Climbing the property ladder towards your dream home? The first step in doing so is finding out how to maximise the value of where you currently live. Once you have successfully found out the value of your property, here are 5 of the best ways to add value to it. All values mentioned below are based on statistical assessments and are not guaranteed.
1. Convert your cellar
Converting a cellar can be one of the least complex home improvements to make. This is because it qualifies as a ‘change of use’ for planning purposes – meaning that you don’t need planning permission to do it. If you’re making structural changes to a listed building, however, you’ll need to talk to your local planning officer.
Transforming an existing cellar into a living or storage space can raise a property’s value by up to 30 per cent – as long as the build cost per square foot is less than the price per square foot of the area.
2. Loft conversion to add another bedroom
Converting a loft space to make way for a new bedroom can add a potential value of 15%, more so if they include an en-suite bathroom.
Most lofts can be converted, but it’s worth getting an architect or builder to double check before you start. It is advised that you first check with your local planning authority as there are some complex rules involved. For instance, you will need to apply for planning permission if you want to extend your roof space by more than 50m3 (40m3 for terraced housing).
Once you start planning, you’ll need to get to grips with the types of conversions available. These 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.
3. Kerb and garden appeal
In bigger cities, such as London, garden space is often limited. Therefore, if you have it, make sure you’re making the most of it, especially if you’re planning to sell. Improvements to kerb and garden aesthetics have the potential to add up to 10 per cent value to a property.
First impressions are essential, so if you are 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. A deck or patio can also transform a garden into an entertaining space.
4. Increase living space with a conservatory
Adding in a fully glazed conservatory will merge indoors with outdoors, making inhabitants feel closer to nature. To begin, 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 value added to your property after such an investment could allow for an increase of up to 10 per cent.
Adding a conservatory to your house is considered to be permitted development, provided that you meet various limits and conditions. However, building regulations are a separate matter. The majority of conservatories are exempt from these regulations but there are circumstances when you will 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.
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. The material you choose for the frame 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.
5. Make the living area open-plan
By knocking down the wall that separates your kitchen and living room, you can easily save on the cost of an extension. 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 be disastrous.
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.
Updating living rooms to open-plan areas can potentially boost the value of properties to between 3 to 5 per cent.