Don’t move, improve: Most profitable home improvements revealed

For example, a new conservatory can add up to 6% top your home's value

Do you move or improve – that is the question. Often, the answer is not entirely straightforward.

Let’s look at some of the considerations.

If you like where you live and get on with the neighbours (not always a given) then improving your house seems more likely to get the nod.

Not getting on with the neighbours? Then putting in a new bathroom is unlikely to make the problem go away. A new shower won’t wash noisy neighbours out of your hair. A move looks more likely to provide the winning solution. Though selling fees and removal costs should be considered. 

However, if you are leaning towards staying and improving your property it would be as well to indulge in a little introspection and ask yourself why you want to make changes?

Is adding value to your property the main consideration? If yes, then certain amendments are likely to produce the best results. We’ll get to them shortly.

If you are not considering selling in the foreseeable future perhaps adding value is not so important, but making your space more liveable is

Do you feel you need more room – perhaps the family is growing? An extension into the loft or onto the back of the house should provide the answer.

Think that the kitchen is looking tired or its layout is not right for you? Get it changed. Revising a kitchen is one of the best home improvements both financially and in terms of quality of life.  

Need another bedroom? Creating one can add big numbers to a house’s value. But try to avoid adding it to the ground floor (bungalows ignore this advice) if a resale is on the horizon. Prospective buyers may turn their noses up. People expect to go upstairs to bed.

Research has shown the kind of benefits you can derive financially from carrying out home improvements. The emotional gains are just as real but harder to quantify.

It should be stressed that all figures shown are based on a national average. The average house price according to the latest ONS House Price Index comes in at £226,234 (March 2019). The figure for London is £478,000 – more than double. Though this sum is slipping thanks in no small part to Brexit uncertainty.

So, can you say that all the figures shown here can be doubled? I can’t come up with a case to definitely support that, but I feel it is indisputable that the numbers are likely to be much, much higher. Though, sadly, that also probably applies to the cost of getting the work carried out. 

According to Hiscox, the number of homeowners opting to improve rather than move has increased by 12% over the past five years (representing more than four million UK households).

This finding inspired housing agents to investigate which home improvements stand to add the most value to a property.

Here are some of the headline conclusions:

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  • Giving the entire house a fresh lick of paint can add more than £7,000 to its value (3.1%).
  • A kitchen renovation stands to add the most value to a property equating to a whopping £12,442.87 (5.5%).
  • Adding an extension to the loft and/or the kitchen will equally provide the greatest return on value – an extra £23,754.57 (10.8%). 
  • Adding a bedroom can increase a property’s value by £25,338.21 (11.2%).

Sellhousefast took the average price of a UK home and, thereafter, calculated the average monetary value per type of renovation or extension, using percentages taken from Hiscox’s ‘Renovation and Extensions report’ which indicates the value increase each renovation could add to a property*.

Unsurprisingly, updating the entire décor of your home can increase the value of your property. 

According to the report, a fresh lick of paint all over the house can add up to 3.1%, which when taking into consideration the current average UK property price, translates to more than £7,000; an astronomical figure for a few tins of Dulux.

Sell House Fast has highlighted which renovations and improvements add the most value to a property: Updating the kitchen can add £12,442.87 (5.5%), a new roof adds £7,013.25 (3.1%), the bathroom £5,882.10 (2.6%) and improving the garden up to £3,167.28 (1.4%). 

And should homeowners look to take their home renovation project further and add an extension or conversion, this is how much extra value could be added: A new bedroom can add £25,338.21 (11.2%), a loft conversion and/or kitchen extension can add a further £23,754.57 (10.8%), a basement conversion adds £15,157.68 (6.7%), a conservatory £13,574.04 (6%) and a new bathroom £12,895.34 (5.7%). 

Robby Du Toit, managing director of Sellhousefast, says: “Homeowners making the decision to stay put and add, improve and renovate their homes instead of moving, is becoming the new trend for those looking to adapt their property to meet their ever-changing needs and evolving lifestyles. It is logical that many view home renovations as a more economical solution and given the uncertainty of the market due to factors such as Brexit, it certainly seems more beneficial to add value to existing dwellings.”

*Hiscox Renovations and Extensions Report 2018 draws on insight from 1,200 homeowners, 100 UK-wide estate agents and more than 400 local council planning permission records.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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