoor area – this can make a property feel out of balance and deter buyers.
Check with the local planning office to see if you need permission to carry out building work. All home improvements on this scale must also comply with Building Regulations and be inspected and passed at key stages.
Storage is always a key factor for buyers, and the practicalities of a kitchen in particular can really have an impact on how favourably potential buyers view a house. A new kitchen will make your property more appealing to buyers and, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), can add as much as 4% to its value.
Opt for clean, neutral kitchen designs and always keep expense in proportion to the size and current value of your property; for example, there’s little chance of adding value (or even recouping costs) if you add a bespoke £25,000 kitchen to a semi that’s valued at £170,000 – even if it is in a brand-new
kitchen extension. Nor is it sensible to put an £8,000 kitchen in a house that’s worth £1m!
After the kitchen, the next option is to spruce up the bathroom. A new en suite or second bathroom can add approximately 5% to your home’s value, according to Nationwide Building Society.
But beware: don’t ever add a bathroom at the expense of losing a double bedroom, as this could work against you to devalue your property.
Simply renewing a bathroom suite, with fresh taps, a new shower screen and sparkling towel rails, will also make your home more saleable, but you may only recoup 25% of your costs.
Adding a conservatory can raise your house’s value by as much as 15% (if it’s part of a full-blown extension), which is a great return on a relatively simple and cost-effective space-enhancing option.
Choose a design that complements the style of your home and make sure it doesn’t dominate your garden – a small conservatory can still add value and space! Also think about its position: a south-facing conservatory needs ventilation and shade, while a north-facing room requires good heating.
Check with your local planning department whether you need permission to build. If you’re within your home’s permitted development allowance (your local planning department can advise on this) and your conservatory is separated from your house by patio doors, you may be exempt.
Making your home energy efficient saves you money, as well as adding value to your home in the long run; Some sources estimate that an eco-friendly house can fetch up to 6% more than a standard one. Many of the eco-friendly home improvements you can make, such as adding insulation and fitting solar-panel heating, make a big difference to your annual energy bills.
The Energy Saving Trust says that in an average home, laying DIY loft insulation can save you up to £145 per year, while according to Nationwide Building Society, laying 27cm-thick loft insulation will reduce heating bills by £210-£250 per year, and cavity wall insulation will save £210-£250 per year.
Elsewhere, a solar water heater, which starts at around £1,500 for a solar water heater, can provide up to 70% of your hot water free!
That’s a substantial saving…that could even go some way towards saving for other home renovation projects!
Additionally, Government grants are available as part of the
Renewable Heat Incentive, to help you make some of these ecological improvements.
You can also add value in simple ways; make a good first impression with your front door and hallway, and buyers feel more positive about the value of the property itself!
If your front door is looking like it needs a scrub down, a fresh lick of paint or some new door furniture, give it a little overhaul. A new letterbox, door knocker or house number can revive your home’s exterior.
Also make sure pathways and windows are in good repair, and that the hallways is clutter free – good curb appeal can really impact a buyer’s opinion.
Architect Your Home
Kitchen & bathrooms
Anglian Home Improvements
Energy Saving Trust
For the Federation of Master Builders’ free booklet The Essential Guide to Home Improvement.