In these difficult economic times, your house is often your biggest asset, and adding value to it is one of the most effective ways to invest in the future. Smaller changes can help, but they won’t give you a massive increase in value. To transform the worth of your house, you’ll need to invest a bit of cash in some serious improvements.
Before starting, be sure to check with your local authority to see if you require planning permission, and to see the best ways of getting the appropriate approvals. If you live in a listed building, you may find that you have a hard time getting your improvements off the ground – so start the process of seeking approval early, to avoid disappointment.
1. Add a conservatory
A conservatory can be a nice way of boosting your home’s square footage. However, don’t expect it to add thousands to your house’s value, as a conservatory is a room with quite limited use that is often left empty for most of the year. It will never add as much value as an extra bedroom, for example. Plus, if your conservatory doesn’t mesh with your home’s current style, it could even lower its value. You’ll have to plan carefully to ensure that your conservatory is a harmonious addition.
2. Convert the basement
While it can be easy to add a conservatory to your home, a basement conversion is a serious investment. You might find that you have to move out temporarily while the builders get to work, and you’ll have to do your homework when it comes to building regulations, as basements have their own set of rules about fire safety and ventilation.
Before even starting to make a plan, you’ll have to check if the foundations of the building are suitable. Hiring an architect to carry out the necessary survey can give you a 4-figure bill before you’ve even got started, so this could be one of the most expensive conversions. Unless your home has very high value already, or an existing basement that can be converted, this conversion is rarely worth the hassle. If your home does meet these standards, then it can be worthwhile, as a basement conversion can result in more usable space in the form of bedrooms and recreation rooms.
3. Convert the loft
This may be the easiest way to add extra space to your home. A loft conversion can increase your home’s value by about 10% to 20%, and doesn’t have the same disruption as a basement conversion. Check in advance to see if your landing can support the necessary staircase, and measure your loft to see if it will meet building requirements.
Depending on what you’re adding to the loft, you might experience some minor power cuts or issues with your water supply. You may also need to change your existing insulation system to support the extension.
4. Build an extension
If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of your garden, then an extension can pay off. Making a bigger kitchen is a common extension strategy, although it doesn’t necessarily have a huge pay off. A more effective form of extension is adding another storey to your garage, giving you the chance to add an extra bedroom.
5. Put in a driveway
On-street parking has limited appeal in comparison with a driveway. If you have the space in your front garden, adding a driveway can be a great conversion, as it reduces insurance and makes parking a lot more convenient. Front gardens don’t add a lot of value to your property, and a driveway is a fairly cheap conversion that should pay off.
6. Replace old features
If you can’t create extra space in your house, look at upgrading your existing features. Single glazed windows can be changed to double glazed, an easy way to increase value. A new modern boiler or fuse box can give you a quick value injection, too. If you’re looking to sell your property, look at little ways to make a difference – replacing the hinges on doors, adding privacy shrubs to the front garden, and so on, can all add up.