If you love your property now but know that one day you’ll need to sell it, you could maximise its day-to-day value for yourself in the short term while boosting its value in the long term for when you come to sell.
Before you make any major changes, check how much your property is currently worth using a free online tool or ask a few estate agents to visit your home and estimate its value.
This will help you determine the value per square metre and therefore determine the potential return on an extension more accurately.
What yields the biggest profit will usually be addition of extra rooms, like a loft or basement conversion, or a large extension. But there are also other, cheaper ways to increase your property’s value and your quality of life while living there.
If lack of space is your major issue with the property, apply to the local planning authority (LPA) to see if you can extend it. To get your hands on the cash to make these changes, you could remortgage your home and release some of the equity.
Planning permission is a fickle thing, and the likelihood of being approved depends on a number of factors – but you categorically cannot build without it. 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 to cheaply boost your property value without extending
If you are unable to make your property bigger because you did not get the planning permission or you perhaps live in a flat that can’t be extended, there are still a number of things you can do to adapt it to your needs and boost its value at the same time:
- Fix current issues
- Makeover the kitchen and bathrooms
- Remodel the inside
- Increase kerb appeal
1. Fix current issues
Here we mean structural problems like subsidence, rising damp and cracks as well as old wiring, plumbing and central heating.
These fixes are potentially expensive but entirely necessary if you want to get the most out of your property and make selling it on far easier.
Considering how many electrical devices we use these days, just adding a few plug sockets here and there will help improve efficiency and get rid of unsightly extension leads.
Annoyingly, the majority of these changes will be hidden behind walls so it may be difficult for you to see their real value, but try to think of them as fundamentally essential – both for your comfort and safety, and to bolster its overall value when you come to sell.
2. 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.
3. 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 LPA 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.
4. 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.
Now read: Should you do up your home or move?
How to (not so cheaply) boost your property value by extending
If you have the budget, space and planning permission to extend your property then doing so could see your property’s value skyrocket.
Nevertheless, do not get carried away here! Spending the most money will not necessarily yield the biggest return when you come to sell. You need to be really vigilant with your budget to avoid losing money.
That said, you could improve the value of your home by anything from 3 to 30% depending on your location and which of the following to decide to do:
- Convert your cellar, loft or garage into living space. Done right, this could increase your home’s value by 15 to 30%.
- Build a conservatory. The notion of “bringing the outdoors indoors” may sound like a cliché but it may boost your property price by around 10 to 15%.
- Add a bedroom and/or a bathroom. A swanky new bathroom (or even a loo under the stairs on the ground floor) could add 3 to 5% to your property value
- Extend your kitchen. A single-storey kitchen extension usually costs within the realms of £10,000 but could dramatically increase the value of your property. Open-plan living is very desirable and buyers may be more willing to splash the cash on a house where the work has been done for them.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has created a calculator to give you an estimate on how much value an extension will add to your property. It takes into consideration your location and therefore if there is a ceiling on how much properties will sell for, and if an extension is even worth it.
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