Five tips to boost the value of your home

People love their house. A home provides somewhere to retreat to and get away from the craziness of modern life, and an oasis of calm. Owning one provides you with somewhere to raise a family, entertain friends and recharge your batteries.

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In addition, for most people, their home is their main financial asset. Your property provides a way to borrow the money needed for special events in your life. For example, many people take out a second mortgage to pay for their child’s university education or their weddings.

The great thing about property is that you can increase its value. Adding an extension, new bathroom or kitchen can literally add thousands to the value of your property.

A word of caution

However, you have to approach these home improvements in the right way. If you are not careful, you can end up spending money on changes that end up reducing the value of your property instead of increasing it.

To ensure that our readers avoid this situation, we have put together this post. In it, we provide you with five ways you could improve your property and increase its value.

In addition, we explain how you need to approach these improvements to make sure you get the best possible return on your investment. We also point out the most common pitfalls and explain how you can avoid them.

1. Add a conservatory

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Now, our first suggestion is going to surprise some of you because, in some areas, conservatories have gone out of fashion. They are not as popular as they once were, but the latest statistics show that they are still a home improvement that adds value to most properties.

According to the latest statistics provided by Movewithus, a conservatory will add around 5% to the value of a property. This is not a bad increase, but there are other ways of adding extra space to your home that will increase the value of a property by a higher percentage. However, many of these require a large upfront investment.

A conservatory does not. Provided you do not go for the top-end luxury models, you can have a conservatory built for between £4,000 and £6,000. Therefore, this extension project is within the financial reach of virtually any property owner. If you have a limited budget, a conservatory could be a great way to add value to your home.

It is also a fast way to add extra space to your home. On average, it takes four weeks to build one.

Often, a conservatory will be small enough to fall within the permitted development limits, which means that you will not have to wait to get planning permission to build one. Of course, you need to double check that this is the case and ask the firm that is building your conservatory to confirm their lead times.

2. Look into house extensions

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Building an extension is a far bigger project. It generally takes longer and requires a larger investment. However, it is an excellent way to add value to your home. You can add between 5% and 10% to the value of your property by extending it. In some parts of the UK, it could be worth even more.

How much value you add depends, in part, on what you put into that space. For example, adding another bathroom adds around 6% to the value of a property, whereas an extra bedroom adds around 8.8%. If you live in an area in the catchment area of a good school where most properties only have two bedrooms, creating an extra bedroom could add even more value.

On the other hand, if you already live in a four-bedroom home adding a fifth is not likely to push the value of your home up by much. This is because there is very limited demand for five-bedroom properties. Very few families need five bedrooms, although as more people opt to live as multigenerational units, that is changing.

If you do not have room for a rear extension, adding extra space onto the side of your home is worth considering. This is the case even if doing so will not provide you with any new rooms.

Using a side extension to add space to your existing rooms can still add value to a property. For example, extending your kitchen can easily make your home more attractive to potential buyers and, therefore, greatly improve its value.

However, if you are not adding new rooms, calculating how much extra value you will add to your home is quite tricky. In this situation, it makes sense to consult with architects, builders and estate agents in your area.

These professionals understand the local housing market well. They will be able to give you a good idea of how much value extending a kitchen, living room or another type of room will add to the value of your property.

3. Consider loft conversions and other internal changes

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Converting the space in your loft can easily add a good 9-10% to the value of your home. Again, how much more your home will be worth once the work finishes depends largely on what you do with the space. If you have a lot of loft space available and are able to add two bedrooms, you can potentially add far more than 10% to the value of your property.

However, you do need to be careful about how you approach a loft conversion. You need to be sure that the finished conversion will create a space that potential buyers will see as attractive and usable. There is no point in converting a loft if you are going to end up with dark or dingy rooms that are really only suitable for storage. The last thing you want is to end up building a very expensive closet.

Also, having a new bathroom or kitchen installed is an internal change that can add value to a property. Installing the latest style of counters and kitchen cabinets will typically add 6% to the resale price of your home.

It will also make it far easier to sell. Numerous studies show that a nice kitchen is something buyers actively look for. This is likely to continue to be the case because lifestyle studies show that people are continuing to eat and entertain more at home.

Updating your bathroom will normally add around 5%. This home improvement will also make it easier for you to sell your home.

4. Add or remove walls

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Another change that is well worth considering, and usually overlooked, is moving some of the internal walls of your home. Most of the walls in your home are not structural, i.e. they do not play a significant part in holding up the exterior walls, upper floor or roof of your property. Usually, these walls can safely be taken down and rebuilt. Often, they are made of studwork and plasterboard, so they are extremely easy to move and rebuild.

This means that you can significantly reconfigure the interior of most UK homes. Doing so can turn a home with dark, dingy, awkwardly shaped rooms into a contemporary, open-plan palace. This positive change can add thousands to the value of the property.

However, you need to approach these changes with caution. If you are thinking of doing this, your local estate agent, builders or architects are the best people to speak to. They will have seen this kind of home improvement done in other properties in your locale. Speaking to them will give you design ideas and help you to determine the financial viability of making changes like that in your property.

Reconfiguring your space can also allow you to add additional rooms to your home. If you do plan to add rooms, think about which type will add the most value to your property and try to incorporate those into your plans.

In some properties, it may even be possible to build a granny annex. This space can be used to accommodate an elderly relative or provide space for one of your children that are not yet able to afford their own home. There is also the potential to rent this space out to a tenant. If you plan to do this, the extension will need to meet certain building regulations and you may need permission to use your home in this way.

Be creative and employ an architect to make sure that you explore all of the options. You may even be able to make changes that allow you to lease out rooms or parking space in your property. Doing this could give you an additional income, as well as add value to your home.

5. Convert your garage into living space

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A lot of people have a garage but rarely use it, so why not do something else with it? They make fantastic playrooms, offices and bedrooms. Many homeowners turn them into self-contained living space for their teenage children.

However, you do have to be very careful with this conversion. It will only add value to your property in areas where property values are very high.

In addition, you should only consider doing this where there are plenty of parking spaces available. Some buyers will be put off buying a property where there is no parking available. This means that potentially converting your garage could actually knock value off your property.

Changes to avoid

As we said earlier, you need to be a tad careful about how you develop your property. If you choose to change your home in the wrong way, you can actually reduce its value, rather than add it.

For example, changing the internal configuration of your home, so that you lose a bedroom will usually reduce its resale value. This is because families need bedrooms, so turning a three- or four-bedroom home into one with only a couple is never a good idea from a property value point of view.

Adding a new kitchen or bathroom is usually a good idea, but not if it is too unique or garish. Installing one like this can make your home difficult to sell. In all likelihood, you will need to reduce the price of your house to be able to sell it.

Avoid overdeveloping your property

Another common mistake people make when adding space to their home is building too much. Taking up practically your entire garden with an extension may look like the right decision on paper, but if it makes your property look ugly, it will be hard to sell.

In addition, studies show that having some nice landscaped outdoor space adds value to a property. People are socialising more at home, and more and more people want space for a kids’ trampoline, a patio or a hot tub – something you need to bear in mind before building your extension or putting up a huge garden office.

Look at what your local house hunters are seeking

It is also important to consider the type of buyers you are trying to appeal to when deciding which kind of space to add to your home. If you live in a two-bedroom property in an area that is popular with families, adding another bedroom or two is going to add far more value than adding a conservatory will.

Bear in mind return on investment

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If the main aim of your home improvements is adding value, you need to sit down and check that you are going to get a good return on your investment. There is no point in spending £23,000 on an extension if you are only going to add £18,000 to the value of your property. In that situation, you will end up losing money rather than making it. We have covered how to work out your return on investment (ROI) in an earlier article.

Return on investment is an important factor when adding value to a property. If you have only limited funds to invest, you want that money to count, so it is well worth considering this when deciding which changes to make to your property first.

Follow the advice above, and you will be able to improve your home and make it more comfortable to live in, as well as adding more value to your property.

Posted by Mark
March 4, 2016
Features

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