Home improvement can make your space much nicer to live in; and, if done well, it can also add significantly to the value of your home. With house prices stalling (a little), for those looking to sell – or anyone with an urge to make some changes – now is the perfect time to tackle a home improvement or two. However, not all home improvements have the same ratio of effort to reward. So, which are likely to add the most to the value of your home and which are just nice to look at?
Invest in an extension
Many people choose to extend a property where there is the space to do so. This may be to add a bedroom or study, or even something luxurious like a games room or home cinema. As each extension is different, the cost of doing it varies considerably. When you’re working out whether this is a good investment of your resources, look at house prices in your area and see how much an additional bedroom or garage adds to an otherwise similar home. On average, an additional bedroom adds around 8% to the value of a property. Remember not to overdevelop the property for the buyers in your area is this will give potential purchasers nowhere to go if they want a property they could make changes to.
Buy a new kitchen
You don’t have to go all out to introduce positive changes to your kitchen – making it shiny and new can be done quite cheaply these days. The difference it makes to buyer perception is huge. New appliances, freshly painted cupboards and clean, bright tiling and worktops are immensely appealing. Depending on the type of kitchen you choose you can add around 6% to the value of your home.
Find room for a new bathroom
Given that the bathroom is the room we spend the least time in when we’re at home, it’s surprising how much emphasis buyers will place on it. If your property only has a downstairs bathroom or a single bathroom for the whole house it might be worth investing in a new one. Adding a bathroom – especially an ensuite bathroom – could add around 6% to the value of a property. As a general rule of thumb, most buyers tend to expect one bathroom per two bedrooms.
Convert the loft
Almost like adding a whole new floor to your property, loft conversions are becoming increasingly attractive to home buyers. Whether they are used as a kid’s bedroom or a peaceful upstairs office space, loft conversions add an extra dimension to the property. Loft conversions can be pretty expensive with costs easily into five figures depending on where you live. You may also need to obtain planning permission for a loft conversion and remember to tell your insurer that you’re adding more space. Loft conversions with an ensuite bathroom tend to add the most value. In general you can increase the value off your home by anywhere between 7% and 22% with a loft conversion.
Consider a conservatory
Conservatories can be a big plus for homes with plenty of space where there is a large garden or land to look out on. Be wary of adding a conservatory where it eats into a small garden though as this could reduce the market appeal of a property. A well done conservatory that fits with the aesthetic of the property and feels like an extra room can add around 5% to property values. In most cases you shouldn’t need planning permission for a conservatory but it’s worth enquiring with the local planning department to make sure.
Landscaping the garden
We Brits love our gardens – in fact figures from Homebase show that we’ve spent more than £80 billion on them. Most agents will tell you that a pretty, south facing garden will always attract extra interest but does it add value? According to Jonathan Haward from County Homesearch, a nice garden could add up to 20% to the value of a property. However, it’s worth noting that too much landscaping tends to be a waste of money – particularly as many buyers would see maintaining an extravagant garden as a job they didn’t want to take on. However, some basic landscaping that makes the most of the space you have is always a good investment.
Insulating the property
Although insulation on its own probably won’t spike buyer interest, the effect it has on the property’s energy efficiency rating (Energy Performance Certificate) will. Solid wall insulation is the type that has the most impact on the EPC rating of a property and can bump it up by two whole bands. A better EPC rating means that the property will cost less to run making it a more valuable prospect to buyers. According to government figures, improving the EPC rating of a property could add more than £16,000 to the asking price.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read more about Alex Hartley