Issues related to the economy, both present and predicted, have led homeowners to think hard about their property, its value, and future worth. One way to add value is through improvements.
What level of improvements?
Home improvements can encompass anything from simple redecoration to large-scale additions like an extension. If your building is listed or in a conservation area, you will be restricted in what you can do and how it can be done. If you are in any doubt whatsoever about anything related to these issues, speak to your local council.
Adding raw square footage to your property can significantly increase its value. There are three basic ways to achieve this:
- create new space by adding an extension
- a loft conversion
- utilize the space in your cellar or basement through refitting
All will need planning permission and observance of building regulations.
The loft conversion
Loft conversions are fairly common. It is possible to get an additional room, or more and an en-suite or shower room in a loft. You will need to have a minimum of 2.1 metres clear height over half of the space above the new floor. You will also need space to install a proper staircase up to the loft conversion. A loft is directly under your property’s roof and the structure that supports it will need to be able to accommodate a conversion. This can prove costly as roof timbers may need to be moved and replaced. You will also need power and light and possibly water and waste pipes installed. A loft conversion can add 10% to 12.5% to your property’s value.
Basement and cellar conversions and refits
Cellars and basements are more common in older properties such as Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian. Homes without a basement can have one added, but the costs are high as the whole house needs to be supported, the basement dug out and lined, and everything necessary to make it a proper living space installed. Converting an existing cellar or basement is a more practical proposition. Again, ensure that you get necessary planning permission and that building regulations are complied with.
An existing cellar can be lined, a new floor or carpet laid, electrics and plumbing installed, and anything else that needs to be done to create extra living space.
Conservatories are perhaps the easiest way to add square footage to a property, but should not be considered a permanent extension. They are not fit for purpose as a bedroom or bathroom. They can create useful extra space for living and storage. Conservatories come in a variety of sizes and build options and can prove relatively cheap to add. If built poorly, a conservatory may not add anything in value and may even detract from it.
By far the most costly and dramatic of improvements is the extension. These can be one or two or more storeys and will require an architect and planning permission as well as observance of all building regulations. At their simplest extensions can add one room and a bathroom; at the other end of the scale they may add several rooms and several bathrooms. They are built using methods employed in building houses and there will be a great deal of disruption to the home. Some simple extensions use an existing garage which is converted into a room or even two with the option to build onto and above it to add another storey.
If you have the space, adding a driveway can add value. Off-road parking space is always desirable. There are a number of options, but always seek planning permission and see that building regulations are complied with.
Kerb appeal is what makes your property look good from the street. You can add it by tidying the front garden, painting or changing the front door, windows and pathways.
These can be anything from redecorating to a complete electrical rewire, new double glazed windows and doors and new central heating system. Bringing any of these up to date will add value and the whole package could add several tens of thousands of pounds to the final price of a property. Always check if you need planning or other permissions.