The financial crash of 2008 caused house price growth to decline for the first time in over a decade, in turn prompting many home owners to find cost-effective ways to add value to their properties. While small improvements are easy ways to add to the general appeal of a home, they are not likely to add a significant amount to its value. Instead, it’s the larger, more expensive improvements that can really make a difference to the value of a property.
Carrying out these large improvements to add value to your property depends largely on where it is situated with just about all of them requiring approval from building authorities.
Find out what paperwork and approvals you require by speaking to the planning advisor in your area before you start any project on your home. This is even more important if you live in a conservation area, or if your home is listed.
Following are some home improvement ideas that are sure to add value to your home.
Increasing the square footage – the value of your home depends a lot on the amount of space it offers, so one of the most effective ways to add value to your property is to build on an additional bedroom. This is especially appropriate for homes that have two or three bedrooms. Extensions, basement conversions, as well as loft conversions are a few options.
Loft conversion – the value of your home can be increased by about 10% to 20% with a good loft conversion. It is also more-than-likely the way to add an additional room to your house that is least disruptive.
The first thing you would need to do, is to find out if the height will meet local building regulations, by measuring the space in your loft. Normally, regulations stipulate that the minimum height should be 2.1 meters over half of the room after the new floor has been installed. You will also need to determine whether your landing will be able to accommodate the additional stairway.
Loft conversions are normally carried out pretty quickly and since most of the work happens in the loft, there is very little disruption to the rest of the household. Power might be disruption briefly because the wiring in this area must be done properly, and the water supply might also be disrupted in the event that a bathroom is added to the conversion. Noise, especially if windows are added to the loft, will also cause some disruption.
Overall costs could increase if your hot water system is altered by having to replace roof trusses and fire regulations will need to be considered as well. Insulation usually has to be moved with loft conversions so a significant amount of head space could be lost if the insulation is placed up against the roof trusses.
To avoid losing head space, the roof could be raised of course, but apart from a significant amount of disruption that it would cause, it would also be incredibly expensive. Going to the extra expense of raising a roof for a loft conversion is only worth it for extremely high-valued homes, such as those found in some regions of London.
Basement conversion – this is a costly way to add value to a home but can be worth it on high-valued houses. Basement conversions are incredibly disruptive, sometimes requiring the home occupants to move away while work is carried out. The reason for this is because the basement has to be made liveable – a project that will require tanking and digging out. You might also have to meet the rules and regulations associated with fire escapes and ventilation.
It is very important that you check whether the foundations of your home will support a basement conversion, if you are considering an improvement of this type. Costs could run into thousands, since a complete survey and an architect will have to be involved.
After planning, you will have to underpin your house. Then the basement will have to be dug out, lined, concreted and your house supported effectively all through the process. Lighting, heating and access will then have to be provided to make the area liveable. Unless there is an existing basement or your house is exceptionally valuable, this type of conversion is not really worth the effort or the expense.
Conservatory – while these additions are trendy, they don’t really add much to the value of a house. Even though you are adding another room to your home, it’s a room that is only used for a few months of the year. A conservatory should blend in perfectly and match the style of the entire house. You will need to add a custom conservatory if you have a period home, instead of the standard kit conservatory.
A conservatory can take up quite a bit of space. It can add value to the homes of some people, but for many however, it doesn’t warrant the expense. There is also the risk that, if not constructed properly, the addition can even decrease the value of a property.
Install a driveway – converting a front garden into a driveway is worth considering. Apart from reducing insurance, it also guarantees off-street parking and is also more convenient when moving things from your home to your car. A garden, although it is eye-appealing, doesn’t do much to add value to a home. A brick-paved, graveled, or concrete driveway on the other hand, will make your home worth that bit more.
Extend – extra square footage can be added to a home by extending on the side of the house, but your garden will suffer. Many people opt for extending the kitchen, especially if theirs is the small galley-type. Buyers find it more appealing when a home has a nice big kitchen. Although, the cost of a kitchen extension is pretty much the same as the amount of value it adds to your home. You could increase the value however, if you build a bedroom above the kitchen at the same time.
Another great way to add to the value of your home is to convert your existing garage. Most people use their garages for storing junk anyway, so why not convert it into an additional room for your home? You could even take it a step further and build another bedroom above. These are relatively simple conversions that can add a significant amount to the value of your home.
Replace features – sometimes replacing features can do enormous upgrades to a house. These can be things like changing single windows to double glazing, upgrading a boiler to a combi-boiler and replacing inside radiators. The same applies to electrics. Upgrade your fuse box and replace your meter with a smart meter since it will make your home Part P certified and safer. Also, reboot sockets so that they are more convenient for plugging in items without having to use an extension cord.
Small items too, can add up and make your home more appealing, making a buyer put in a good offer. The value of your property can increase by up to £10,000, by simply changing a tired front door, replacing dingy hinges, or increasing the kerb appeal of your home.