Home Finance How can you add value to your home?

How can you add value to your home?

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If you’re a property owner, there’s little doubt that your home is your most prized asset.

While your home is your solace and your happy place, it’s also an investment – which is why adding value where you can is important, especially if you plan to sell in the near future.

Whilst it’s true that properties generally increase in value over time (and in fact average UK house prices rose a considerable 10% between 2020 and 2021), if you want to squeeze every last drop of gain from your most beloved financial asset, making a few home improvements certainly won’t hurt.

But hold on, before you dig out your toolbox or get your hands on a sledgehammer, make sure that what you’re planning to do won’t actually decrease the value of your home.

To guide you through the process and make sure your home improvements actually add value to your property, we’re going to share a few top renovation tips below.

Let’s get started.

Adding value to your home: the pitfalls

First of all, let’s look at the pitfalls – or don’ts – of adding value to your home. Whether you’re making tweaks or major changes to your property, it’s easy to invest in something that will offer little return or actually devalues your home in the eyes of prospective buyers.

To ensure that your efforts actually increase your home’s value, here are four pitfalls you should avoid at all costs:

Investing more than your property’s resale value

When you set out to improve your home, you’ll probably want to reach for the sky which is totally understandable. But, if the average house price for your area is, say, £190,000 and you invest in a grand extension that costs a considerable sum, you could be selling yourself short when it comes to resale value.

Your house, as it stands, might technically be worth £300,000 but because the rest of the properties on your street cap at £250,000, it’s unlikely you’ll get a return on your investment. If it is your forever home and the changes are all to improve your own lifestyle, fair enough. But it pays to keep the sold price of similar properties in the area in mind when budgeting for your renovations just in case you ever do decide to sell.

Getting new furniture

If you want to get new furniture because it will make your living space more comfortable and you like the look of it, that’s great. But it’s worth knowing that brand new furniture adds zero value to the property itself. Buyers are aware that when it comes to what is included with the sale, if you could turn the house upside down and shake it, anything that isn’t still attached won’t be staying!

The golden rule here? Buy furniture for yourself but don’t do it to add value to your home. It could even have the opposite effect if it isn’t to the personal taste of your prospective buyers and makes the living space look smaller or more cluttered.

Dressing the room with small decorative touches or putting out brand new, matching towels and bathmats in a bathroom or plants in the living area can have a big impact at a small cost but save the substantial investments on items like a new sofa or dining set for your new home.

Shoddy workmanship

Another key mistake homeowners make when trying to add value to their home is investing in tradespeople that do poor or shoddy work or trying to save money with a DIY approach.

Poorly plastered walls, dodgy electrics or an ugly extension are likely to put potential buyers off while actually decreasing the value of your home. Plus, if the work is of a really low standard, this will be flagged in your buyer’s survey, which will cost you even more money to fix or prompt a lower offer.

Take the time to find a recommended tradesperson at the right price and be prepared to be patient. If they are booked up quite far in advance, this is usually a reliable indication of good workmanship!

Removing period features

If you have them, keep them!

If buyers have come to view a period property, they will want to see period features and taking out showpieces like fireplaces, wooden beams and traditional moldings can reduce the value of your home by a whopping 10%. Feel free to pull up that original 70s psychedelic shag carpet though!

Adding value to your home: top tips

Now that you know what to avoid, let’s look at what you can do to add value to your home. Check out these top tips and get your toolkit at the ready.

Focus on kerb appeal

If there is a distinct lack of kerb appeal, buyers can be put off from a property purchase before they even step through the front door. For a relatively small fee, refreshing exterior paintwork, clearing guttering, tidying up the front garden and cleaning the front door and windows can have a huge impact and add 2-3% in value.

Convert your garage into usable living space

If you have a garage and you only use it to store a few odd items here and there, converting it into a functional living space, bedroom or office is a relatively straightforward task that can increase your home’s value by up to 15%.

Before you commence any work, it’s important that you seek the appropriate planning permission from your local authority and ensure that the garage is structurally sound, but this can be a much more straightforward and cost-effective conversion than going into the basement or loft.

Upgrade your bathroom

If you’re savvy, upgrading your bathroom is relatively cost-effective and it can add around 5% to the total value of your home.

Some bathroom renovations can prove costly, but if you avoid moving any sanitaryware and shop the seasonal sales, you will come out on top. Also, if you’re looking to install a new shower, an exposed unit rather than a concealed model will cost less because it involves less plumbing work. Even just a retile or regrout and installing new shower seals can have a big impact.

Time and time again buyers have confirmed that it is the bathroom and kitchen that really sell a house and they will be keen not to have to replace a bathroom straight away if they are at the top of their buying budget.

Turn your house into separate apartments

This is a big undertaking, but if you’re up for the challenge and you have the budget, transforming your house into flats will offer an excellent return on investment, particularly if you plan to move into the buy to let arena.

In urban areas where space is at a premium, a conversion like this can add around 30% in value to your property. And, while you’re waiting to sell, you can earn extra money from rental income.