If you are thinking about undertaking home improvements, you might be wondering which improvements add most value to a house. If you are thinking about selling your house, maximising the value of your home can help you to move up the property ladder and move closer towards your dream home.
Getting a clear idea of what you can do to add value to your home is important. This is because some home improvements may actually lead to you being out of pocket. You might have always dreamed of installing a hot tub in your lounge or transforming your open-plan living space into a bowling alley, but it’s unlikely to do much for your property’s price tag.
It might be tempting to undertake big projects, but it is worth keeping in mind that there are many small things which you can do to improve the appeal and value of your house too.
In this post we reveal the 16 best ways of adding value to your home and provide useful information to help you decide where to invest your time and money in making home improvements.
How to Add Value to Your Home
So, now let’s get on to the steps you can take to increase the worth of your house.
1. Identify and Fix Structural Issues
Before you start focusing on nice-to-have upgrades, we recommend focusing on resolving any pressing structural issues, such as:
- Rising damp
- Subsidence and movement
- Structural cracks to walls
- Unstable chimney stack
- Rotten roof timbers and / or joists
- Missing or broken roof tiles
- Sagging or leaking roof
- Bulging walls
- Insect infestation
- Collapsed floor/slab
Sometimes these can be small costs, but there are times where they can be among the most expensive improvements to your home. Either way, fixing defects such as these is absolutely critical to adding value. Consider hiring a surveyor or qualified technical expert for an expert opinion if you’re unable to differentiate between cosmetic faults and major structural defects.
2. Install a New Heating System
Installing a new heating system can add considerable value to your home. Many old houses have old fashioned central heating systems or, perhaps, no central heating at all.
Updating the existing heating system will add more value to the property than the cost of installing it. It is also likely to improve the EPC rating of your property.
If the boiler is in reasonable working order and has sufficient capacity, you could look to add new radiators, heated towel rails or even underfloor heating to compliment the heating system.
3. Convert Your Loft
A loft conversion is another way to increase the floor space of your property, but unlike an extension, it rarely requires planning permission. Converting your loft is considered to be “permitted development”, provided it doesn’t extend or alter the roof space, or exceed other specified limits and conditions. You can find more information from Planning Portal, a joint venture between TerraQuest and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Converting your loft is likely to be a sensible investment, with Nationwide Building Society calculating that it could increase a property’s worth by around a fifth. However, a conversion is probably only worth undertaking if it expands your overall floor space.
Bear in mind that your loft conversion will necessitate the installation of a dedicated staircase, which will eat into the existing space in the rest of your house. Compliance with building regulations is vital to ensure all works meet minimum standards of design and construction as well as adhering to health and safety regulations regarding safe exit in case of emergency.
Considering on extending into your loft? Read our in-depth article on loft conversions here.
4. Convert your Cellar
Converting your cellar into a storage, or even living space, can significantly increase the value of a property, provided the build cost per square foot is less than the price per square foot of the area.
Just like a loft conversion, you can convert your cellar without planning permission. It is important to speak with your local planning officer if changes will be made to the structure of a listed building.
5. Convert your Garage
If your garage isn’t being used or is not being utilised for a necessary purpose, you could potentially convert it into a separate living space. Extra living space can add considerable value to your property and may just be the key ingredient in a potential buyer choosing your house over another similar property.
It is important to establish with your local planning authority whether you need planning permission to convert your garage. In most cases, planning permission will not be required. The garage conversion will also be subject to building regulations around its structure. To ensure compliance, it is a good idea to speak with your local council’s building control service or an approved independent inspector. They will perform checks around the key areas of the garage to ensure it is compliant with regulations.
6. Upgrade your Kitchen
Many homeowners spend a significant portion of their time at home in the kitchen, so any changes you make here are likely to have a substantial impact. Making improvements to your kitchen will boost the value of your home substantially, and an impressive kitchen can be a huge pull for buyers.
The cost of upgrading a kitchen varies considerably. The average cost of a new kitchen is likely to be around £8,000. The good news is thata new kitchen can add between 5 and 15 percent to the value of your home.
However, you can make improvements to the kitchen without needing to break the bank. For example, a new worktop, cabinet doors or floor will cost around £4,000 on average. In fact, according to a recent report by Rated People, 68% of Brits will aim to tackle a kitchen renovation with a budget of under £4,000.
Even relatively simple improvements like replacing cupboard handles or doors, or painting units can add aesthetic appeal and, potentially, value too.
Another option could be to add a side-return extension. A side return is a narrow alley that runs adjacent to the kitchen stretching to the full width of the house. You can gain valuable space and improve the overall layout of the house. You could potentially add 15% to the value of your house with a side-return extension. Usually, you will not need planning permission for a side-return extension, but you will still need to comply with building regulations.
If you would like to find out more, why not check out our article about the value kitchens add to homes?
7. Add a New Bathroom or Toilet
From lavish showers to decadent bath tubs and stylish sink units, a new bathroom can often give your house some real “wow factor”. If you ask any estate agent or interior designer what adds most value to a house, you can bet that a new bathroom will feature high on the list.
It’s important to consider the number of bedrooms per bathroom. A ratio of one bathroom to every bedroom might be theoretically ideal, but unless you’re running a bed and breakfast it’s probably not practical. What’s more, any extra bathrooms you choose to install could be taking up room that would be better used for something else.
On the flip side, if you have a three-bedroom house with only one bathroom, you should certainly consider fitting an en suite. In fact, adding an en-suite could add more than £14,000 to the value of the average London home.
Another option could be to add a downstairs toilet to the property. This will be a particularly attractive feature for young families with children as well as older buyers who may prefer to have easier access to the toilet.
Installing a downstairs toilet is a great way of transforming wasted space into something useful. If you are on a limited budget for home improvements, this could be an especially good option. The cost of installing a downstairs toilet should cost no more than £2,000, and you can add well over £20,000 to the value of your property with one.
As with so many things in the world of property, you’ll also want to consider location. An additional bathroom isn’t necessarily a license to print money; research by Direct Line Home Insurance suggests that a downstairs bathroom could even detract from the value of your home.
8. Consider a Conservatory
A well-designed conservatory can add significant value to a house. The value which a conservatory will add to a property far outweighs the cost of installing one. With effortless merging of indoors and outdoors, conservatories can be an extremely appealing feature for prospective buyers.
In most cases, a conservatory will be considered as permitted development. It is important to explore the different options for the glass to be used on the conservatory. You could choose the standard double glazing, but there are many other options too including solar control glass and self-cleaning glass. You should also consider the material of the frame, as this will influence the performance of the conservatory.
9. Build an Extension
Perhaps more so than any other improvement on this list, the value of building an extension is heavily tied to the price per square metre of your property.
An average extension will probably set you back £20,000 or more. If you live in Kensington and Chelsea – with the highest average price per square metre in all of England and Wales, at just under £18,000 – then a 25 square metre extension could add almost £450,000 to the value of your home. In contrast, for a property in Blaenau Gwent (with an average price per square metre of £775), you might just break even by building an extension. Use the Office for National Statistics’ excellent calculator to get an understanding of whether extending your home is likely to be a good investment:
If you are considering an extension, bear in mind that a single-storey build – such as expanding your kitchen or dining area – may not require planning permission, depending on where you live, whereas a two-storey extension almost certainly will. Please ensure you check with your local planning office for guidance prior to undertaking any extension.
10. Consider an Open-Plan Living Area
Open-plan living space is a highly attractive feature for many buyers. By knocking down a wall to create an open-plan kitchen and diner, you can transform your home and potentially save money on building an extension too.
It typically costs around £3,500 to hire a professional to do the necessary work to convert your home into open-plan living. But the return on those costs is excellent. You can expect open-plan living space to add at least £20,000 to the average property and very often more. In London, the value of your house could increase by up to £48,000.
Alternatively, you could build a rear or side extension to increase living space in your house.
11. Don’t Forget About Kerb Appeal and Garden Space
Kerb appeal and garden space should not be underestimated in adding value to a property.
A fresh coat of paint on cladding or even a new front door is generally the most accessible way of adding kerb appeal to a house.
Other factors to consider for improving kerb appeal:
- New windows, or repairing windows
- A new doorknob
- A house name plaque
- Repainting walls, brickwork and windows
- Repairing cracked or broken cladding
- Removing stone cladding
- Adding attractive plants to the front of the property
If you have garden space, make sure you are making the most of it. Garden improvements can add significant value to a property, and this is particularly true if you are selling in London.
A deck or patio can completely transform a garden space, offering a great entertaining space. Also, adding structures such as arbours and pergolas and lighting can add even more appeal to a garden space.
As we all know, first impressions are essential, so ensure the property has some kerb appeal. It is important to tidy and organise the garden too to present the garden in its best possible light too. Ensure that you take care of basic maintenance, such as:
- Cutting back overgrown trees and shrubs
- Cleaning up dead plants
- Repairing and feeding the lawn
- Sweeping up leaves
12. Consider a Garden Office
Garden offices are another option worth considering if you have the space and financial means. Garden offices are a major selling point and can add serious value to your home. With a massive shift of people working from home, garden offices offer an attractive space for home workers.
Lynn Fotheringham from The Independent Guide to Garden Offices advises that you can “expect to pay anything from £5,000 to £20,000 for a small garden office”. Prices for medium and larger-sized garden offices start from around £12,000.
13. Create a Parking Space
Creating a parking alongside or in-front of a property can add significant value to a property. The value of a parking space is especially high if parking is at a premium in the neighbourhood.
You may need to pave over a portion, or all of, your front garden to create a parking space. Still, ultimately, for many buyers, a drive is more appealing than a garden which they will rarely use.
According to Direct Line, a parking space can add as much as 13% to the value of your home.
14. Improve your Driveway
On the other hand, you could choose to improve your driveway. While it may be less glamorous than a revamped kitchen or a luxurious new bathroom, improving your driveway is a cost-effective means of increasing the worth of your home. After all, it’s one of the first things that a potential buyer will see on viewing your property; if the driveway is cracked, overgrown or otherwise in disrepair, they could be put off before even crossing the threshold.
Best of all, installing a new driveway will generally involve a smaller outlay than the other upgrades detailed in this article. According to the Federation of Master Builders and the HomeOwners Alliance, the work can cost a little over £2,200, but could add more than £13,000 to the value of your house.
For more information on driveways, check out our article on the value of driveways.
15. Decorate Your Property and Take Care of Defects
Whilst this is certainly not a major home improvement, decorating your property is something which should not be forgone. A fresh lick of paint, declutter and tasteful styling can add a visually pleasing touch to attract buyers.
Consider the following ideas:
- Clean windows
- Reopen fireplaces
- Upgrade lightbulbs
- Repaint throughout the house in neutral colours
- Add wooden floors
- Reopen fireplaces
- Style with attractive accessories and flowers
Also, ensure that any general maintenance jobs and defects are taken care of, such as:
- Filling-in cracks and holes
- Dripping taps
- Broken door latches
- Loose tiles
- Peeling paint
- Cracks to ceilings and other plasterwork
- Damaged or broken windows
- Mouldy patches
- Squeaking or sticking doors, windows, floors and stairs
16. Get Planning Permission
If you want to sell your house but don’t have the budget to carry out a big project, you could simply get the planning permission for the project instead. Many buyers are prepared to pay a surprisingly high premium to avoid the paperwork which might be necessary to build extensions to a property.
Those who are buying a property with the intention of making many changes to the property would be particularly interested in a property where planning permission has already been granted.
Other Improvements Which Add Value
We have already set out a number of different ways of improving the value of a house. If you are curious about other options, you could consider:
- Rewiring and replumbing old houses
- Splitting a house into flats
- Adding bifold doors for extra natural light
- Adding new windows
- Adding an extra bedroom
- Installing a fireplace
- Installing full height glazing
- Getting a new staircase
Questions on Adding Value to a Property
Here are some frequently asked questions for those thinking about how to add value to their property.
What is the Easiest Way to Add Value to your Home?
The easiest way to add value to your home in terms of cost and work involved are investing in energy-efficient home features, redecorating, making general maintenance improvements, and improving kerb appeal. Whilst these improvements might not add significant value to a property, they are inexpensive and can lead to much more interest from buyers.
Also, installing a downstairs toilet is an inexpensive home improvement which could add more than £20,000 to a property’s value according to The Home Owners Alliance.
What are the Quickest Home Improvements to Boost a Home’s Worth?
There are many home improvements which do not take long to complete and yet add significant value to a home, including:
- Removing an internal wall to create open-plan living: 7 days
- Converting a cupboard under the stairs to a downstairs toilet: 7 days
- Installing decking and other structures and lighting in back gardens: 7 days
- Kitchen improvements such as new flooring, new cabinet doors, a new worktop: 8 days
- Building a new driveway: 9 days
- Adding an ensuite bathroom to a master bedroom: 11 days
Which Home Improvements Do Not Add Value?
Unfortunately, there are many home improvements which do not add value to a property and can lead to you being out of pocket when it comes to selling.
- Extending a room and losing a bedroom
- Investing in high-end appliances
- Installing a swimming pool
- Adding a home cinema
- Putting a tennis court in the back garden
- Fitting a solar panel
It is important to keep in mind that cosmetic improvements to a house will generally not add much, if any value to a property. Remember that your taste in features and appliances might not be shared by potential buyers.
How Can I Add Value to my Home on a Budget?
Even if you cannot afford to take on a big project, you can still add value to your home on a budget.
Some of the most effective way of doing so include:
- Decorating. Decorating is inexpensive and will help to present the property in the best possible light to attract interest from buyers
- Decluttering. It is extremely important to declutter and get rid of anything unnecessary. There is not much that is more off-putting for a potential buyer than an untidy house. Getting rid of excess clutter helps buyers to imagine their own belongings in the house. Also, make sure to clean up any rubbish and litter outside the house
- Deep cleaning. Clean the house thoroughly from top to bottom and try to make it as spotless as possible. Remove scruffs, marks and any mould patches and make sure windows, windowsills and doors are clean. You might even consider hiring a professional to do a deep clean
- Keeping the period features. Buyers will pay more for a home with period features. If your home has period features, make sure they are prominent and stand out. You may even consider restoring certain period features such as period fireplaces. Do what you can to bring out the character of the property
- Improving kerb appeal. Ensure the property looks appealing from the outside. Consider adding a lick of paint to the front door or even getting a new front door
Also, as we have mentioned, getting planning permissions for extensions can add value to your house even if you do not have the budget to undertake the projects.
Are You Looking for Advice on Selling Your Home?
Chancellors is a leading estate and lettings agent with a wealth of experience in the industry. If you are thinking about making some home improvement and selling your property, we can help.
Perhaps you are wondering which home improvements would be worth considering to add value to your house, or maybe you are looking to find out more about the process of selling your house. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team today.
Correct at time of publication (20th November 2018). The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chancellors Group of Estate Agents Ltd or its subsidiaries. References to legislation, best practice and other matters with legal implications such as fees, rules and processes are included for information and editorial purposes only and are not authoritative, nor should they be interpreted as advice. When in doubt you should only take advice from an industry professional or solicitor where appropriate. E&OE.