Find out what really adds value to your home, from those in the know...

Not all home improvement projects add value. Some can make your property more saleable (quicker and easier to sell), but they won’t necessarily increase its sale price.

Put simply, the amount you spend on a project won’t necessarily add the same amount to its value. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you think about improving your home.

Don’t overdevelop

The main thing you need to bear in mind when trying to add value is to avoid overdeveloping. All properties have a ceiling price and, no matter what you do to it, your property can’t command an asking price that’s too much higher than other properties on your street.

Potential buyers with a £500,000 budget are unlikely want to live on a street where all the other houses are worth £250,000.

Keep proportionate

If you have a small two-bedroom house, excavating a mega-basement will make the property bottom-heavy, so remember that any additions should remain in proportion to the original structure. Look at the other houses on your street to understand what projects your neighbours have been granted planning permission to carry out. You’ll then realise what’s likely to be possible with your property.

Stay put in your current home

In many cases, it’s more cost effective to turn a two-bedroom house into a three-bedroom house than it is to invest in a new property with an additional bedroom.

There are two options if you want to create more rooms;

  • Reconfigure the floor plan (the cheapest option)
  • Add more living space with an extension or conversion

Reconfiguring: Reconfiguring the existing upstairs floor plan is a cost-effective way of creating more bedrooms. A good builder will be able to re-design the floor plan to make the most of the space available. You can hire a builder via websites like Rated People to install a partition stud which, as a benchmark, might cost between £800 and £1,000.

Providing the rooms created are of adequate size, and the space in the original ones hasn’t been overly compromised, a well thought-through reconfiguration can add value to your property.

loft_conversion

Conversions: Converting loft space is also a relatively cheap way to increase the number of bedrooms, as well as the living space in your home. In many cases a loft conversion is considered permitted development so you won’t require planning permission.

However, listed properties or those in conservation areas will require permission and local interpretation of the regulations can vary, so it’s worth clarifying with your local planning authority before you commence work.

According to Rated People, you’ll need a minimum ceiling height of 2.3 meters to make a loft conversion viable, typically the steeper the pitch of the roof the better suited it is to converting. Loft spaces are best used for extra bedrooms, if you choose to install bathrooms the cost will be pushed up.

You should consult a builder about the configuration, especially if you plan to include bathrooms as locating these close to existing plumbing will reduce the cost of the project. A basic loft conversion with Velux windows will cost from £10,000, up to around £30,000 for a more complex project with Dorma windows.

Extensions: Any project that adds square footage is likely to add value and recently the trend for open-plan living has increased the popularity of single-storey kitchen extensions.

Kitchens sell houses so this is a good value-adding area to spend money. Rates People estimates a basic single-storey extension will cost around £10,000. And in most cases this type of home improvement falls under permitted development, so planning permission isn’t required.

If you also want to increase the number of bedrooms you could opt for a double-storey extension.

Prices start from £20,000 which, when you look at value increases between a two-bedroom and three-bedroom house, could make it a lot cheaper than the cost of a bigger property. And that’s before you add on the costs of moving.

While reconfigurations may solve the financial problem and hassle of moving up the ladder to increase the amount of bedrooms, if room size is compromised this type of project can’t guarantee increasing the sale price. On the other hand, adding living space with a well thought out conversion or extension nearly always adds value to a property.


Figures and estimates courtesy of  RatedPeople.com.

Zoopla strongly advises seeking current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional.

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