Whether you’re looking to breathe new life into your own home, make it more attractive to tenants or add more value to sell and move up the property ladder, there are a number of ways in which you can improve your home to maximise its price tag.
According to Zoopla, 42 per cent of UK residents are planning to carry out home improvements in the next six months in the hope of increasing their home’s value. So in an increasingly competitive market, what are the top ten things you can do to add value to your property?
As experts in the buy-to-let mortgage market, Landbay’s in-house team of underwriters have access to extensive property valuation data from a variety of sources and a network of RICS qualified surveyors. Working closely with our network of Surveyors, these are the improvements they have found that add the most value to a property and will help you make the most of your money and your home.
- Put in central heating It may seem obvious, but fitting central heating to a property that doesn't already have it will greatly increase its value and appeal to buyers. It’s considered essential and buyers could try and offer less money if they need to get it installed. If it’s not already there it’s an invaluable addition to a house.
- Get planning permission According to the RICS, “When it comes to adding significant value to your home, increasing the square footage of your property is nearly always a money spinner.” If you don’t have the money upfront to build an extension or a conversion you can add value to your home purely by having secured permission to do so. The cost of planning permission varies based on the scale of the application, however by having permission you’ll elevate your property into a higher league and can help remove an element of doubt from a buyer’s mind if they know the council have already said yes to expansion.
- Extend up and down The easiest way to add extra square footage to a house is to extend up into the attic or down into the basement. The key thing is to make sure that access to the loft is easy and that the conversion is in keeping with the rest of the house, rather than looking bolted on to the roof. Spend around £20,000 to add a loft conversion and, according to RICS, you could “increase the value of your home by as much as 25%, particularly if you are adding an extra bedroom and a bathroom.” According to RICS, installing a basement could make you around £4,000 when it comes to sell.
- Add a conservatory Extending a home’s living space is always going to add value, however the danger is that your conservatory will end up looking like something just cheaply bolted on and devalue the house’s aesthetic. Make sure a conservatory is in keeping with the style of the rest of the house. Data from RICS shows that a well-designed conservatory that extends the total area of the kitchen, living or dining room can add up to 5% to the valuation of your home.
- Fit double glazing Estate agents insist that double-glazed windows or fitting secondary glazing inside existing windows will add value while making a home more 'sellable'. However, buyers of period homes want wooden window frames, so don't put plastic in or they'll start discounting the price, not to mention plastic is not permitted in conservation areas. Whilst it’s difficult to estimate the exact value double glazing will add, it’s a must for many buyers and your house faces being discounted without it.
- Be energy efficient Former President of RICS, Martin J Brühl, stated that “Energy efficient buildings can generate higher investment yields. Green buildings attract a premium, they diminish risks for investors and they offer occupiers greater certainty about running costs.” According to the Department of Energy and Climate change (DECC), installing certain energy efficient devices could add more than £16,000 to the value of a home. Not only that, but going green helps to reduce fuel costs, saving you money in the process, and there are also grants available so you don’t have to pay for everything out of your own pocket.
- Add a bathroom Adding a second bathroom can free up the demand placed on one and make your home more much more valuable to buyers, particularly if you add it to the master bedroom. Think carefully about the best way to do this in your home, so you don’t minimise the appeal of other rooms. If the bedroom is large enough, you can take a slice of it for your en-suite. In other homes you may have space on landing areas or room in another bedroom. A well designed en-suite can be added for less than £10,000 and can between 5-9% in value.
- Convert the garage Around 90% of all garages in the UK don’t contain a car, which is a waste of potential living space. Assuming that you still have off-road parking, converting the garage won’t put buyers off and it can increase a property’s square footage considerably, adding significant value too. If your garage is attached to the house, you can spend between £10,000 and £20,000 converting it into another room, which will give you enough budget to ensure that it no longer looks like a converted garage. From a square footage perspective the more you can add the better, with the RICS stating that in-creasing space within a house can “add up to 12% of a home’s market value.”
- Roof maintenance If a buyer thinks that they are going to have to fix the roof of a house, then it is likely they will try to push you down on price. You can help avoid this by keeping your roof maintained to ensure there are no leaks, it is insulated and in good condition.
- A kitchen upgrade The kitchen has become where most people spend the majority of their time at home, therefore it needs to serve as a multi-functional space for eating and entertaining. You don’t have to fit a bespoke, handmade kitchen as simple and cost effective improvements can be made through ergonomic design and integrated appliances.
When upgrading or revamping a kitchen for a sale, remember to fit a kitchen that is in keeping with your house from a budget point of view. Adding a £20k kitchen to a two-bedroom terraced house won’t provide a healthy return on your investment. And similarly, the value of a five-bedroom detached house will be diminished by a budget kitchen.
A final note: beware of the 'ceiling price'
Before you begin any upgrades to your home, it’s wise to consider your chances of recouping the value of the improvements in your home’s potential sale price. Every home has a ‘ceiling price’ based on similar properties in the area and there is likely to come a point where further improve-ments will fail to add any extra value, so it’s worth conducting some research to understand your home’s particular threshold. If you live in an area where the average house is worth £250,000 and upgrade it to sell at £400,000, you’re highly unlikely to sell it for that price, especially if similar homes are available. Begin researching your home’s potential ceiling price on websites like Zoopla to assess the current value of homes in the local area, based on similarities such as bedroom number and square footage.
Landbay Partners Ltd will provide a short term buy-to-let (BTL) loan aimed at experienced landlords, who require a short term borrowing facility to carry out refurbishment works in order to improve a property to a suitable state to rent and/or to improve its rental value.
Landbay is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under Interim Permission (Firm no. 661952). Landbay is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Your capital is at risk.