Adding value to your home

Is the pitter-patter of tiny feet making your house feel smaller? Are you looking to sell in the future? Perhaps you simply want to improve the look and feel of your home? Making changes will not only improve your living space, it could add value to your property.

Where to start…

Three ways in which you could enhance your home include consideration of space, practicality and look and feel.


Adding space to your home, with a loft conversion for example, could be one way to increase the value of your property. The cost of a project like this is totally dependent on the property. Costs can rise if you need to make changes to headspace and load bearing joints, for example. However, the time and money you spend on a project can often be well worth it in the long run.

Get permission – Before you begin any type of structural project or change the use of a room – into a bathroom, for example – you must obtain the necessary consents from your local authority and, if your property is leasehold, your landlord. You will invariably need to provide professionally drawn plans to obtain planning and building regulations consents and/or landlord’s consent. Ask your local authority’s Building Control department for advice or have a look at their website. Once the work is done, it’s crucial to make sure you obtain completion certificates – without them, it may become difficult to sell your home in the future or achieve the right price for it.

An unsurprising yet rarely considered way in which you could boost the value of your home is the addition of a parking space. If you are a proud owner of a front garden, it can be a tough decision to gravel over your lawn. Nevertheless, if you are in an area with limited or no street parking, just one parking spot could make your home more attractive. You will need to seek local authority permission. However, if similar neighbouring properties have already converted their gardens in this way, you may have a good chance of obtaining the go ahead.

The heart of any home is the kitchen and if yours is falling apart it can be off-putting to potential buyers when you come to sell. For this reason, replacing a tired kitchen with a hygienic and stylish new one can be a good investment as it’s something valuation surveyors and buyers will see as essential.  The thought of remodelling your kitchen can be daunting, but in fact it could be cheaper than you think, if you’re prepared to shop around for a flat packed, ready-made kitchen, rather than a bespoke designer one, or take advantage of seasonal sales.

Much like your kitchen, the bathroom is a functional space too and it’s important that it looks its best. Refreshing your bathroom with new sanitary ware and redecorating in organic and neutral colours can make your bathroom feel modern and stylish.

One more way in which you may add value to your property is to turn the rooms you have into multi-functional living spaces. Removing a non-load-bearing wall – after seeking professional advice, of course – can transform a kitchen and dining room into a modern, airy kitchen diner, something increasingly desired by 21st century families. Open plan living can make your home seem larger, more contemporary and more suited to today’s way of living.


With most home improvement projects, many people’s first thoughts are often focused on cosmetic enhancements, like decorating and replacing carpets or flooring. However, making sure the property functions well is crucial to maintaining and adding value.

Modern central heating should be a staple when it comes to improvements. Buyers may be put off by an outdated boiler or heating system. Proper insulation is also important as it will improve the energy efficiency rating, thus saving money in fuel bills.

Is it time for new windows? Replacement windows can smarten up a property and increase both security and insulation. PVCu windows tend to be cheaper to buy than bespoke wooden ones. However, the aesthetic quality of period homes may be linked to their value, so traditional style windows may be worth the extra cost. You should also check whether your property is in a conservation area, as this may affect the type of windows you are allowed to fit.

To maximise your chances of getting the best valuation for your home, you may need to consider spending money on tackling structural issues. Missing roof tiles, a leaky ceiling or cracked walls are all things that might slip by a potential buyer, but could be picked up by a surveyor.

Look and feel

If you are planning to sell, it’s important to remember to present your property with as neutral a look and feel as possible. It’s an idea to de-clutter and limit personal items, like family photographs. This way potential buyers can see themselves in the property, not you – which is exactly what you want when you’re trying to sell.

When it comes to the interior, try not to cut corners. Making home improvements should be about enhancing the existing features of your home and quality should be something to consider wherever possible. For example, flooring that matches the period of a traditional property can enhance the home in the eyes of prospective buyers. This is a defining detail that can go a long way to increasing a property’s desirability.

Surveyors will never value a property based purely on the cosmetics but it can influence the way an estate agent describes a property for sale. If your home is functional, boasts impressive features and is internally attractive at the same time, it can be a powerful combination that will boost your property’s desirability and value.

Simple tasks, like cleaning your windows and de-cluttering to make storage space here and there, will enhance the property. From sanding floorboards to arranging flowers, a combination of DIY and interior styling can create a space that looks and feels like a considered and style-conscious home.

It’s a good idea to consider the outside as well as the inside. Improving your kerb appeal is important when you’re trying to attract buyers. First impressions do count.  Your front door is a great starting point, as it needs to be inviting. If it requires a new paint job, be sure to choose a colour that most people can warm to – something too bright or unusual may put off potential buyers.

If you have a garden, then don’t neglect it. The garden is an integral aspect of any property and even just clearing weeds, sweeping a path, cutting the grass and trimming back any overgrown shrubbery will make a noticeable difference.

Finding your tradesmen

Your relationship with your builder could, arguably, be the most important consideration when setting out any home improvement project. Home improvements can disrupt home life for an extended period of time, so having a happy relationship with your builder can make things easier.

A client-builder relationship can sometimes become fraught when there is a lot of money at stake and the project involves physical and sometimes emotional upheaval. This is why it’s a good idea to get a personal recommendation from a friend or colleague. Alternatively, you can look to approved trader schemes or search for online recommendation services.

A competent and experienced builder will bring quality to a project and agree a timeframe with you. Projects sometimes don’t run exactly to plan, timescale or to budget – there can be unforeseen bumps in the road.  So maintaining good communication with your builder and being prepared to give and take on certain issues can go a long way towards a happy outcome.

Useful links

Federation of Master Builders

Royal Institite of British Architects (RIBA)

Royal Institite of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

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The material contained in this article is intended for information purposes only and not as advice.

You should obtain professional legal or other advice if you are unsure about the effect on you of any matter in this article.

Published: 26 January 2018

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