This article focuses on reliable ways to improve the value of your house following the pandemic, which has led many households to plan renovation schemes after reassessing what they want from their homes.
Our living space has been put under increased scrutiny and the desire to make changes has led to a surge of interest in improvement projects. While the most popular schemes are for new kitchens, bathroom suites and loft conversions, it is important to be aware that some projects can prove more profitable than others in terms of how much value they can add to a property.
Most desirable improvements
UK homeowners were asked which projects they rated highest for adding value to a property in an analysis by the Royal London insurance company in 2021. Questions included how much more they would offer for a house if it had certain improvements. The report revealed that adding a new kitchen or bathroom suite 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; an extra bedroom £10,744; a new central heating system or boiler £9,647; modern windows £9,597; a garage conversion £9,503; a 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 extra space; other reasons included upgrading a property with a view to selling it; to improve the existing layout to make areas for children, working from home or socialising, and because of seeing other upgraded houses.
How to Add Value to Your Home
The end of the Stamp Duty holiday may well lead to people improving their homes rather than moving, according to Tim Kampel, director of property consultancy, Box Property Solutions. He commented:
“We are likely to see a massive area of growth in renovation work over the next few years. A quieter property market will see more people deciding to spend on extensions and conversions such as home offices or an extra bedroom.”
“People tend on average to move house every seven years; after such a hectic market caused by the Stamp Duty holiday, combined with low mortgage rates, I believe that people will stay put and improve on the living space they have got.”
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. A local estate agent can advise on what potential buyers are looking for and the best schemes to achieve a house sale. 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 a fresh coat of paint. 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 and will not require planning permission.
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 the existing rooms. A second bathroom or an en-suite to the master bedroom may be a useful addition.
While creating an additional bedroom is proven to add value, possibly up to 15%, it is important to be aware of the ceiling price for properties in the area if the work is planned purely for that reason. Attic 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 and letting in natural light. 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 permission unless a listed building is involved. A specialist team will be required for the construction work.
This could potentially add 15% to a house’s value and is a good option if off-road parking space is also available. Planning permission may be required although such conversions are often classed as permitted development.
Replacing an out-of-date central 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 room 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 in natural light makes bifold doors an attractive option. They create a modern, spacious feel and often provide a useful link to entertaining space in the garden.
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 prospective buyers, according to estate agents. Non-load bearing internal walls can be knocked through to create a better use of living or storage space. Combining a kitchen and dining room is a popular strategy which can give a house a more spacious feel.
People’s appreciation of outside space grew 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 and they can boost its square footage area. While planning permission 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. A new front door always adds kerb appeal.
While this may involve sacrificing part of the garden, more parking space is generally appreciated by prospective buyers.
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 extra 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.
According to property professionals, obtaining (or renewing) planning permission for an extension may make a house appealing to a buyer by offering options.
What do you think?
If you have another opinion about how to add value to your home, do get in touch and let us know!
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)