Investing in the right home improvements can boost your property's value by more than the cost. Whether you're looking to sell or contemplating renovations, it's good to know what your options are and how they might affect how much your home is worth.
What Home Improvements Can I Do Myself?
Even simple, low-cost improvements can have a significant impact on your property's appeal. Small changes add up to make a noticeable difference, both in person and in photos.
Bear in mind that tastes differ, so avoid anything too personalised. A blank canvas often appeals to the widest range of buyers, allowing them to envisage their belongings in the property.
- Redecorate with neutral colours - Use light, neutral colours for a brighter, cleaner look.
- Fix minor defects - Address small problems like cracked tiles, dripping taps, peeling paint, or stained grout.
- Declutter - Remove excess furniture and personal items to make your home appear larger.
- Improve garden appeal - A neat and well-maintained garden can boost your property's overall appeal.
What Home Improvements Add The Most Value?
Some home improvements are more in demand than others, and you'll need to do some research to estimate value increase.
Properties with minor imperfections, such as outdated kitchens or bathrooms, often benefit from targeted improvements. Buyers often reduce their offer to factor in not only the cost of fixing these issues but also the hassle of having to do the work.
However, for homes that are in poor condition throughout, it may be the case that the entire property needs renovating. Such a major undertaking may not be worth doing unless you are a property developer, with the experience and funds required.
How do I estimate the value added by home improvements?
You can review sold house prices of properties in your area, to get an idea of what people are paying for different sizes and specifications.
Consult local estate agents
Even if you're not planning on selling, estate agents can offer valuable insights. Their knowledge of the local market can help identify which home improvements are most in demand, and they might be able to give you an indication of the potential increase in value from having work done.
Which home improvements typically add the most value?
In 2020, Schofields estimated the value increase for different home improvements, based on the estimated value added to a £250,000 three-bed house.
- Loft conversions - Transform a loft into a functional living space. Potential value increase of +16%
- Extensions - Add extra living space, for example with a rear extension. Potential value increase of +11%
- Kitchen improvement - Invest in a kitchen with high-quality appliances, countertops, and cabinetry. Potential value increase of +10%
- Energy efficiency improvements - Install energy-efficient upgrades like underfloor heating, solar panels, or improved insulation. Potential value increase of +8%
- Bathroom upgrades - Modernise your bathroom with up-to-date fixtures, such as a walk-in rainfall shower or a new bathtub. Potential value increase of +4%
- Well-maintained garden - Create a functional outdoor living space with features like patios or decking. Potential value increase of +3%
Working from home
Recently there has been demand for dedicated home office space, as more people work from home. Transforming an unused room or a portion of a larger room into a functional, well-lit workspace, could be cost-effective home improvement.
Consider planning permission
If you're looking to sell and there is an in-demand home improvement that requires planning permission, consider applying for it upfront, even if you don't want to make the changes yourself. Having the permission gives potential buyers confidence that they will be able to do the work themselves.
Which Home Improvements Don't Add Value?
Not all improvements will increase your home's value enough to offset the costs. Trends change, and what is considered desirable today may not be the case in the future as demand for certain features or styles fluctuates.
- Swimming pools - While a luxurious home addition, they come with high maintenance costs, limited seasonal use in the UK, and significant space and energy consumption.
- Eliminating a Bedroom - Reducing the number of bedrooms, for instance, by converting two bedrooms into one larger room, can reduce the appeal of a property. Most buyers prefer more bedrooms for flexibility, and often price against other properties with the same number of bedrooms.
- Complex Garden - While a nice tidy outdoor area can attract buyers, an overly complex garden might put off potential buyers because of high maintenance requirements.
- Adding a Lift - Lifts are less common in the UK and may be seen as an unnecessary maintenance cost that reduces a property's useable space.