How to add value to your home

Wondering what home improvements add value to your house? Andrea Dean explains the key additions and improvements that will guarantee the best return on your investment

How to add value to your home

As well as making your property more attractive, functional and comfortable, upgrades should add as much value as possible to maximise your profit when you move. How much an individual property is worth depends on its location, size, condition, demand and supply, and although you can’t change where you live or control outside forces, there are lots of fail-safe ways to boost its value.

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Here’s how to unlock your home’s potential and achieve a top price, whenever you decide to sell.

How to add value to your home

Talk to an estate agent

Get your home valued by an estate agent who knows the local market inside out, and the features that buyers want and are prepared to pay extra for. ‘The agent will be able to give you advice on areas where you could improve to maximise value, from simple fixes to much larger projects,’ says Gavin Kirkham of Connells.

If you’re getting ready to sell soon, the maths is a simple matter of recouping your costs, but if you plan to stay put for the foreseeable future, a short-term loss on a big project could be converted into a profit over time as prices rise, as well as providing you with a home that’s far more suited to your lifestyle.

Consider your budget

‘For those looking to do up a property and then sell it on within the next few years, setting a realistic budget is incredibly important. Owners must consider the ceiling value, particularly if it is a smaller home or a new build,’ says Bruce King, Director at Cheffins.

‘Often these works can be hugely expensive and cannot guarantee a full return on investment if it has hit the top value for its location or if the buyer has paid full price for it in the first place. It is essential that people don’t overstretch themselves financially or there is a risk of losing money in the long-run.’

Remember to keep your house well-maintained

You don’t have to devote a lot of time or money to boost a property’s value and saleability. A badly maintained home will fetch a lower price than a similar one that’s been looked after, so fill holes in walls, deal with damp patches, repair cracked tiles and spruce up the garden.

NAEA Propertymark recommends paying a little extra for professional handwork, redecorating rooms in neutral shades, and refreshing the kitchen with a deep clean and repainting old cupboard doors. All rooms should also be decluttered and depersonalised so that viewers can see their condition – easier when they’re not filled with belongings – and all the space they’ll be getting for their money.

Check out our DIY section for advice,  inspiration and ideas

Extend your lease

You can add thousands of pounds to the asking price of a leasehold flat by extending the lease. The value drops rapidly once 80 years are left to run, so apply for a lease extension straight away if the clock is ticking.

By law, you’ll have the right to add 90 years to the remaining term, but might be able to negotiate a longer period. The process, which is handled by a solicitor, can take up to a year and the cost calculation is incredibly complicated, but definitely worthwhile.

Alternatively, consider buying the freehold, though you’ll need the agreement of at least half the leaseholders in the block to do so.

How much does an extra bedroom add to the value of a house?

Creating space almost always boosts value, and the most budget-friendly way to do this is to repurpose or reconfigure existing rooms and redundant areas. ‘Adding bedrooms will usually increase the sale price, especially if it’s a loft conversion or cellar conversion with an en suite bathroom,’ says Paul Keighley of Bramleys estate agency.

‘A three-storey detached house with three bedrooms could be worth around 20 per cent less than one with four bedrooms.’

It’s also worth squeezing in an en suite – perhaps in a corner of the master bedroom – and a downstairs loo, and going open plan by knocking down an internal wall between the kitchen and dining room to create more space.

Does a large kitchen add value to your home?

Some projects are slow burners, in that you won’t get your money back immediately but will be able to benefit from an uplift in price if you’re not planning a move for a number of years. As the heart of the home, a spacious, well-designed modern kitchen will have a positive effect on the selling price, so look into replacing dated units and extending to the side and back.

Building a conservatory or garden room, upgrading your heating system, reinstating period features and fitting a new roof are all projects that will more than pay for themselves, as will swapping single-glazed windows for energy-efficient double-glazed ones, which have the bonus of reducing outside noise.

What doesn’t add value to your house?

Some so-called improvements won’t add as much value as you’d expect – in fact they may have a negative effect on your property’s price.

If there’s only one bathroom, don’t take out the tub and turn it into a wetroom and, unless you have at least five bedrooms, converting two into one large suite is a no-no.

Installing a swimming pool isn’t a great idea either, as Becky Munday, founder of Munday’s estate agency explains. ‘A pool is great in theory, but in practice costs a lot to upkeep and unless you have a palatial manor or use it a lot, they often look tired and are a money pit to take out! Hot tubs are a trendy and fun addition, but don’t expect one to add value.

Feature Andrea Dean

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This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Home Style magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?