Projects that prom­ise a great re­turn

Pre­fer to stay put than move house? LISA SALMON seeks some ex­pert tips for the ren­o­va­tions that get the best re­turns

Llanelli Star - - Your Home -

In­creas­ing num­bers of home­own­ers are avoid­ing the ex­pense of mov­ing house, by ren­o­vat­ing in­stead.

In fact, the num­ber of peo­ple choos­ing to do this has risen five­fold since 2013, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port by His­cox In­sur­ance – in­creas­ing from 3% of house­holds to 15%, rep­re­sent­ing more than four mil­lion UK homes.

Sup­port­ing the no­tion that we’re be­com­ing a na­tion of home-im­provers, fig­ures from Hal­i­fax show that plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions have risen by a quar­ter over the last five years. Mean­while, His­cox found the av­er­age bud­get for home ren­o­va­tions was around £16,100, al­though 18% of the house­hold­ers sur­veyed ex­pected to spend more than £25,000.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­search, home­own­ers are most likely to ei­ther ren­o­vate a bath­room or add a new one, fol­lowed by kitchen im­prove­ments, in­stalling a new boiler or cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem, or cre­at­ing more liv­ing space. How­ever, not ev­ery home­im­prove­ment project will au­to­mat­i­cally add value to a prop­erty.

“Cheap is cheap – noth­ing kills the value of a prop­erty more than do­ing cheap work in it. Es­tate agents have told me they’ve seen sell­ers with tears in their eyes, when they find out that con­struc­tion work worth thou­sands of pounds hasn’t added a sin­gle penny to their home,” says Ash Chawla, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the de­sign/build com­pany Duke of De­sign (duke­ofde­sign. So, what does Duke of De­sign rec­om­mend?


The sim­plest home ad­di­tion is a con­ser­va­tory, which Vir­gin Money re­search says can raise the value of your home by as much as 15% if it’s in­cluded as part of an ex­ten­sion, or by 5% if it’s just a sim­ple con­ser­va­tory. Ash says choos­ing the right ma­te­ri­als can help conservato­ries blend well with mod­ern and pe­riod prop­er­ties. “The key is to use ma­te­ri­als other than the com­monly seen white UPVC,” he says. “A muted, more so­phis­ti­cated palette of taupe and grey-painted wooden frames cam­ou­flages it­self in a nat­u­ral set­ting.”


Es­tate agents sur­veyed by His­cox be­lieve the best way of spend­ing money on your home is by hav­ing an ex­ten­sion built, say­ing the ad­di­tion of a new bed­room could boost the av­er­age home’s value by 11.2%.

They reckon a new kitchen, mean­while, will typ­i­cally in­crease a home’s value by 5.5% (or £12,400 based on an av­er­age UK house price of £226,071), al­though 28% think a new kitchen can lift a home’s value by as much as 10%.

A sin­gle storey ex­ten­sion can be built in as lit­tle as three weeks once plan­ning per­mis­sion is granted, says Ash, who sug­gests an av­er­age sized £30,000 sin­gle-storey rear kitchen ex­ten­sion on a £500,000 home can lead to a profit of £30,000-£35,000.


Re­mod­elling an ex­ist­ing kitchen – by adding high qual­ity units and floor­ing, pur­pose light­ing and re­dec­o­rat­ing – could in­crease a prop­erty’s value by as much as 4%, ac­cord­ing to the Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors – al­though Ash warns that ex­pen­sive pur­chases should be kept in pro­por­tion to the value of the prop­erty.

“The most suc­cess­ful kitchen ex­ten­sions con­sider the whole home,” he ex­plains. “By re­mov­ing in­ter­nal walls, you can con­nect the kitchen to the din­ing room.” Al­ter­na­tively, you may choose to link the kitchen to the gar­den by us­ing win­dows or pa­tio doors. Ex­ten­sions, above, loft con­ver­sions, right, and conservato­ries, top, are great ways to add value to your prop­erty


“The gar­den can be­come the hub of home life and can work seam­lessly

with your home,” says Ash.

For fam­ily-sized homes, en­sure the out­door space is suit­able for the grow­ing needs of a fam­ily with low-main­te­nance plant­ing and land­scap­ing, while a small court­yard gar­den may ap­peal to younger work­ing cou­ples. The cost of land­scap­ing a gar­den can be as lit­tle as £2,000, but Ash says spend­ing a lit­tle more can lead to a po­ten­tial re­turn of £40,000 on a £500,000 house.


Most towns and cities have a park­ing prob­lem, Ash points out. “By pro­vid­ing vi­able park­ing fa­cil­i­ties, you can in­crease your prop­erty price dra­mat­i­cally,” he prom­ises.

You could ei­ther con­vert land at the front or side of your prop­erty to add a drive­way or park­ing space, or add a garage – pos­si­bly by con­vert­ing an ex­ist­ing out­side build­ing, if there’s suit­able ac­cess, or by build­ing a garage ex­ten­sion.

Full garage con­ver­sions com­monly add up to 8-10% to your value, says Ash, par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas where park­ing is a pre­mium.


The His­cox re­port says loft ex­ten­sions are the most pop­u­lar plan­ning re­quest. They don’t al­ways re­quire plan­ning per­mis­sion, al­though they do need to meet build­ing reg­u­la­tions to be classed as a room.

The Na­tion­wide Build­ing So­ci­ety says the av­er­age cost to con­vert an at­tic is around £20,000, which rises to ap­prox­i­mately £35,000-£45,000 if you’re cre­at­ing a dormer loft with dou­ble bed­room and bath­room.

Just board­ing out the loft for stor­age is un­likely to make much im­pact on the price of your prop­erty, and Ash stresses: “If fi­nan­cial gain is your goal, con­vert­ing the loft into a us­able room is the way to go.”

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