How to add value to your home

If you love your home or where you live, but hope to one day sell your house for more than you paid, it could be a good idea to add value to your home.

Adding value to your home can improve your quality of life in the short term, but it could also increase the sale price of your house when you eventually sell up.

How to add value to your home

The simple way to add value to your home is to extend or improve your home without spending too much money.

In general, if you're trying to add value to your home, always ask yourself this question: will the value of my house go up by more than the cost of the improvement?

There are many different ways of adding value to your home. Some are cheap and easy, like repainting your kitchen units. Others are more complex and expensive, like building an extension.

If you're not planning on moving out any time soon, you should also think about what home improvements would boost your quality of life the most. An extension might increase your house price the most, but a new kitchen might be the thing that really makes you happy.

A common way to fund a big home extension is by remortgaging and borrowing more money.

Check the current value of your home

First things first: use a website like Zoopla or Rightmove to get an estimate of your house's current value. Or get a local estate agent to give you a valuation.

Check the value of other properties on your street

Before you start increasing the value of your home, you should first check the maximum price of houses in your area.

Depending on where you live, there will usually be a "ceiling" on how much properties cost. For example, if a 2 bed flat usually costs £250,000 on your street, it probably is not worth boosting the value of your 2 bed flat much beyond £250,000.

You also need to think about who might buy your house in the future. Before you put an extra bedroom on your 2 bed flat, ask yourself: would someone buy a 3 bed flat in this area? Or are they looking at buying in another area?

Check if you can get planning permission in your area

Finally, before you embark on adding value to your home, you should check to see whether home extensions or remodelling is allowed in your area.

If you live in an old house, check if it's Grade II or Grade I listed.

If you live in a historically interesting or very attractive part of the country, check if you're in a Conservation Area, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Park, or World Heritage Site. You may still be able to do work on your home, but the application process will be more difficult.

If you live in a flat, you will almost certainly have to apply for planning permission with your local council before you can do any work.

If you have a detached or semi detached house, you may be able to build a small rear or side extension or attic extension without planning permission. Larger extensions still require planning permission from your local planning authority (LPA).

Planning permission is a fickle thing, and the likelihood of being approved depends on a number of factors. If the council finds out you went ahead and built after a refusal, you will be served an “enforcement notice” ordering you to reverse any changes you made immediately. You can always appeal the LPA’s decision, but it can be a long and arduous process.

How long does planning permission take?

Generally, applying for and getting planning permission for an extension should not take longer than 8 weeks.

What improvements add the most value to my home?

Adding extra rooms, like a loft or basement conversion, or a large rear or side conversion, is usually the best way to add value to your home.

It's impossible to give you the exact cost of building an extension. But here's a rough estimate. For a single storey 100 square foot (about 9 square meters) extension on the back of your house, expect to spend between £10,000 and £20,000.

A conservatory would be on the cheaper end, while a fancy kitchen would be more expensive. And the building work will usually cost more in big cities like London.

You can fund an extension through savings, or you could remortgage and borrow more money if you have equity in your home.

How much value does a new kitchen add?

On average, a new kitchen can add around 6% to the value of your home.

It really depends on two things, though. How bad is your kitchen currently? And how much are you planning to spend on that new kitchen?

A bad kitchen is one of the biggest turnoffs for prospective buyers. But you also don't want to spend £20,000 on a new kitchen if it will only add £10,000 to your home's value.

How much value does an extension add?

For a 3 bed house, an extension can add up to 23% to your property value, according to research by Nationwide.

In general, to work out how much value an extension will add, look at the price per square foot for properties in your area. In London, where house prices are £500 per square foot or more, adding a 100 square foot extension could add £50,000 to the value of your home.

But like we mentioned earlier, beware of the price ceiling on your street.

How much value does a garage add?

Research has shown that building a garage could add up to 5% to your home's value.

This depends on where your property is located, however, and what your current parking situation is like.

Off street parking is definitely a desirable feature for homebuyers, but it really depends on whether it makes sense for your property.

How much value does a driveway add?

Adding a driveway outside your house can add between 5% and 10% to its value, especially if it has space for multiple cars.

But like adding a garage, it really depends on the area, your property and the current parking situation.

Off street parking is certainly a plus, but is that what buyers in your area want? Or would they prefer a nice front garden?

How can I increase the value of my home on a budget?

If extending your property or putting in a new kitchen are not on the table, there are still a number of things you can do to increase the value of your home.

Plus, most of these ideas will make your house nicer to live in while you're there, too. Win win!

1. Makeover your kitchen and bathrooms

The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home. Potential home buyers make a beeline for this room when they first view a a property, so make sure your kitchen looks clean and up to date.

If you cannot afford a whole new kitchen, make small changes instead. You can replace the kitchen sink and taps, change cabinet doors and handles and install spotlights to really lift the room.

Change old appliances and, if you can, get ones that match. Getting your kitchen in full working order and looking fresh is not only great for you in the short term, but good for prospective buyers further down the line.

The same goes for your bathroom. A tired looking bathroom with old grouting and a leaky tap can be very off-putting to future buyers, not to mention visitors to your humble abode!

You do not have to change the whole bathroom suite, but can instead buy a new the toilet seat, taps and shower unit. Having a glass screen instead of a shower curtain can open out a small space and make it appear larger.

2. Remodel the inside

Though you may not be able to extend your property, you can still change the internal layout. You may still have to check with your local planning authority for more extensive changes.

Knocking down walls, particularly between the kitchen and living room to make an open plan living area could add huge amounts of value to your home.

If you are unsure if a wall you want to knock down is load bearing or not, you should engage an architect or structural engineer. Knocking down a load bearing wall without proper measures in place could quite literally make your house fall down.

A remodel may not require you to wield a sledgehammer. You could in fact simply fit added storage to alcoves and other awkward spaces that would otherwise go unused. Fitted storage that works with the property is a real plus, especially in city flats where space is at a premium.

Plus, it will make your home more functional for you while you’re living there and make it look more customised to potential buyers when you’re ready to sell.

Carpeting is another detail that can quickly update a home and make it look cleaner. A professional carpet clean is relatively inexpensive but can give a room a huge facelift, especially if your rugs are in good shape and a neutral shade.

3. Up the kerb appeal

Get yourself a new door lock, or better yet, a whole new front door. Especially if yours is looking tired and has a lot of gaps that let in a draught.

The same goes for windows. More often than not, buyers want a property that is already fully double glazed because replacing windows is expensive.

That said, double glazing could massively improve your daily life. It will reduce outside noise and do a better job at keeping the heat in…which means lower heating bills.

In fact, savvy buyers will often check the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating before they buy, so if you can get yours from an E to an A with better windows, you could further boost your property’s value.

If you cannot afford new windows, you could sand and repaint wooden frames and be sure to properly seal any gaps.

Although it sounds obvious, a nicely mowed lawn, a few well-placed shrubs and a swept driveway make a great first impression.

If you do not have a green thumb, consider hiring a gardener to help and plant low maintenance, evergreen shrubs.

4. Convert your cellar, loft or garage into living space

Done right, this could increase your home's value by 15 to 30%.

This isn't the cheapest way of increasing the value of your home, but it is definitely one of the most cost effective.

If you can gradually convert some of your current unliveable space into a room that buyers can see themselves using, you can dramatically add to the value of your home.

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Last updated: 15 August, 2019

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