If we’re going to toil on our homes, using our precious spare time to make them better and possibly bigger, then one thing we want to be sure of is that our efforts – all those thankless hours we’ve put in – will pay off. Of course, there’s the pay-off of making our living environments more enjoyable and relaxing to be in. But what about the other pay-off – an increase in the value of our property? This becomes even more important if we’re making improvements before selling up. So what are some of the improvements likely to make our homes more expensive on the market? Let’s take a look at just a small fraction of the myriad ways we can do this. Some are large and require an investment of time, expertise and money – others are quicker and easier. But all of them should help push up the price of your property. Britons are estimated to spend almost £30 billion a year on home improvements – it’s worthy making yours count.
- Extensions – these come in a variety of guises. In London, we can sometimes create a one-storey extension without acquiring planning permission. In the country, there’s also plenty of leeway depending on what you want to do. Upping the square footage of your home is almost always a guarantee of upping its value. You could pay, say, £20,000 and then find yourself with an increase in value of £30,000.
- Structural fixes – Dealing once and for all with things like rising damp, bowing walls, sagging roofs, damaged joists and so on will give you a much more pleasing result when an estimator comes to call. Temporary, superficial fixes won’t fool them so, even though these fixes can be expensive and disruptive, it’s worth doing them properly.
- Extra bathrooms. If you can push one more bathroom into your home, you could get a five per cent boost on its value, especially if you manage to create an en suite. It doesn’t need to be lavish or luxuriously tricked out – just comfortable and simple will do.
- Central Heating – either adding it (essential in London as much as anywhere else) or upgrading the existing system will go down well with mortgage valuers. If you’re doing an upgrade, do it in tandem with a complete overhaul of the property’s energy efficiency. Welcome upgrades can include loft insulation, sealing drafts around windows and doors and replacing damaged windows with double glazing.
- Open-plan space – Open-plan kitchen/dining rooms are widely sought. People love the feeling of space they engender compared to separate but pokey rooms. You could achieve something like this with an input of £7500 and add a possible £17,500 on to the value of your home. House-hunting men and women in London love this kind of opened-up roominess.
- Services overhaul – Plumbing and wiring can really benefit from getting the once-over by qualified personnel. Of course, finding out what needs doing is itself disruptive. Floors need lifting and so on. But if the electrics haven’t been updated in your home for a long time, you could do wonders by having the place rewired, creating extra sockets and switches too. With plumbing, ancient pipework may have become constricted with detritus, leading to poor hot/cold flow. Burst pipes become an ever-increasing risk. Better to get the lot seen to and perhaps install a pressurised plumbing system.
- Conservatories – At one time, these glass add-ons became passé and people didn’t really care one way or the other about them. Now they’re in demand once more. Just make sure it’s really built of glass – pvc/perspex versions are not well-liked and can even make a home less, not more, desirable. If your London property isn’t eligible for a conservatory, you might be able to do a side-return instead.