Buying a property is not just about living rent-free (or the bragging rights that come with home ownership), it is also an investment in your future. Before you make an offer, you should be thinking about what the property might be worth in a few years and how this will help you to reach the next rung on that all-important ladder.
There is a great deal that you can do to improve a property in order to boost its value. Still, it should go without saying that not every major project will suit every property out there. Making a poor choice of how to improve your home will lead you into a financial black hole where the benefits for your property will be far outweighed by the mounting costs. A successful project takes careful planning, plenty of foresight and, naturally, experienced top-quality Pros to help you along.
Speaking to a local estate agent can be a great first step. They should be familiar enough with the local property market to be able to tell you which features are the most highly prized among local buyers. If nearby properties have already had work done, an estate agent should also be able to tell you how much value they added. Most importantly of all, they can tell you about the upper limit for property values in your area. Once your home has reached this point, buyers will simply look at nicer areas instead, so investing anything more in home improvements will be unlikely to yield significant returns.
Asking a local builder or architectural designer for advice can also be extremely helpful. After assessing your property they should be able to point out areas which can be renovated, converted or built on and they should also have enough of an understanding of local property law to inform you if there are any jobs which you may struggle to gain consent for.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at home of the best ways to add value to your property with home improvements!
Before thinking about anything major like a conversion or extension it is worth first taking the time to ask yourself whether what you already have is up to a decent standard. There are several issues which can potentially devalue a property, especially if left unchecked. Look online and you will find dozens of horror stories from homeowners who spent thousands on home improvement work, only to have to undo everything because they failed to solve an issue with damp, outdated electrics or any number of other possibilities before it was too late.
Start by looking out for problems like:
Even issues which only seem cosmetic can develop into expensive disasters if left unchecked. If a potential buyer finds a multitude of tiny problems, such as cracked tiles or peeling wallpaper, they could also argue for a lower asking price to reflect the cost of getting them fixed.
Once any major problems are out of the way, you can start to think about:
The thing to keep in mind about making home improvements is that all properties are different. A certain project could add five figures to the value of one property while devaluing another. Don’t believe us? Spend some time looking at the biggest disasters from shows like Changing Rooms or Ugly House to Lovely House and you’ll see just how easy it is to start home improvements and end up in the red.
It is absolutely crucial that you invest enough time in the planning phase of your project so that you can gauge:
Working to improve the energy efficiency of your property will reduce your carbon footprint along with your monthly energy bills. Better yet, there are a number of home improvement grants which you can take advantage of, many of which your energy provider should be more than happy to discuss with you. This kind of work includes sealing any cracks around windows and doors, installing double glazing and adding insulation to your loft. You may even choose to replace your boiler if it is particularly old and inefficient. Take a look at your property’s most recent energy performance certificate (EPC) for guidance on the best course to take.
Doing a conversion is often cheaper than building an extension, and adding more living space to your home is a surefire way to boost its value. However, the thing about loft conversions is that the success, failure and price of such a project very much depends on what you have to start with. Head room is the most important factor, as this will decide on how much of your loft is actually usable for creating living space, though the structure of your roof will also be important. Start by having a builder or architectural designer inspect the space. They should be able to let you know how much work will be required. Remember, there is no point in investing over £100,000 in a loft conversion job if the value it could add to your home is minimal.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and one of the most potentially lucrative areas to improve! That said, a full kitchen renovation may not be your best option. If the structure and flow of your kitchen is already tip-top, you could save yourself a great deal of money and hassle by simply switching out the surface elements, such as the cabinet doors, worktops and handles. To make things easier, try to nail down exactly what style of kitchen you want to create. Modern kitchens are all the rage right now, but traditional kitchens have stood the test of time and will always find potential buyers to appeal to. If you really want to make a good impression, consider booking a kitchen design consultation with a local kitchen fitter.
It might sound surprising, but these days having separate rooms for absolutely everything is not a popular design choice. Instead, people want larger multipurpose spaces that offer openness and natural light. Removing interior walls will also be less expensive than building an extension, so if you are able to increase the size of a claustrophobic room by having it absorb another then you could get what you need for less. Just be sure to consult with a builder or structural engineer before knocking any walls down!
Your property’s bathrooms are also vital for impressing buyers. Or, to put it another way, a poor quality bathroom is certain to put buyers off. While the basics of bathroom renovation projects are fairly simple, such as replacing any chipped or stained features, giving yourself a working extractor fan and choosing beautiful tiles, what you might not know is that this is one of the best areas in the home to add luxurious features. A steam shower or whirlpool bath could score you major points when the time comes to sell your property.
In urban areas, good parking is highly sought after, to the extent that a parking space can sometimes be enough to add five figures to a property’s value. Indeed, in some areas a garage conversion can actually devalue a property! Look at your home and ask if you have any space at the front, to the side or round behind that could be used to install a new driveway.
A lack of good storage can really put buyers off, as they know they will be forced to either clutter up the property or buy more furniture to compensate. If you have any unused spaces, such as room under your stairs, voids either side of a chimney stack or just the odd unused nook, a local joiner can help you to fill it up with bespoke storage. You might be surprised with the results!
If your property contains enough space to build on, you could make a huge boost to its value by building an extension. Just be warned: these projects can quickly become overly complicated, especially if you try to make changes to your plans once the work has already begun in earnest. A cheaper alternative is to add a conservatory to your home. When done right, this kind of project can beautify your living space and let you take advantage of healthy (and free) natural light. Conservatory-kitchen extensions are particularly popular, as they provide an excellent cure for cramped and claustrophobic kitchen areas. For anything larger, make sure that you get an architectural designer involved, as their experience will allow you to avoid some dangerously costly mistakes.