If you’ve got a bit of spare cash and you’re looking for a sensible way to use it, adding value to your home is always a good idea, even if you’re not currently planning on selling. You can go big, with extensions, conversions and total layout rethinks, but there’s plenty you can do on a budget as well.
Home improvements: How to add value to your home on a budget
Solve structural problems
If you’ve got the money to add value to your house, the first thing you should look at is whether there are any structural issues that need addressing. Things like subsidence
, rotten joists or roof timbers, roof damage, or damp
can all reduce the amount potential buyers would be willing to pay for the property, and so it’s worth your while to get them fixed while you can. Get a surveyor to find out if there are any structural issues that need attention – remember you’re focussing on the issues themselves, not the cosmetic damage that is usually associated with them.
Read more about what a chartered surveyor can do
While redecoration might not add thousands of pounds in value, a poorly decorated house can put off buyers and may mean the house doesn’t sell for the price it could. Things like peeling paint, loose tiles, damage to windows, doors or woodwork, and mould in the kitchen and bathroom could all make your potential buyer think twice.
If you decide to repaint, go for neutral colours – the less ‘you’ it is, the more easily your buyers will be able to picture themselves living there. Once you’ve finished this, style it up – wooden floors and clever placement of furniture, lamps, accessories and flowers can all add value to your home.
According to propertypriceadvice.co.uk, revamping the bathroom can add 3-5% onto the value of your home. This might not sound like a lot, but if you take the Land Registry’s average UK house price of £230,292 (as of June 2019), 5% is a whopping £11,514.60 added to your resale price – which is significantly more than you would spend redoing your bathroom.
Keeping the existing layout so there’s no need for replumbing, opting for floor-mounted sanitaryware (toilets, sinks etc) instead of wall-mounted versions and buying the suite as a whole instead of purchasing individual items are just some ways of doing up your bathroom on a budget. Make sure the floor and walls are clean and if you can afford it, add luxuries like a heated towel rail and invest in finishing touches, like diffusers and calming pieces of art.
Check out our article for more tips on how to sell your house by upgrading your bathroom
Little tweaks in your kitchen can go a long way, too. Declutter, ensure the kettle and toaster match, swap lightbulbs for bright LED ones and collect potted herbs and artwork that complement other colours in the kitchen, for example the tea towels. If you don’t fancy fully redecorating but have a little bit more money to spare, replacing the sink, taps, worktops, or tiles or repainting or replacing the unit doors and handles can have a big impact.
Improve kerb appeal
According to a recent study by OnePoll.com on behalf of Foxton’s, it can take just eight minutes for househunters to know if they want to buy a property. Some people will make up their mind about a property the moment they set foot outside their car. In short – first impressions count.
If the house is run down on the outside it can be hard to shake that feeling, no matter how immaculate it is on the inside. Repoint brickwork (the process of renewing the mortar), repaint or replace doors and window frames, replace the house name or number, and repair windows. Sweep the front path and keep wheelie bins out of sight.
Do up the garden
The best gardens have distinct areas for different activities – for example an eating area, a lawn area, and a storage area. Even if you can’t afford to redesign it, small tweaks can go far – tidy up litter and dead plants, weed, ensure the lawn is healthy, cut overgrown vegetation, and add some colour with a bit of careful planting. A good garden is a private garden, so adding tall fences and mature trees can also push up the value of your home (although be careful not to make it too shaded). And don’t forget to make sure your shed is clean and tidy. Make the garden somewhere your potential buyers would like to spend time!
It’s simple, but it works. Decluttering will make the interior look bigger. When you’re tidying in preparation for house viewings, consider everything you come across and whether you really need it. Read our tips on how to purge your possessions
Check out our advice on how to sell your house
for more advice on preparing your home for viewings.
Apply for planning permission
According to propertypriceadvice.co.uk, applying for planning permission
for potential alterations can add up to 10% onto the value of your property. Buyers like to know what they can and can’t do to a house, so if you’ve already got planning permission for an extension or extensive remodel then it could add thousands to your property without you even doing the building work.
What about bigger alterations?
Improving the existing layout of a house is one of the best ways to add value, as it has the potential to add 5% onto the price of the property
but you don’t need to pay for an extension. Make use of circulation space like corridors and remember that fewer but larger rooms with clear sight lines will make the house feel bigger. Make sure you get an assessment from a structural engineer before starting any work, as the removal of loadbearing walls will require additional measures to ensure the property remains structurally sound.
Adding additional rooms
You could choose to add bedrooms, bathrooms or additional living spaces like a conservatory.
The value of a property is directly related to the number of bedrooms (until the so-called ‘ceiling value’ is reached, so be sure to do your research). Bear in mind that the minimum bedroom to bathroom ratio is one to three.
Adding a bathroom is also a good investment, particularly if it’s an ensuite to the master bedroom. There should be a bathroom on every floor of the house that has bedrooms.
You can create spaces for extra rooms by dividing existing space, converting the cellar or attic, or extending the property.
Converting your cellar
Converting your cellar could add a substantial amount to the value of your home – you just need to make sure the build cost per square foot is less than the price per square foot of the area! Also be aware of how much light you can get in your cellar – natural light is often limited, so can you ensure the wiring measures up and keeps the room bright and airy?
Work with professionals who have experience converting cellars – you don’t want any issues with the foundations of the property.
Converting your loft
Converting the loft or attic space is also a good investment, especially if you add in an extra bedroom, bathroom or both. There are several different types of loft conversions, ranging in price, time and what permissions you need. This is often the easiest way to add an extra bedroom and make use of space that would otherwise be wasted.
Converting your garage
You could also convert your garage into living space. The return on your investment will be even bigger if your property has additional off street parking. Although you might not need planning permission, you will need to get the building inspected to make sure it’s structurally sound and complies with regulations relating to drainage, electrics, walls and the roof. Consider how your garage connects to your property – it needs to offer a comfortable space that’s easy to get to.
Adding a conservatory
Provided it is well-built and integrated into the external specification of the house, a conservatory will usually add more value than it costs. Before you build, think carefully about which style, glass type and frame material best suite your budget, lifestyle and home. You may also want to consider where your property gets the most sun and whether you’ll need blinds to avoid creating a space that overheats.
Redoing the wiring or plumbing
Rewiring the property (especially if it hasn’t been done for years) and installing more electrical sockets (especially if they look nice) can add value to your home. Similarly, replacing the plumbing can be beneficial. Old plumbing can get furred up which can disrupt water flows, as well as creating unpleasant noises. There can also be more serious complications to an unmaintained water system, such as burst pipes.
If you decide to upgrade the plumbing or the electrics, it’s a big job that will require taking up the floors – so make sure you do it before you start decorating and tidying!
Extending the kitchen
If you don’t have any space to sacrifice, extending the kitchen is another way of getting that much-loved living space. If your house has a narrow alley running down the side of the kitchen, known as a side return, you can usually extend the house into it without seeking planning permission, provided it meets certain requirements (for example, it may need to be shorter than 4m high and cannot extend more than half the width of the original house). Just be careful, as with any extension, that you’re not sacrificing other things such as natural light.
Adding a driveway
Off-street parking can be an incredible valuable addition, even if it means losing a front garden. Just make sure you’re aware of any regulations (for example, concerning visibility) you must abide by for creating new vehicular access including dropped kerbs, especially if your house is on an A- or B-road.
Making the windows double glazed
Double glazing is now considered essential, but there are still plenty of older homes that don’t have it. If you do decide to replace the windows on your home, make sure you’re sensitive to the style of the house, especially if it’s a period property, or you could actually end up lowering the value.
Convert it into flats
This is one of the boldest things you can do, but it can also be the most profitable.
It’s possible that when you sell your house, someone could purchase it as a buy to let
If you’re looking to sell your house right away and you’re in an area where flats are in high demand, like London, splitting your house into flats would mean the potential rental income would be much higher, so buyers may be willing to pay more for it. However this is a huge undertaking, so do your research so you’re sure it will be worth the money.
If you have a lot of space, you may even want to split your property so you can retain one half and turn the other half into a flat to let out.
There are many ways of adding value to your home – you could go big with an extensive remodel, or stick to small changes like redecorating the interior or sprucing up the garden. Whatever you decide to do, make sure any modifications will be worth the time and money you put into them, and be sure to get the relevant permissions.
Maximising the value of your home is a key part of being able to move up the property ladder. Good luck!