Design Ideas, Extensions
7 July 2022
My family and I recently decided to move house. The first thing we did was invite a local agent over for a valuation.
He spent most of that time pointing out lots of ways in which we could increase the value of our home.
When he left, I felt a little deflated as there was so much to do!
If you’re wondering how to add value to your home, there are an infinite number of options.
What’s important is that you make the right changes without being out of pocket when you come to sell.
To help you make the right choices, I’ve made a list of the best 13 ways to add value to your home below.
1. Build Upwards
A loft conversion could add up to 20% to the value of your home.
If you’re looking at a house valued at £500,000, that’s an increase of up to £100,000.
Economical use of space
Loft conversions are a great idea as they make efficient use of wasted space. If your loft is like mine, it’s full of old clothes, suitcases and a few broken fans. However, with relatively minimal construction work, that space can be transformed into a stunning extra bedroom, kids’ playroom, or even a cinema room.
The second advantage is for those of you who might have slightly smaller gardens. Extensions to the side and rear of your house will take away part of your garden. Loft conversions not only create that much needed extra space but also leave your garden free for BBQs and paddling pools.
Loft Conversion Cost
This depends on the type of existing house you own and what type of loft conversion you would like. One of the most popular types of loft conversion is a hip to gable and full width rear dormer window. The average cost of this type of conversion is approx. £55,000 – £60,000. But even taking that into account it’s worth it if you’re wondering how to add value to your home.
It often costs less per square metre to convert your loft rather than build a conventional extension, as much of the structure you need is already there.
Planning Permission vs Permitted Development
Permitted Development: If you own a house, there are certain works you can carry out without the need to apply for planning permission through what are known as Permitted Development Rights. The main restriction in terms of sizes relates to the type of home you have. Terraced houses are permitted loft extensions which increase the volume by up to 40 cubic metres. Semi-detached and detached houses can increase the volume by 50 cubic metres.
Planning Permission: If you don’t meet the requirements of Permitted Development, you would need to apply for planning Permission. While that may reduce the size of your loft extension, you might have more scope to be creative with the materials you use.
2. Build Outwards
Below is a table of the most popular types of extensions and how much we estimate they could increase the value of your home.
|Type of Extension||Property Value Increase|
|Loft Conversion||20% +|
|Single Storey Extension||6 – 9%|
|Double Storey Extension||10 – 12%|
|Conservatory||5 – 7%|
|Garage Conversion||10 – 20%|
Speak to an estate agent
The best person to answer the question of ‘how to add value to your home’ is an estate agent. They will have sold lots of houses in your area and hopefully even your street. They will know what specific features potential buyers are looking for in your area:
- Do buyers want larger gardens?
- Do buyers want more bedrooms?
- Do buyers want larger living rooms/kitchens?
Once the estate agent has answered these questions, you will have a far better idea of the type of extension that will add value to your home.
Speak to a local architect
When it comes to adding value to your home, the less you spend on the extension the more money you will make if you ever come to sell. An architect can prepare a schedule of works when it comes to the construction stage. This document clearly sets out the cost of all the materials and labour required to build your extension. It’s a very good idea because it prevents costs spiralling out of control after building works begin.
Source materials yourself
The larger the extension, the more value you will add to your home. To maximise your budget, you could consider managing the project yourself. To do this, you could pay your builders a day rate and source/supply your own materials. This can save up to 40% on traditional turnkey projects from a single contractor.
3. Basement Extension
In the UK, a basement can add up to 20% to the value of your home.
Due to the complex construction method and the time involved, basements can be expensive to build. If you’re planning one for the sole purpose of adding value to your home we would suggest speaking to a local estate agent first. Every street will have a ‘ceiling value’ which is the maximum someone will pay for a house on your street regardless of size. If you already own one of the most expensive houses on the street it may be that a future buyer will not offer enough to compensate you for the basement.
Noone likes the feeling of living underground, so when it comes to basements, ask your architect to make sure they create as many lightwells as they can. The more natural light your basement has, the more it will add to the value of your home.
Access to the garden
In some cases, you might be able to create a lovely sunken terrace. This means that you’ll be able to walk straight of your basement into your garden. By creating that join between the inside and outside, you can not only create that much-needed natural light, but you can also make your basement far more usable during summer.
Build it for you rather than future buyers
In some cases, property prices aren’t high enough to recoup the money you spend on a basement. In these instances, we think it’s best to plan the space for you and your family rather than prospective buyers in the future.
4. Fix Cosmetic Problems
Fixing cosmetic problems is important when you’re wondering how to add value to your home. Often, this can be the most simple and cost-effective way to add that much-wanted value.
Common Superficial Problems
- Peeling paint
- Broken door latches
- Squeaking doors
- Dripping taps
- Loose tiles
- Broken lights
Valuers and surveyors
Each of the common superficial issues above on their own might not affect the valuer of your house. However, bear in mind that when selling your home any prospective buyer will probably arrange for their bank’s valuer or surveyor to inspect the property. In our experience, lots of small issues can collectively add up to one big issue.
Most of these relatively minor works won’t require the expertise of a builder who might charge a high fee. Before putting your house on the market, it’s worth making a list of all the small issues you find around your house. There are so many handyman services on the internet today who will be more than capable of fixing such problems.
5. Kerb appeal
Top 5 negative factors
1: Crack(s) in the outside walls
2: Damaged windows
3: A roof with missing/uneven tiling
4: A damaged front door
5: Leaky gutters
Top 5 positive factors
1: A well-maintained roof with no missing tiles
2: Double glazed windows
3: Well-maintained plants/trees
4: Freshly painted or pointed wall(s)
5: A freshly painted front door with decorative knocker
Cheap & quick improvements
Very small changes to the front of your house can significantly increase its ‘kerb appeal’. Such small jobs might include freshly painted exterior walls, clean windows, clear gutters, a tidy driveway and a freshly painted front door can boost the value of a property by up to 10%.
First impressions count, and the outside of your property is the first thing potential buyers will see, both when browsing online and in person at a viewing.
6. Upgrade your garden
Buyers in today’s market place a huge amount of emphasis on gardens when looking for the ideal home. People love spaces where their kids can play and entertain their friends. Nothing helps create a large space for entertaining like a new rear patio or decking area. Why not also add a new BBQ area, too? These small changes will certainly help increase the value of your home.
Stage your garden
While a nice new patio and decked area is helpful, it’s also important to help future buyers really visualise the space. Why not go to a garden centre any buy an outdoor dining table with chairs? Or, invest in a lovely L shaped sofa and parasol where adults can relax during those hot days. These small changes can help sell a certain lifestyle as well as the house itself.
Show off the practical side
New buyers are always looking for plenty of storage, but this doesn’t only apply to the inside of your house. People always need a usable and secure space to store things like bikes, BBQs, lawnmowers and kids’ toys.
A well-designed garden shed is the perfect addition to any large garden as it can store some of the above items. Putting them all in one place and out of view will also help declutter your garden which will certainly entice future buyers.
A house that is beautifully decorated is always a huge selling point. We also think it’s important to think the same of your garden. Including some lovely, mature plants in your garden can help your garden feel ‘complete’. If you’re planning on selling your house, we appreciate it takes a lot of time to do lots of planting. To create the same effect with less effort, why not buy some planters straight from your local garden centre? They’ll add some much needed colour to your garden which will help with viewings and you can also take them with you when you leave.
Due to people’s busy work schedules, lots of viewings take place in the evening. That sometimes makes it difficult for future owners to picture your lovely garden. This is where a well-thought lighting plan can transform that space and help future buyers really visualise the outdoor space where they will spend lots of time during summer. A great way to add value to your home is make the whole property – indoors and out – look as attractive to potential buyers as possible.
7. Rethink your layout
Open plan living areas are incredibly desirable for house-hunters, and they are a great way to make your living area and kitchen feel modern and bigger than they would as separate rooms.
First, we would suggest speaking to a builder or engineer who can check whether the walls you want to remove are load bearing. Creating an open-plan living area can increase your value by up to as much as 15% when done well. Open spaces are great for entertaining as you can accommodate more friends and family in the same space.
Unlike traditional patio doors which have rigid widths, bi-folding doors can span several metres which allows you to create a much bigger opening. They also help open up your living area into the garden and create a sensational inside-outside atmosphere which buyers will fall in love with. Most modern bi-fold doors are incredibly well insulated, helping to keep the inside of your house thermally efficient.
We all have those small areas in our home which are rarely used. Maybe it’s a space in your entrance hall or under the stairs. A great way to make efficient use of these spaces can be through bespoke storage solutions which will no doubt appeal to future buyers so worth paying a little extra for.
8. New Kitchen
A new kitchen could add up to 10% to the value of your home, so if you’re looking for how to add value to your home, this could be a great solution.
Although kitchen manufacturers are quick to tell you how much better their kitchens are than others, bear in mind that most kitchens are simply made of MDF. In terms of quality, most high street brands such as Ikea, Howdens or Benchmark are very similar. The main differences are ones of design and colours.
There are also some kitchen manufacturers who offer more bespoke joinery and materials such as solid wood. These companies tend to charge a huge amount for both the materials and fitting. Have a word with your local estate agent first to check if future buyers will pay more money for a bespoke kitchen. If not, we would suggest opting for one of the high street kitchen suppliers who offer fantastic products.
Improve your current kitchen
If your kitchen is simply looking a little tired and could do with a facelift, why not think about just replacing the doors and handles? This is a very cost-effective way to achieve the same wow factor as a new kitchen but at a fraction of the cost. Another way is simply to replace your existing worktop, which can really help transform your kitchen. New lights are relatively inexpensive, so focus on a mixture of task lighting, background lighting and accent lighting.
9. New Bathroom
How to add value to your home? A new bathroom could add up to 5%!
Plan the layout
There are an infinite number of ways you could design a bathroom. Lots of online retailers have embraced the internet and give you access to easy to use 3D design software. We’ve tried using them a few times and they’re fantastic. You simply measure your existing bathroom space to create a floor plan. Once ready you can simply drag and drop sinks, toilets, showers, storage, into the space and see how it works. The best part is that they then generate a 3D view so you can see exactly how your bathroom will look when complete.
Upgrade your shower
Showers form an important part of most bathrooms and there are a huge number of options to consider, including:
- Thermostatic mixer
- Power showers
- Rain shower heads
- Wet rooms
- Shower columns
- Screen doors
- Sliding glass doors
Don’t forget storage
Storage is an important consideration when buyers look around your house. When it comes to bathrooms, you can opt for free standing cabinets. Few bathrooms are also completely square or rectangular, meaning there are often some awkward spaces. To make more efficient use of these areas why not ask your builders’ carpenter to design a bespoke storage solution? If your bathroom is on the small side, wall shelves can be a great option to get extra storage while not taking up any floor space.
Let in light
Bathrooms are often located in the leftover space, making way for larger and brighter bedrooms. This means they often have smaller windows and less natural light. One great way to make your bathroom appear more spacious if there is limited light is to use brighter tiles.
10. Will a Garden Office Add Value?
Increased floor space
Home extensions can be disruptive and also cost a fortune. Adding a garden room is often a quick and hassle free way to add that much needed extra space to your home. Garden room extensions also offer privacy from what might be happening in the main house. They are also very flexible places as they can be used for anything! Whilst a garden room extension might not add as much value to your property as a traditional home extension or loft conversion, the amount you spend is often less than the increase in the value to your home.
Attract people who work from home
As more and more companies are becoming open to people working from home, home offices are becoming increasing popular amongst prospective buyers. Home offices within your home itself can be noisier from other people in your house making it harder to concentrate. A garden home office offers that much needed privacy which will help you focus and get more done during the working day.
Fitness fans or hobbyists
Gym memberships are becoming ever increasingly expensive. A home gym will certainly be attractive to those health conscious buyers who can exercise without interrupting (or being interrupted by) other people in the main house. Lots of buyers also have hobbies, so a garden room extension can be a fantastic room to practice their craft while also including useful storage space to store equipment.
11. Quick Ways to Add the Wow Factor
See the light
Light can easily make or break a viewing of your home. Next time you go to a restaurant or bar, look at how much effort they go to to create the perfect ambiance through the use of different lighting methods. Why not try some stunning pendant lights in the kitchen and perhaps some fairy lights for the garden?
Provide a focal point
This could be a stunning gilded mirror in the hallway, a wallpapered headboard in the bedroom, a stunning corner chair with a decorative cushion, or even a large vintage movie poster. It’s those strategic little visual surprises that focus the eye and add some character to any home or property.
Create a fancy feature wall
This is where wallpaper can really come into its own, and the great news is there are so many different styles to choose from. These can range from pressed metal or newsprint to mimicking the Manhattan skyline.
However, you should make sure not to go too over the top. A feature wall can be elegant and subtle, but an entire roof full of flying birds could be the stuff of nightmares.
Hit the tiles
There was a recent phase of incredible coloured glass backsplashes, but there is now a resurgence of tiled kitchen backsplashes, so try to make sure you’ve opted for something bang on trend.
12. Create a Driveway
On estimate, a driveway can increase your property’s value by 5-10%.
Location is key to understanding how valuable a driveway would be. Not all homes benefit from a driveway.
- Is it difficult to find parking in your neighbourhood?
- Is there free parking available on your street?
- If not, how expensive are permits?
The number of people who live in 2 person households are growing. We also know that most couples or families like the freedom of having more than one car. Bearing that in mind, the more off-street parking you can provide the more attractive it will be to buyers. These spaces are also great for when entertaining guests.
13. Convert your garage to living space
A garage conversion can add up to a whopping 20% to the value of your home.
More cost effective than an extension
If your garage is attached to your house, then in our view, a garage conversion is the most valuable thing you can do. This is because in most cases, the foundations, walls and roof are already there. This means that the main changes will be internal so your project will be finished sooner than a traditional extension.
Most people use their garage as a store room, and we seldom see cars in the garage, so as long as you have parking space as well as the garage, then we would suggest you get cracking with this conversion.
Before converting your garage, we would first suggest checking with either a builder or architect to make sure it’s structurally sound. Any new living space must meet the relevant building regulations standards. If you need new foundations or walls that could add considerably to the overall build cost.
If you’re looking to increase the value of your home, feel free to call our friendly team for some advice anytime. We’re a creative team of architects and planning consultants and have a huge amount of experience when it comes to adding value to people’s homes.
Why not a book a free 30 min consultation with one of our architects?
We’re always on hand to help or give advice.