What home improvements projects create the most value?
With us all spending more time at home over the past year, you may have noticed improvements that could be made to your house or flat, to make the layout better for you, or just to freshen it up after years of neglect. Whatever your reason for undertaking any improvements, you want to be sure they will add value to your home and increase the potential resale price.
There are many different ways of achieving this, with hours and hours of TV programmes and internet videos dedicated to both design and build. But, what works for you and your house, and how can you make the most of your budget? Are you intending to increase your living space, or just improve on your existing assets?
You probably won’t want to tackle every room in your house, but picking one or two areas to really concentrate on makes a tangible difference.
The kitchen is now widely thought to be the most important room in the house, with open-plan entertaining spaces becoming highly popular. But, even if you don’t have the space or capacity to knock down walls, installing a new kitchen or just changing the cupboards can still add lots of value and create a harmonious space.
Ideal Home Magazine suggests you should ‘Try to avoid anything that’s too extreme, as there’s already a lot of activity going on in the kitchen and you don’t want it to seem even busier. And always opt for a high-quality paint to ensure a durable finish.’
Planning your kitchen improvements with home value in mind is vital. When selling your property, the kitchen is often the first room people will want to look at, so it is a good idea to choose worktops, appliances and layouts that the majority will like. The practicalities of a kitchen are just as important as the aesthetic design.
Bathrooms need to be clean and fresh, but they also want to be a relaxing space to unwind. A wet room or walk-in shower separate from a bath can add a spa feel, and a claw-footed roll top bath gives a touch of glamour. But, even just amending the tiles and colour scheme makes a big difference to how the room feels.
But ripping a whole suite out and starting afresh may also be beneficial, particularly if you want to change the layout of the room. Any new bathroom should still tick all the practical boxes, be easy to maintain, and have a bit of style too.
A loft or garage conversion doesn’t usually need planning permission, unless you are installing dormer windows, making it a cheaper and less hassle option compared to building a full extension. The extra room can be used as a bedroom – if fire regulations allow – or a home office or even a child’s playroom or cinema room. The possibilities are endless.
In terms of adding value, it is likely to be a very good investment providing it adds more accommodation than it takes away (remember you need to make room for a full staircase if converting the loft, and this will take up existing space).
Any form of extension not only means you gain space, but also gives you the opportunity to change the layout of a whole area. A single-storey extension will usually be classed as a permitted development, provided you meet certain limits and conditions. For example, it must be no more than 4m high and no wider than half the width of the original house.
Many homeowners choose aspects of their improvement projects in terms of their long-term value for the property. If you’re going to do this you need to consider that aftercare and ongoing maintenance should be a key factor. For a room like a kitchen, which is used daily and can bear the brunt of a lot of activity, it is particularly important to keep it in a good state of repair.
“Due to its natural beauty and resistance to ageing, oak worktops are a highly popular choice in kitchen redesign,” says Murat Yashar, Director at House of Worktops. “And oak worktops can look beautiful for years and years – but only when properly looked after. Therefore, you need to ask yourself whether you’re prepared to put in the work to ensure they’re kept in tip-top condition.”
Bathrooms, too, can suffer from things like mould and limescale from water damage. Keeping on top of the cleaning and using products that specifically reduce build-up helps to ensure that there are no long-lasting issues.
Before you start making any plans, it makes sense to find out what the current market value is of your property and the ceiling price for other houses on your street. This will enable you to work out how much you want to spend, without pricing yourself out of the market.