5 Key Ways to add Value to your Home

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Goodrich Haze Oak flooring from Woodpecker Flooring. Wood flooring can help add value to your home

Image © Woodpecker Flooring

Getting on the property ladder is a real challenge these days. The economic situation in the UK has made it particularly difficult for first-time buyers to save enough money required for a deposit. Even those lucky enough to be on the rungs now find themselves in a situation where economic uncertainty is making it increasingly difficult for them to sell their homes and to find a suitable property should they be looking to move up the ladder. This has led to many homeowners now considering improving their existing property, rather than buying a new one.

My husband and I are in this exact situation. We count ourselves extremely lucky that we were even able to get a mortgage in the first place and this is down to the very generous help my parents gave us with our deposit. We bought a small two-bed flat just before the arrival of our first daughter. Two years later, we had a second daughter and we are now acutely aware of the fact that we may need a bigger place in the next few years.

However, the housing market in our area is extremely challenging with average house prices ranging from £593,559 for a detached house to £328,845 for a terraced house and as much as £243,173 for a flat. I am obsessed with property websites and spend an inordinate amount of time trawling these portals trying to find us our next home. What has become abundantly clear is that we can’t really afford to move. All the properties that are within our budget are either in an undesirable area, provide no extra space, or need complete renovation which we would have no money to do having maxed ourselves out with the larger mortgage.

So we have started to seriously consider extending our flat to give us the extra space that we need. This would also help us to add value to our home which would put us in a better position should we ever be able to afford to move in the future. This realisation that we would be better off improving rather than moving has really got me thinking though. What are the best ways to add value to your home if you find yourself in the same position as we are in? So I’ve done some research and these are 5 key ways to add value to your home.

Undertaking a loft conversion can help add value to your home. Karen Knox of Making Spaces converted her loft with this gorgeous dormer

Image © Karen Knox of Making Spaces

Convert the Loft

A loft conversion is a really easy way to add value to your home as it reuses existing space and therefore does not usually require planning permission unless you intend to add dormer windows that face a road or you want to extend your roof space by more than 50m3 (40m3 for terraced housing). It is the easiest way to add an extra bedroom and even an extra bathroom, which will undoubtedly add to the sale price and even push your home up into the next price bracket. A bedroom generally adds somewhere between 10 and 15% to the value of your home and using the existing loft space is the most cost-effective way of doing it. A typical loft conversion costs around £500-600/m² compared to around twice this for an extension. It will generally take about 6-12 weeks to complete and will cost anywhere between £20k and £45k.

Build an extension

As we just learned, a loft conversion is about half the price of other extensions. However, unless you have a minimum headroom of 2.3m, a straightforward loft conversion won’t always be possible. In this case, other types of extension should be considered such as a side return, a glass-box extension or a conservatory. Adding an extension is a relatively easy way to add value to your home as you are basically increasing the floor space and potentially adding a whole new room.

A conservatory will generally cost somewhere between £5-£30k and can add approximately 7% to the value, while a full-blown extension can cost anywhere between £10-£30k and will add about 11%, which is a good return your investment. It is advisable to check with your local planning department whether you need permission to build. Generally, if you’re within your home’s permitted development allowance you may be exempt, although it will still have to comply with the Building Regulations.

The design of the extension is key. You want to make sure it complements the style of the rest of the house and doesn’t appear to be a separate entity just bolted on. You can ensure the space between the existing building and the extension flows seamlessly by installing the same flooring throughout the living area. This helps to lead the eye on and ensures that the extension feels part of the rest of the house.

Convert the garage

Here in the UK about 90% of garages aren’t used to house the car but are rather used as a storage solution, which is a real waste of an asset. If you have another parking space outside, an unused garage can be turned into an investment by transforming it into extra living space such as a bedroom. If the garage is attached to the house you can even build above it. Converting the garage can add as much as 10% to the value of your home.

You must make sure you get all the necessary planning permissions and building regulation sign-offs though, otherwise, you won’t be able to call it a habitable room when you do come to sell the house.

Harlech Smoked Oak wood flooring from woodpecker flooring can help to add value to your home

 Harlech Smoked Oak Wood Flooring from Woodpecker Flooring

Wood Flooring

Another way to add value to your home and to make it more attractive to potential buyers is to include a couple of statement features that will really add a wow factor to your home. These features help to set it apart from other properties on the market as well as add a significant premium to the sale price. Wood flooring is a perfect statement feature to add if you are looking to add value to your home.

If you are thinking of upgrading your flooring and are currently torn between wood flooring and carpet, it’s worth bearing in mind that it is often difficult to recoup the costs of expensive fitted carpet. It is also unlikely that the statement carpet you choose will be in keeping with your potential buyer’s ideal flooring, whereas wood flooring is far less likely to offend people.

There are also numerous benefits to installing wood flooring that potential buyers will really appreciate. It is a healthy choice for our homes because there are no fibres, no grout lines, and no embossing that can attract dust particles, pollen, animal dander, and other allergens that can often present a problem with carpets. Wood flooring, therefore, contributes to healthier indoor air quality. These same properties also make it more practical as it is easier to clean, especially if you have small children or pets.

Then there is the fact that wood flooring is a long term investment due to its durability. It is very hard wearing and can, therefore, last for generations even in areas of heavy footfall.

There is no hard and fast rule as to how much value these cosmetic changes can add to your home and valuers often find it difficult to put a figure on such improvements. However, the market always puts a premium on a well-decorated property and therefore the sale price will be correspondingly higher.

You can browse the various styles available and get free samples from the Woodpecker Flooring website.

Adding solar panels help improved eco-credentials and add value to your home

Energy Efficiency

As energy prices continue to soar in the UK, many home buyers will either be actively seeking out energy efficient homes or in the very least will be swayed by properties that offer this incentive. Adding energy efficient features to your home, such as solar panels, biomass boilers or smart home thermostats no only help you to save money on your energy bills while you live in your home but it will also be a major selling point down the line.
In a 2016 survey commissioned by Gocompare.com Mortgages, 50% of UK buyers ranked a good energy efficiency rating as one of the top 20 ‘must-have’ property features along with central heating (79%), double glazing (74%) and cavity wall insulation (47%).
According to a report published by the Department of Energy and Climate change (DECC) in 2013, making energy-saving improvements to your property could increase its value by 14 per cent on average and up to 38 per cent in some parts of England. For an average home in the country, improving its EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) from band G to E, or from band D to B, could mean adding more than £16,000 to the sale price of the property. The report indicated that that energy efficiency is now a key factor influencing the sale price of most residential dwellings in England.
For some energy efficient home improvements, there are even government grants available so that you don’t have to fund all the changes from your own pocket. Worth looking into!

So what do you think? Do you agree with these 5 key ways to add value to your home? Are there any others that you would add to this list?

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  • It’s definitely more cost effective to improve rather than move Stacey. I don’t think you’ll regret a loft conversion if that’s what you decide to do. Even if you don’t make money back on it. x

  • Sorry to hear you’re struggling with space issues – I do hope you’re able to extend your flat in some way to suit your needs. You’ve highlighted lots of good ways to add value to a home. Other ideas include a good kitchen and bathroom renovation and, if you’ve got the space, the addition of a conservatory for another extra room.

  • Some really great tips Stacey, I’d definitely agree with those five – we would love to put on an extension when we have the budget, but I think even selling it with the planning permission to do so can add value and appeal to buyers. x

  • Fascinating read Stacey and lots of really interesting ideas! I’m baffled by how hard it is to get on the property ladder to begin with (I’m still wasting money renting, wahh) but hadn’t really considered how difficult it is upsize as your family grows once you’re on..

    • It’s a real nightmare Kate. I feel so lucky we got on the ladder but we are pretty much stuck now. Unless I can find half a million pounds to buy a wreck of a house that needs a complete refurb that we won’t be able to afford to do. We may well end up doing a loft conversion instead, which we’ll never make our money back on but it might be our only option. I hope you manage to get on the ladder soon. Hopefully Manchester is more affordable than London!