‘Adding value’ to your home has always been a staple manoeuvre for any astute homeowner – but it is proving more popular now than ever.
This is due to a number of reasons: record numbers of homeowners staying put, the increasing costs of moving home and a general loss of confidence in the UK housing market (one in five British adults surveyed by the Halifax bank expect house prices will fall in the next year).
According to a new study by Gocompare.com, 43% of homeowners have carried out major work on their properties in the last 5 years, from updating bathrooms and kitchens, investing in energy efficient measures such as new central heating systems, to building an extension.
Source: Gocompare.com (June 2017)
But do any of these upgrades really mean that you can sell your home for more money?
Several factors are at play here. Much of it depends on house appreciation where you live. If you live in a prime residential area in London (Zones 1 or 2), for example, your property may appreciate at a quicker level then say, living in Burnley, Lancashire.
So there's no point spending £25,000 on a conservatory when your house price is £70,311 (which is the average house price in Burnley). But there may be some point in digging into the basement in your Kensington & Chelsea home to create a leisure complex at vast expense.
It also depends on whether the builder, decorator or plumber you choose to carry out the project is affordable. According to Nationwide Building Society, installing a loft conversion could add £21,000 to the value of your home. If your builder is going to charge the same amount to do it, though, perhaps it's not worth it after all.
Adding a new bathroom might add 5% to the value of your home, but if you are simply renewing a bathroom suite with fresh taps or a new shower screen, you may only recoup 25% of your costs.
I recently asked several local painter and decorators for an estimate for a lick of paint. Their estimates differed wildly for the same job – a £2,000 difference in fact (for decorating only half of the house) – and that was just to paint some walls white!
It's therefore very important when employing tradesmen to check whether they’re qualified and registered with a recognised governing body. You don’t want to end up spending even more money on correcting a faulty extension or a leaking conservatory.
There is, of course, always DIY. According to the Office of National Statistics we spend nearly £30 billion a year on DIY home improvements in the UK (which works out at £43 million a week). But do make sure you have a good home insurance policy in place!