The housing market is a fickle beast.
Prices rise and fall like the tides. And it seems to be a mixture of luck, timing and sorcery that lets people predict where the market will turn next.
If you’re looking to climb the property ladder, doing some extra work on the house could give you a better return on your investment.
Here are five ways you can add value to your home.
Adding a new bedroom to your home is considered to be one of the best ways of increasing its value.
This gives a potential buyer more options when looking at your property. They could turn that extra room into a nursery, a study or an office.
Any way you look at it, it means more coins in your pocket.
The first thing you need to do before going for an extension – and this is very important – is to check with your local council first.
Planning permission may be required depending on the project, but there’s no clear-cut way to say if you definitely need it.
Officially, the projects that require planning permission are when you:
- Want to build something new.
- Make a major change to the existing building.
- Convert the use of the building e.g. into an office or a pub.
What constitutes a “major change” isn’t clearly defined, so it’s always worth checking beforehand to make sure you’re doing things properly.
If you live in a listed building or if your house is in a conservation area, you’re required to get permission before any work is started.
A nice way to add space to your home without extending it is to make better use of the unwanted Christmas present graveyard - known as the attic.
Again, check beforehand, otherwise you’re wasting time and money in a project that might have never been approved.
Building a new kitchen/bathroom
As the saying goes, “all the best parties end up in the kitchen”, so giving this room a makeover can have a great impact.
According to designer and author Sally Coulthard, a new kitchen could add an extra 5% to your home’s value, depending on its size.
This all depends on the type of house you have. Putting in a bespoke £30,000 shaker kitchen into a £150,000 house isn’t going to do you much good.
You don’t necessarily need to break the bank to give your kitchen or bathroom a boost, either.
A fresh lick of paint, some new cabinets and a set of chrome taps might be all you need. So take some time to work out a solid budget before splashing out.
If you have DIY experience, then by all means makes these improvements yourself. If not, consider calling a professional tradesman to do it for you.
The last thing you want is for your investment to turn into a horrific DIY fail.
Going green is the in thing these days.
If you’re trendy enough to have solar panels or a biomass boiler, having that green factor could tick some extra boxes for a potential buyer.
According to the Department of Energy and Climate change (DECC), making certain energy efficient improvements could add more than £16,000 to the value of a home.
Not only that, but going green helps to cut your fuel costs, saving you money in the process.
There are also government grants available for certain energy efficient improvements, so you don’t have to pay for everything out of your own pocket.
Renovate the outside
What’s the first and last thing a person sees when they come to visit? The front of your house and your garden.
As much as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, a lot of people will make a snap judgement about your home based on how it looks from the outside.
Giving your home extra kerb appeal could be costly, depending on how much work you need to do.
But something as simple as weeding the garden, repainting your front door or cleaning out the guttering could help with that all-important first impression.
Check yourself before your wreck your house
As much as these projects help to boost your home's value, they're big tasks that require a lot of work.
Any work you do that changes the value, structure or purpose of your home needs to be noted by your insurer.
This may mean that your insurance prices change, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
If you don't let your insurer know about these changes and you need to make a future claim, it could be rejected on the grounds of "non-disclosure".
Also, if you start knocking down walls and you burst a pipe or cause damage to another part of the house, you might not be able to claim.
That's why it's usually a smart idea to get the professionals in whenever you have a big DIY project.
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