We all love to spend money on making our houses look their best, but home improvements can be an expensive business - and when we’re choosing what to do with our hard earned cash, we want to make a decision that will make us the most money in the long run. So how can we work out which improvements will improve our bank balance too? We asked some estate agents about the renovations that truly add value.
If you want to give your home the edge in a competitive market, it might be worth investing in a loft conversion, especially if you live in a sought after area.
Tony Cotterill of Frank Innes Estate Agents says “Depending on the type of house being converted, you could make your money back, as long as you do your research before going ahead. If you are converting from a two bedroom to a three bedroom, find the ceiling price of three bedroom homes in the area.”
Loft conversions are a more cost effective use of space than basement ones, which are so expensive that you’re unlikely to see returns unless you live in a very exclusive postcode.
Paving the way
Property developer Julia Gray explains that turning a green space into a drive can do great things for the value of your property. “A front garden can add considerable value to your home if it's turned into off-street parking, especially in expensive urban areas.”
You may need planning permission, but this isn’t usually an issue if you’re simply paving the area over. If you live in the countryside, this renovation might not have such a big impact on your property value, but if you’re in the centre of a busy town or city it could be a wise investment.
Give the front a face lift
Property guru and TV presenter Phil Spencer says that spending up to £1000 on fixing the front of your house could add as much as £5000 to the asking price. “The outside needs to be as spick and span as possible. If nothing else, your house should at least look better than your neighbours.”
Clear the gutters, clean windows thoroughly and hire professionals to blitz walls, steps and shabby doors that have been neglected. This renovation is more time consuming than expensive, and the results are extremely satisfying.
Put your money where your mouth is
If you’ve only got the budget to renovate one space, it’s worth focusing on the kitchen, which is where homeowners can see the most value added. A Houzz survey found we spend 12 per cent of our lives in the kitchen, as it’s not just a space to cook - it’s where we relax and get together as a family.
Estate agent Ida Schwarz explains that the popularity of cooking shows means that large kitchens with a professional feel have big buyer appeal, and will push up the value of your home. “With the increase of foodies and amateur chefs, we’ve seen features like double ovens are highly coveted.”
Be careful and do your research. It’s well worth investing in a good brand of dishwasher, but non essential extras like built in pizza ovens and coffee makers aren’t worth investing in. If you can, keep the washing machine away from the kitchen. That way, it’s seen as a space dedicated to cooking and entertaining, not general household chores.
This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.