24 February, 2016
When you own, rather than rent, a property you have the freedom to do whatever you want to it. It's pretty exciting, isn't it? You can shape this building into the home of your dreams; one that meets all of your family's needs now and for years to come. Unfortunately, none of us are made of money, and the changes we commit to must make financial sense.
The best way to look at this is by considering how big an impact a project will have on your home's value; when the time comes to sell up, how much of the outlay will you get back?
In this article, we look at some of the more common home improvement jobs, and consider whether they're worth the initial spend.
A loft conversion
Talk about home improvement and loft conversions will likely be among the first things to come to mind. Having a storage space for boxes of old bits and pieces is one thing, but it's even more useful if you can add a habitable room to your property.
According to a survey carried out by Move with US, it's also one of the most valuable upgrades, adding around seven per cent to a home's worth - that's an extra £17,500 on top of a £250,000 house. Depending on the size, converting your loft could cost anywhere between £15,000 and £40,000. You might not get all of it back, then, but bear in mind you'll be benefitting from that added space for the rest of your time in the property.
An extra bedroom
The only thing more valuable than a loft conversion, if you go by the survey's results, is an extra bedroom - with an average added value of 8.8 per cent. So, if you can tick both off in one go, you should be able to expect an even better return.
If you don't have a loft to work with, adjoining garages can make pretty handy extra bedrooms. Otherwise, it may be a case of building a full-on extension, which will cost between £20,000 and £35,000, again depending on the size.
A new kitchen
Installing a new kitchen is something a lot of people do without even considering their home's value - it's often just a necessary upgrade. Doing so can, however, increase the price by around six per cent. With a big kitchen refurb costing, on average, £8,000, it may be a worthwhile project on some properties.
If you do choose to go down this route, there are a few tweaks you can make to maximise the return. Think about the little things that might make your kitchen extra special - in-built wine racks, integrated USB power points and hidden spotlights can all make a big difference in buyers' minds. They're also pretty handy for you!
Building a conservatory is a great way to add extra floor space to your property without spending too much money. You also have plenty of choice as to what you do with it - there are countless different styles available, and they serve a fair few purposes.
Cost-wise, you can expect to pay between £10,000 and £15,000 for a standard extension, although the sky really is the limit, and the more you spend, the more impressive it'll be. In terms of added value, it'll likely offer 5-10 per cent, but you'll need to build carefully if you're to maximise this.
Think about the direction in which the conservatory would face; those pointing south will get more sun but you'll need to consider ventilation. If it's north-facing, heating will be required. Also, make sure the style you pick matches the rest of the property - you don't want it to look like an ill-thought-out extension that's just been plonked on.
Lastly, don't let it take over your garden. Having some outside space is a big deal for a lot of homebuyers - taking that away could cancel out the benefit of having an extra room at the back of the property.
A swimming pool
If you really fancy splashing some cash - quite literally - you could build an outdoor swimming pool. Having one of these is a dream for many people, and it'll certainly make your advert stand out. It's not necessarily the best investment, though.
While you could have a pool installed for as little as £15,000, the best ones can cost ten times that. You then have to consider the maintenance, not only for yourself but for prospective buyers - the idea of having to spend extra every month to look after it, despite only being able to use it in the summer months, might be enough to put them off altogether. That said, as a way of grabbing attention and getting people across the threshold, there are few better options.
The decision is yours
The UK's home improvement industry is massive for a reason - enhancements can make life easier for you and increase your property's value at the same time. If you decide to make big changes to your abode, just be sure to obtain the appropriate planning permission and inform your insurers!