Given the uncertainty of the economic outlook, a growing proportion of homeowners are opting to improve their own homes instead of seeking to upgrade by moving. When done effectively this will not only make their current property more comfortable but also add value and desirability should they opt to sell in the future. But when it comes to home improvements some are much more likely to offer better enhancements to the property value than others.
For instance, while there is plenty to be said about the merits of installing solar panels, the fact is that in coming years they are likely to be outdated and add little meaningful value. The same can be said for adopting fashionable colour patterns (avocado is all the rage at the moment) which may not add any value at all in a couple of years’ time. So when thinking about adding value to your property from home improvements it is essential to think a little into the future.
Here are some options that will in 99% of cases add serious long-term value to your property.
1) Add A Driveway
Front gardens may help make your property more attractive but the simple fact remains that few people make actual use of their front gardens so they add little in terms of real value. Driveways, however, can be extremely appealing especially in areas where parking may be tricky. Further good news is that converting a small front garden into a driveway (or adding one alongside a lawn in place of a pathway) is relatively cost-effective and should last for years. Generally speaking, gravel is the best bet, yet high-quality brickwork may look smarter and should last for many years.
Something as simple as a good driveway cannot just add cash value to your property but may even be a dealmaker when it comes to securing a sale. Never forget that people look for functionality as well as aesthetic qualities when purchasing a home.
2) Loft & Basement Conversions
Plenty of people are pleasantly surprised when they discover how straightforward loft conversions can usually be. After all, the hard work is mostly already done. Usually all that needs to be done is the installation of a suitable staircase, perhaps some amendments to insulation, and maybe a stronger floor. You could opt to raise the roof but understand that this is far more disruptive and expensive. In real terms, converting and making use of dormant loft space should not break the bank and will add approximately 10-15% on your home’s base value.
If building up is not an option, then how about improving basement spaces? While these are considerably rarer in the UK than other European countries if the option is there then it is a fantastic opportunity to extend your living space. While the work can be disruptive and you will need to pay close attention to planning regulations (often involving a visit from the local authority building officers), in many cases you will be able to extend as well as convert. Those with an unused basement should really look in this direction to add 20%+ potential value to their property. Just understand that the work can become very expensive when digging into new ground and that it is not a sensible proposition for those without a basement space already.
3) Build an Extension
Before you are tempted to add a conservatory, you ought to be aware that these add surprisingly little to the overall value of most properties. In the vast majority of cases, you are going to be better off building bricks and mortar extensions that can be properly insulated, partitioned into individual rooms, and still allow for long windows to let in natural light.
Should you choose to build an extension you ought to consider whether you want to simply add extra living space or extend existing rooms. Kitchens are ideal for an extension because they are potentially the most important room in the house when it comes to establishing market value. Plus, they tend to be at the rear of the home overlooking extendable garden space. Even a modest kitchen extension can allow for you to install an open plan kitchen format – something which always adds secondary value and makes the home much more desirable to prospective purchasers.
There are plenty of other options when it comes to adding value by building an extension. Extra bedrooms can alone add 15-20% in value providing they are well constructed, suitably heated/insulated, and ideally set apart from the main living areas. Alternatively, you may wish to extend your shared living spaces by building a reception room. Another excellent option that you can often build in more utilitarian fashion would be a brand-new garage.
Just because something may look aesthetically pleasing does not mean that it will add any serious value. Anyone intending to make their property command a higher market price should look at extending their square footage in any way possible. For most people that is going to involve a loft conversion, for those who have the capital and planning permission then they ought to think carefully about how they can extend existing spaces or whether they wish to add an entirely new annex. Either way, a well-built extension is a market-proof way of always making your property more valuable.