Recent research has revealed the best and worst home improvements when it comes to increasing the value of your home.
When selling a home, people naturally want to obtain the best possible price for their property. It is therefore common practice to renovate, upgrade or even extend in the hope of increasing the value.
However, while some improvements can add significant value to a home, others may actually decrease the value. Consequently, before making any changes, it’s worth understanding exactly what impact a change to your property will have.
It can be tempting to decide not to make any improvements to your interior, especially if there’s a perception that they may be expensive, but it’s common for potential buyers to consider whether or not they’ll need to make changes.
The most important areas to consider are the kitchen and bathroom, as dated sanitaryware or an old-fashioned kitchen can be off-putting to would-be purchasers, due to the investment that they believe they’ll have to make.
However, there’s no need to panic about the cost.
A basic bathroom suite which will still look fresh and modern can be bought for under £500.
The kitchen is often thought to be the heart of the home, and it’s frequently a major consideration for interested buyers. Valuation surveyors will also take note of the condition of the kitchen, and the resulting valuation will reflect this.
Upgrading your kitchen on average adds 5% to the value of a property, so it’s worth investing time and money in the most important room in the house.
However, before you rush out and buy a brand new kitchen, which could set you back an average of £6,300, consider if there are smaller changes you can make.
Replacing cupboard doors or worktops, or changing lighting could be all your kitchen needs to look bang up-to-date.
When it comes to improving the look of your home, it can be tempting to put up some expensive wallpaper, but there’s little point. Potential purchasers will be looking to put their own stamp on any new property, and wallpaper takes both time and effort to remove.
If you’ve used heavily textured wallpaper, there may also be questions raised about the state of the plaster underneath, and whether the room will need replastering. Instead, stick to painting walls, which are much easier for buyers to change to reflect their own tastes.
Space is often at a premium, particularly in modern homes. Making the most of the available space should be considered a wise investment.
Open plan living is currently high desirable, so removing walls downstairs to create a larger space that ‘flows’ better is likely to increase the appeal of your home.
Converting loft or cellar space
Jason Orme, Content Director for My Homebuilding, Real Homes, and Period Living Magazine says: “Urban properties tend to benefit disproportionately from relatively small extensions and remodelling projects that can turn existing space into living accommodation (such as loft conversions) – with every inch counting, it can make a huge difference to the enjoyment and value of a home in the town or city.”
In other words, utilising spaces such as the loft, or adding a cellar space can make a significant difference to the price of your home. The average cellar conversion costs around £20,000 but will add 20% to the value, while a loft conversion is likely to set you back £11,500 on average, and add 12.5% to your home, as extra bedrooms often feature highly on buyers’ shopping lists.
Don’t lose a bedroom
It can be tempting to knock two small bedrooms together to create a larger room but this can significantly and adversely affect the expected purchase price of a property.
As well as buyers looking at the number of bedrooms, the value of houses are based partly on the same consideration, as listing prices are calculated based on similar homes, with bedrooms a key factor.
Extra bedrooms can add as much as 15% to the value of your home, with a loss of one potentially negatively impacting the price by an equivalent amount.
Adding space to your home is pretty much guaranteed to add value to your home, whether that’s adding additional space to the living area or installing an extra bedroom.
However, planning regulations vary from region to region, and it’s essential to check what planning permissions will be required before starting any building work.
It’s also worth noting that the exact amount of value that an extension will add will also depend on positioning, the materials used, and the general planning.
Adding an extension isn’t cheap. Depending on the size and location, expect to spend at least £30,000 on a single storey extension, with an additional 50% for a two storey extension. And that’s before VAT is added.
However, a single storey side-return extension, which typically runs alongside kitchens to open up this living space, can add around 15% to the value of the property.
But be warned, the research advises against adding a conservatory. While it’s reasonably affordable compared to a full extension, and frequently doesn’t require planning permission, they’re now considered dated, and often suffer from being freezing in winter and baking hot in summer.
While a nice sunroom can add around 6%, this is around half the improvement that an extra bedroom would bring.
People are more and more concerned about the environment. In addition, they’re also concerned about the running costs of a home. Making your home more energy efficient and considering green energy solutions, as long as they don’t require much upkeep, can make a real difference.
As Jason Orme says: “There are many ways to reduce your home energy bills but they fit into two main categories: they either reduce a home’s energy demand (insulation, double or triple glazing, etc.) or they generate the energy the home requires more sustainably (e.g. solar panels). While both improvements are becoming increasingly popular, it’s the former that is likely to add more in the way of house value.”
Double glazing is considered a necessity by most people, and with it being one of the most expensive improvements they can expect to make, the state of a property’s windows is important.
Double or even triple glazing will boost the value of your home and improve its energy efficiency through eliminating draughts and improving heat retention. Replacing windows, dependent on the number and size of them, will cost on average £5,000 but could improve the value of your home by 10%.
The decision to install solar panels should be carefully considered. While they’re becoming more common and are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, they’re expensive, tipping the scales at around £6,672. And while they’re considered a selling point, they’re unlikely to add any value to your property.
If you’re considering installing solar panels, it’s best to do so several years before you plan to move, so that you’re able to recoup some of the initial outlay.
Smart home technology
It’s hard to miss all of the television adverts for home technology. From smart speakers to remotely monitored security devices, there are plenty of options, although some are more highly sought after than others.
Smart home technology is a growing market, and is being embraced worldwide. Installing smart home technology can put your property ahead of the market and add up to 5% to the value of your home.
Such technology can include items as diverse as remote control thermostats, home security systems, doorbells and lighting. And with a smart thermostat costing as little as £280 including installation, that’s an impressive return on investment.
While you may love a built-in sound system or home cinema, the truth is that they’re not worth installing if you’re planning to move, as they’re unlikely to feature on a buyer’s wishlist.
And with the average cost of installing a home cinema being £27,500, but adding just £2,000 to the value of a property, this means a significant loss on your outlay. As with many home renovations, too much personalisation is likely to deter would-be purchasers, who will take into account the amount of work they will need to undertake to create a home that suits their tastes.
If you’re looking to sell your property, there’s plenty you can do to add both appeal and monetary value to your home. Being aware of what potential buyers are looking for – and what they find off-putting – will make your property more saleable and increase the price that you can expect to achieve.