Verity Willcocks, who writes for Rightmove.co.uk and A Place in the Sun magazine, provides her advice on the ‘don’t move, improve!’ trend in the property market. Suggesting ways in which you could invest in your home with a home improvement loan.
Do you dream about living in your ideal property? The good news is that you don’t have to up sticks to make your vision a reality – invest in some home improvements and you could transform your house into the perfect home.
Updating your property isn’t just about changing your pad to suit your lifestyle; it can also make your house more appealing to buyers when it is time to sell. What’s more, if you make the right changes, you can even add value to your property.
Recouping the cost of revamping your home
Area Director of Connells estate agency, John Waldron, says, “The basic improvements to a property which add value above their cost are central heating, double glazing, the renewal of a kitchen or bathroom and, possibly, adding in a second or an en-suite bathroom facility.”
In general, such improvements deliver twice the value of the original cost of the work, or more. For example, installing double glazing may cost £2,000, but it adds £4,000 to your house price. Or, if it’s an extra bedroom you’re after, then dividing a large room can be a cost-effective and value-adding solution, costing less than £3,000 but adding an impressive £15,000 to the value of your property.
Wet rooms to open-plan kitchens
Upgrading your house doesn’t have to mean extensive building works. For instance, installing a second bathroom – and saying goodbye to early-morning queues for the shower – could be as easy as converting your existing cloakroom or under-stairs space into a wet room. If you dream of an open-plan dining kitchen, then knocking down a single wall could transform your ground floor – but be sure to check with a structural engineer or a chartered building surveyor that it is safe to do so first.
If you simply need more internal space, then an extension could be the answer. You don’t always need planning permission for this, but there are rules and restrictions on what you can do, so be sure to check out the government’s Planning Portal,www.planningportal.gov.uk, before you call in the builders.
Add a loft and increase your living space by up to a third
A loft conversion is another option, which could increase your living space by as much as a third, and provide you with an extra bedroom and bathroom. A further advantage is that this type of conversion does not require planning permission, as long as you follow the government’s regulations – and it pays off in value terms.
“Loft conversions can prove expensive, but will pay for themselves in added value to the property” says Waldron.
Another space-adding solution could lie beyond your four walls. With the rise in working from home, one of the latest trends in home improvements is adding a study, and when there isn’t a suitable space to convert inside, installing a ready-made home office in the garden is a great solution.
When deciding how to transform your home, you should make improving your quality of life the first priority, rather than just adding value. Building a conservatory, for instance, can be an ideal way to boost your living space, while allowing you to take pleasure in your garden in all weathers, but although it will improve your enjoyment of your home, it won’t necessarily repay the cost of building it.
Finally, use common sense and only make changes that suit your property. For instance, installing a huge swimming pool or conservatory that effectively swallows your whole garden will reduce your property’s value, and put off future buyers.
Give your home the right upgrade now, and when the time comes to sell up it could be money well spent.
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