When it comes to home improvements, there are two big factors to consider when figuring out where to put your money: whether it’s something that will increase the value of the house to you and whether it’s something that will increase the value of the house to others, if and when you decide to sell your home. The most valuable home improvements are those that increase your home’s worth in fair relation to the amount you spent on them. And while the improvements that might be most worth it for you personally are subjective and hard to quantify, Remodeling magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value Report offers helpful national data on what home improvements give you the biggest bang for your buck. Here are improvements to focus on.
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Best ways to add value to your home
Convert your cellar
Transforming an existing cellar into a living or storage space can boost a property’s value by up to 30 per cent – so long as the build cost per square foot is less than the price per square foot of the area.
Converting your cellar can be one of the least complex home improvements to make as it qualifies as a ‘change of use’ for planning purposes – which means you don’t need planning permission. If you’re making structural changes to a listed building, however, you’ll need to talk to your local planning officer.
Don’t have a cellar? Dig down to add square footage to your home – bearing in mind that building a basement calls for the skills of specialists, from excavation and structural engineering to waterproofing. Get the right team on board from the start to make sure your project doesn’t generate future problems.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a project of this size or to spend more than you need, so we’ve broken the process down into manageable pieces. In part 1, of our series about adding value with a basement, we look at the rules and regulations that’ll affect your build. In part 2, we take a closer look at how to make it safe and fit for purpose.
Split a house into flats
Converting a house into flats is popular in London, where flats are in high demand and often easier to rent out. Splitting a property into separate units can therefore maximise rental income in the short term and profit on sale in the long term.
But before you begin a project, do some research to check that there’s a demand for flats in your area. If three-bedroom properties aren’t shifting, but smaller flats are, the conversion could be a good option.
Convert your garage to living space
If your garage isn’t being used to house a car, it could make sense to convert it into a living space – especially if you have parking space outside.
Your first step should be to check that your garage is suitable for conversion and whether you need planning permission. In many cases, the work involved in converting a garage will be classed as permitted development so that you won’t need planning permission, but always check with your local planning authority.
A garage conversion is always subject to building regulations to ensure it’s structurally sound. You can use your local council’s building control service or an approved independent inspector, who will make several visits during the conversion to check that key areas (such as drainage, electrics, walls and the roof) comply with regulations.
Extend the kitchen with a side-return extension
A side return is a narrow alley that runs adjacent to the kitchen in a typical terraced or semi-detached house. Extending the kitchen into the side return and to the full width of the rest of the house means you gain valuable space and can also improve the layout.
A single-storey side-return extension will usually be classed as permitted development, provided you meet certain limits and conditions. For example, it must be no more than 4m high and no wider than half the width of the original house.
You’ll still have to comply with building regulations, and work will be inspected at key stages of the build, either by the local authority building department or by an approved independent inspector. Once your extension is finished and presuming it’s deemed to comply with the regulations, you’ll be given a completion certificate.
If you’re thinking about a side-return extension, remember that you could lose windows and the light they’d bring in. Roof lights over the extension will fix this, or you could install a partially or fully glazed roof to keep the space light and airy.
Loft conversion to add a bedroom
An extra bedroom can add up to 15 per cent to the value of your home, especially if it’s a loft conversion with an en suite bathroom. Most lofts can be converted, but it’s worth getting an architect or builder to double-check before you start.
Once you start planning, you’ll need to get to grips with the types of conversions available. Options range from a roof light conversion, which needs the least amount of structural work and so is the most cost-effective, to a more expensive mansard conversion. Here, one or both slopes of the roof are replaced with a new structure with steeper sides and an almost flat roof.
Mansard conversions generally need planning permission, but the majority of loft conversions are considered permitted development. Check with your local planning authority as there are some complex rules: for example, you need to apply for planning permission if you want to extend your roof space by more than 50m3 (40m3 for terraced housing).
Increase living space with a conservatory
If you want to feel closer to nature, a fully glazed conservatory will merge indoors with outdoors. To get started, think about how you want to use the space and whether a modern or traditional style will be best for your home and lifestyle.
The biggest part of your conservatory will be the glass, so explore your options carefully. While double glazing is the minimum standard permitted by building regulations, there is a whole host of glazing options available, including solar control glass and self-cleaning glass. Again, think about which will suit your lifestyle and your home.
There are also options to consider when it comes to the frame. The material you choose will directly affect the performance of the conservatory – uPVC, timber and aluminium frames all have different qualities, so do your research and ask experts for advice.
Adding a conservatory to your house is considered to be permitted development provided you meet various limits and conditions, but don’t forget that building regulations are a separate matter. The majority of conservatories are exempt, but there are circumstances when you need to make an application. For example, if you want to remove the doors or wall linking the conservatory to your house, you’ll have to prove that your conservatory is as energy efficient as the rest of the house.
If you already have a conservatory, you can add value by adding a tiled roof. This transforms it into a room you can use all year round. Here’s how much it costs.
Apply for planning permission
If you’re thinking of buying a property and adding to its value through extensions or major improvements, check whether you’re likely to get planning permission. After all, yield calculations based on bigger square footage are worthless if you can’t get it.
Check out our Melbourne home repairs to help you to build your dream house.
Kerb and garden appeal
Garden space is limited in London, so if you’ve got it, make sure you’re making the most of it, especially when you’re planning to sell. A deck or patio can transform a garden into an entertaining space, and when designed as an additional room, a summer house can also add to the property value.
First impressions are essential, so if you’re selling, give your home some kerb appeal by with a lick of paint, a new door and shining ironmongery. Tidy up the garden by mowing the lawn and sweeping up leaves.
Get a new bathroom
A new bathroom will certainly increase the value of your property – but it can be an expensive investment. Fortunately, it’s possible to make updates on a budget.
To keep the price down, keep your existing layout. Moving sanitaryware might mean relocating soil pipes and water inlets, which will add to your costs—updating your shower enclosure? Framed enclosures tend to be cheaper than frameless models. Choose an exposed shower rather than a concealed model: these cost more to install because the pipes will need to be chased into the wall.
Similarly, wall-hung sanitaryware is generally pricier than floor-mounted versions. This is because the cisterns and brackets will need to be concealed within the walls. Save even more money by choosing a bathroom suite rather than purchasing individual pieces. And finally, keep an eye out for seasonal sales.
A mid-range bathroom remodels (think updated tile, fixtures, toilet, counters, and lighting) will get you a return of 70.1 per cent nationally. And like the kitchen, doing more doesn’t equal getting more. An upscale bathroom remodels only going to get you a 56.2 per cent return, and a new bathroom addition just 54.6 per cent.
Another of the most valuable home improvements in terms of bathroom remodels is turning your standard bathroom into a universally accessible one. This includes widening doorways for wheelchairs, putting in a walk-in shower, lowering light switches, and putting support bars near the toilet. While this might not seem like something that would be relevant for most of today’s buyers, it will be very soon. We live in an aging society. By 2050, it’s estimated that the population aged 65 and over will be more than double its population in 2012, growing from 43.1 million to 83.7 million. Small accessibility modifications will have major appeal as homeowners and buyers grow older.
Make the living area open-plan.
You can transform your home and save on the cost of an extension by knocking down the wall that separates your kitchen and living room. This can be a DIY job or one for which you’ll need to call in the professionals: it all depends on whether the wall is load-bearing. If it is, taking it down without professional help could prove disastrous.
Upscale garage door replacement
It may not be the most exciting upgrade, but replacing your current garage door with an upgraded model will yield you 98.3 per cent in recouped costs across the nation. This number increases sharply for specific areas, with 46 out of 100 markets in the Cost vs. Value Report seeing more than 100 per cent in recouped costs for this project. Now that’s money well spent.
What constitutes an upscale garage door? Today’s best garage doors are those built with durable materials like steel, wood composites, and aluminium, and that have high-performance additions like energy-saving glazing and insulation. Wood is a classic choice aesthetically, though it’s not quite as weather-resistant. If you want a wood garage door, get the best of both worlds by looking into fibreglass or wood composite, which can have the same appearance as wood without the downfalls of the material.
Manufactured stone veneer on the exterior
Another exterior home improvement that offers a strong return on your investment is enhancing the exterior of your home with manufactured stone veneer. A manufactured stone veneer isn’t stone at all—it’s a man-made composite material shaped in moulds. It has the same look like real stone, however, and is installed in the same way. It’s a great way to boost curb appeal and update an old or boring exterior. Even doing just a portion of your home (for example, the area around your front entryway) is enough to reap benefits. According to the report, the national average return on investment for manufactured stone veneer is 97.1 per cent.
Wood deck addition
Seeing a pattern here among the best home improvements? The renovations that give you the most value tend to be focused on the exterior of your home. And when it comes to your backyard deck or patio, wood is the way to go. A composite deck addition or a backyard patio won’t yield you quite as much on the return as wood will at 82.8 per cent (composite deck and patios yield an average return of 63.6 per cent and 47.6 per cent, respectively).
Remodelling recommends sticking with a 16-foot x 20-foot wood deck addition, though the right size for your home will depend on the size of your house and your yard. You’ll want to add a railing system as well for added function and stability.
The kitchen (within reason)
The kitchen is major when it comes to the most valuable home improvements. Buyers often look here first when determining whether a home is worth its asking price since most people want an upgraded kitchen without having to pay a ton of money to get it after purchasing a house. There is a range of valuable home improvements you can make in the kitchen to fit your particular budget and objectives, from putting in energy-efficient, stainless steel appliances to painting cabinets and installing new countertops.
Interestingly, you don’t have to spend big in the kitchen to get a big return. A minor kitchen will recoup about 81 per cent of its cost in average resale value, while a major upscale kitchen will recoup only about 53.5 per cent of its cost. The most valuable home improvements in a minor kitchen remodel modernising the cabinets and countertops, upgrading to brand new appliances, updating the sink and faucet, and updating the flooring.
Siding and vinyl window replacements
Old, damaged, or deteriorating siding can seriously date the look of your house, and not in a charming way. Fortunately, updating your siding is a valuable renovation, bringing in a cost recuperation of 76.7 per cent based on a purchase of 1,250 square feet of siding. Just make sure not to neglect the trim, since it’s an important factor in making your siding upgrade look its best.
And while you’re at it, why not complement upgraded siding with upgraded windows? Low-energy vinyl window replacements provide a pretty similar return to the siding at 74.3 per cent and will help make sure that your new siding doesn’t clash with dated windows.
Easy Ways to Update Interiors
Just by decluttering, adding a lick of paint and careful styling, it is possible to add 5–10% to the value of a property.
Valuers may find it hard to place a figure on the increase in value made by only cosmetic improvements. Still, the market will always place a premium on an attractively decorated and styled property.
Simple ideas that will make a difference include:
- adding wooden floors
- repainting throughout in neutral shades
- reopening fireplaces
- upgrading lightbulbs
- cleaning windows
- a makeover to kitchen and bathrooms
- sanding floorboards
- creating storage
- stripping woodwork
- styling with furniture, lamps, accessories and flowers
We have an extensive range of home repairs Melbourne services at Hitch Property Constructions.
How to Add Value to Your Home — Quick Updates
- Paint exterior woodwork
- Repair windows and doors as well as old rainwater goods
- Update old-fashioned sanitaryware
- Paint old kitchen units and consider a new worktop
- Tidy and organise the garden space
- Repair, paint or re-carpet stairs and broken balustrades
- Board or convert the loft into useable space
- Add new light fittings
- Add roof lights, light pipes or a roof lantern to draw in extra natural light
- Increase the connection to outside spaces through the introduction of folding or sliding doors
- Re-grout tiles
- Add storage
- Change the front door
- Repaint rooms
- Replace old floorings, such as threadbare carpets or chipped tiles
- Tackle damp issues
Hire a professional organiser for a day. They will show you how to organise various rooms in your home and teach you tricks for keeping it organised. How does this increase your home’s value? Simple — a clutter-free home appears cleaner and larger, which is more attractive to homebuyers and therefore more valuable.
If knocking down an internal wall isn’t an option, you could consider a rear or side extension. Although this can be costly and time-consuming, it’ll give you exactly the space you want as well as adding potential value to your home.