“[O]wning a home is not, in itself, going to earn you enough money to move up to the next price bracket, to the next rung on the property ladder. You can’t just sit back and wait for your house to make you enough money to move on. You are going to have to take active steps to create that extra value for yourself.”
Phil Spencer, Property Expert & TV Presenter
Just 10% of under 35s on decent incomes will have the ability to join the property ladder in the next ten years, as home ownership becomes increasingly exclusive and expensive. As a housing gridlock ensues, more people are choosing to improve upon their current residence. Just under 20% of homeowners have earned a profit of £25,000-50,000 over the combined cost of buying and renovating. Below are a range of tips on how to increase the value of your home, listed from low to high in terms of the property funds you might have at your disposal.
Rejuvenate Before You Renovate
If you are short on property funds and time, you can try these simple and visually enhancing tips. Firstly, cleanliness is key. Give your garden a refresh by trimming the lawn and shaping the hedges which will greatly increase your curb appeal.
Internally, rearranging furniture, decluttering and installing a large mirror can double the size of a room, visually. Although the kitchen is the beating heart of a home, it is recommended that you do this with your hallway, the first room a buyer will see. Decluttering also means more storage space, which is a real selling point.
Invite an Outsider Inside
Invite an estate agent or property expert to inspect your home with you. Some will offer a consultation for free, or you can pay a designer to suggest several improvements that you can perform yourself. Hourly fees start from as little as £50. Minor improvements they point out such as a lick of paint or rearranging the room can make a vast difference.
It may also be beneficial to hire someone to inspect areas you struggle to see, to pinpoint hidden issues such as a water leak. Minor problems can worsen exponentially the longer you leave them.
Back to Basics
Continuing on the theme of simplicity, freshly painted walls in neutral colours are highly appealing, and look clean and fresh. Updating your garden with stunning greenery adds curb appeal, but focus on plant species that are native to the area as they require less maintenance. A water filtration system in your kitchen lowers shopping bills, purifies the water you drink, and is relatively inexpensive. Performing simple DIY to windows, floorboards, and other features will give your property the edge. Extensions will be discussed later, but simply securing planning permission for one without doing any construction makes a property more desirable, as potential buyers have less doubt and see more potential in their property investment.
Handle the Heat
Central heating is important for home buyers, and the value it adds to your property in most cases outweighs the cost. In addition, it is important to seal drafts, insulate your loft, and install double glazing. Eco-Homes are on the rise in the world of property investment, partly down to their expert energy efficient design.
You can start by asking your utility company to provide an energy audit of your house. Some will do it for free, and it can help you minimise energy costs.
Curb the Car
Convert your front garden into a parking space, adding £5,000-50,000 to the value of your home. You would definitely need planning permission from your local council, and it would mean sacrificing the front garden. Consider whether buyers prefer a low maintenance drive over a garden that requires effort.
Garages in Britain are wasted, with only 22% of motorists housing their car there. In the past 20 years, 3.9 million garages have been converted into living spaces, such as workshops or an extension to another room.
Whether it is growing children and their inundating collection of toys, or you are in need of an office space, an extension is a viable option, especially in London where the demand for your home is sky high. If you are able to extend, “it is often sensible to do so from a financial point of view” claims Keith Gorny, director at Marsh & Parsons estate agents. The cost of building is usually between £1000-£1600 per square metre excluding VAT and additional costs, and you may need to obtain planning permission. Check Planning Portal to see what you can do without planning permission.
If you want an extra bedroom or bathroom, a loft is a good place to build, and is not too disruptive, as most of the work is performed externally. GE Money reports that a loft conversion adds an average of 12.5% to the property value. Building underground will give you fantastic space long-term, but is the most expensive extension type, and may mean you have to live elsewhere for several months.
There are a vast array of ideas that could add value to your home, from knocking on a property expert’s door all the way to knocking down a wall and expanding. In any case, it is important to make any updates consistent with the design of the property. As well as consistency with the design, your property must be consistent with the rest of the street. If an update increases the value of your house well above those surrounding it, it will be a hard sell, and unlikely to be a worthwhile investment. There are always opportunities for growth, but there is a ceiling for everything.