Many households are planning renovation schemes after reassessing what they want from their homes following the pandemic. Living space has come under increased scrutiny and the desire to make changes has led to a surge of interest in improvement projects. While the most popular plans are for new kitchens, bathrooms and loft conversions, it is important to be aware that some projects can prove more profitable than others in terms of adding value to a property.
UK homeowners were asked about the schemes they rated highest for adding value to a property in an analysis by the Royal London insurance company this year. Homeowners were questioned about how much more they would offer for a house if it had certain improvements. The report revealed that adding a new kitchen or bathroom to a house will add the most value: a kitchen was found to add around £11,159 and a bathroom £10,915. Respondents felt that a loft conversion added £10,854; another bedroom £10,744; a new heating system or boiler £9,647; modern windows £9,597; a garage conversion £9,503; landscaped garden £9,502 and a conservatory £9,390.
The report also asked people about their reasons for carrying out renovation work. The primary answer was to create more space for the homeowner; other reasons included improving a property with a view to selling it; to make more space for children or for working from home, better social space and because of seeing other upgraded houses.
How to Add Value to Your Home
Before considering a scheme, it may be advisable to deal with any outstanding structural issues; if, for instance, a house suffers from an expensive problem to resolve such as subsidence, cosmetic improvements may be less of a priority. Other structural problems may include major cracks, bowing walls or sagging roofs and the advice of a structural engineer may be required. Having decided to embark on a scheme, here are some points to consider:
Kitchens and Bathrooms
While the cost of a kitchen upgrade can vary hugely, just a small budget can result in appreciable changes from initiatives such as replacing existing unit doors, installing new flooring, replacing worktops, an improved lighting scheme and painting. Extending a kitchen may add up to 15% to the value of a house (Property Price Advice, 2021). Side returns can improve layout and add space; a single storey side return is classed as permitted development if it meets certain criteria.
A bathroom upgrade can add up to 5% in value: consider installing modern sanitaryware, a power shower, new lighting and replacing or painting existing tiles. Choosing a shower which does not need pipework to be chased into the wall saves costs. Relocating a ground floor bathroom to the first floor can pay dividends in terms of buyer appeal but will require a realignment of rooms. A second bathroom or an ensuite to the main bedroom may be a useful addition.
While creating an extra bedroom is proven to add value, possibly up to 15%, it is important to be aware of the ceiling value for properties in the area if the work is planned purely for that reason. Loft conversions do not usually require planning permission as most will be considered permitted development, although installing dormer windows will. A roof light conversion is the most cost-effective option; this creates a room from the existing space and requires minimal structural work. A mansard conversion extends out from one or both roof slopes, giving headroom. Bear in mind that adding a new staircase will be required, taking up space.
Build a Cellar
A cellar can add up to 30% to the value of a house. Such schemes qualify as change of use and do not require planning consent unless a listed building is involved. A specialist team will be required for the build.
This could potentially add 15% to a house’s value and is a good option if off-road parking space is also available. Planning consent may be required although such conversions are often classed as permitted development.
Replacing an out-of-date heating system is a sure way to add value, especially if done in conjunction with other energy efficiency measures such as additional radiators (depending on the boiler capacity), loft insulation and window replacement. Underfloor heating may also be a viable option.
Working from Home
This trend offers potential to add value to a house by either creating an office within an existing house or building a garden office; these vary in price from £5,000 to £20,000 depending on the level of insulation and double-glazing options.
Rewiring and Replumbing
Older properties may be due for an upgrade. When rewiring it is useful to add extra sockets and update the lighting at the same time. When upgrading dated plumbing, consider a pressurised plumbing system rather than a gravity method as a header tank is not required. A combination boiler, which provides hot water on demand, may be a workable alternative.
Their capacity to transform a room by allowing light in makes bifold doors an attractive option. They create a modern feel spacious and often provide a useful link to garden space.
Installation is required on a south-facing roof, which must be capable of bearing the weight. Panels can add significantly to a house’s energy efficiency: photovoltaic panels generate electricity from sunlight while solar thermal panels generate heat for domestic hot water.
Often providing the finishing touch to a property, decorating needs to address issues such as peeling paint, mouldy window seals in kitchens and bathrooms, damaged windows and cracks in plasterwork.
Reconfigure the Layout
This can extend the appeal of a house to a wider range of buyers. Non-load bearing internal walls can be knocked through to create a better use of space. Combining a kitchen and dining room is a popular strategy which can give a house a more spacious feeling.
People’s appreciation of outside space gained prominence during the lockdowns and gardens have become an important selling point. Worthwhile improvements include increasing privacy by building fences or strategic planting, and creating areas for specific uses such as seating, playing and barbecuing.
Add a Conservatory
A conservatory can add up to 10% to the value of a house. While planning consent is not usually required, conservatories must comply with Building Regulations. Tiling the roof of an existing conservatory may make it useable all year round.
A house’s exterior can be improved by painting doors and windows, repointing brickwork, repairing paths, adding a porch and thoughtful planting.
While this may involve sacrificing part of the garden, more parking space is generally desirable.
Immediate gains can be made by removing items such as polystyrene ceiling tiles, poorly laid laminate flooring and tired, flat- roofed conservatories, while restoring features such as period fireplaces, polished floorboards and concealed timbers can add value. Consider adding new features such as a staircase or fireplace, and decluttering creates valuable space. Good storage options are always welcome; thought could be given to built-in storage units in unused areas such as the understairs or either side of a chimney breast.
Obtaining (or renewing) planning permission for an extension may make a house appealing to a buyer by offering options.
Homebuilding. 2021. How to add value to your home. [Online]. Available from: https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/advice/how-to-add-value-to-your-home (Accessed 28th September 2021)
Property Wire. 2021. Add value to your home. [Online]. Available from: https://www.propertywire.com/guides/add-value-to-your-home-this-year/ (Accessed 27th September 2021)
Property Price Advice. 2021. Home Improvements. [Online]. Available from: https://www.propertypriceadvice.co.uk/home-improvements/ten-of-the-best-ways-to-add-value-to-your-home (Accessed 28th September 2021)