There have been quite a few stories in the news recently about how more and more of us in this generation and the one following us are finding it hard to buy a home. It’s been predicted that quite a lot of generation X and millenials will end up renting into retirement.
One possible option for us renters to get on the housing ladder is to try and reduce costs by buying a fixer-upper property.
The thing is though, even that wouldn’t necessarily be cheap. Data from the Office for National Statistics suggests that in the UK we spend about £30 billion each year on home improvements, which is just a huge amount of money.
So is it worth it? Can you really add that much value to a property with home improvements, to make buying a home that needs work worth it? This is a question that DM Design, a specialist designer of fitted and bespoke bedrooms, has been looking to answer.
The main thing they’ve been looking into is the different areas in the home that you can do up that could potentially increase the property’s value.
Fitting a new kitchen
In an interview with The Telegraph Phil Spencer, the property guru, stated:
“If you are only going to improve one room, make it the kitchen. This has now become the showpiece area of the home. We don’t just cook in it, we do homework in it, we watch television in it and hold dinner parties there.”
The thing to remember though is to make sure to match the price bracket of the kitchen to that of the home in general. See, you wouldn’t add that much value by fitting a £25,000 kitchen in a house worth £170,000.
If you can get the balance right though, Phil believes you can add about 4.6% to the value of a home by fitting a new kitchen. This statement is backed up by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, who say that a brand new kitchen can up the property’s appeal and add about 4% to its overall value.
Fitting a new bathroom
After the kitchen, the bathroom is the next room that most people will think about updating in their home. And it might be worth doing because, according to the Nationwide Building Society, adding either a new en-suite bathroom or creating a second bathroom can add around 5% to the overall value of a property.
Phil has some solid advice on this area too, suggesting that we should try and keep things simple when doing up a bathroom. He says:
“You don’t need to do a lot with the room, it’s all about the features that you put in, such as a set of new taps, a heated chrome towel rail, a big new shower head, a power shower, and a glass screen or glass door instead of a shower curtain.”
Phil has worked out that putting in a new bathroom can increase your home’s value by 2.88%.
Converting a loft
The Nationwide Building Society says that adding a loft conversion to your home could potentially add up to 21% on to the value of the house, so this could definitely be worth considering. In particular, house that were built before 1975 and those with a loft maximum headroom of 2.3 metres are just right for loft conversions. And if you can make the space into a double bedroom then that would be perfect, because adding one can add more than 10% onto the house’s value.
One thing to keep in mind though is that you would need to get some professionals in to help with a loft conversion, because those kinds of projects have to meet building and fire regulations.
Converting a garage
If you don’t want to go down the loft conversion route but still want to add value to the property by adding another double bedroom, you could think about converting a garage.
Apparently 90% of the garages in the UK aren’t actually used for cars, so all that space could really be put to good use by converting it into another bedroom, or just extra living space for the home.
Adding a conservatory
If you don’t have a garage that you could convert, you could still add an extra room to the house by building a conservatory.
This is one area you don’t really want to scrimp on though. You want to try and make the conservatory with glass rather than uPVC. Mark Hayward from the National Association of Estate Agents told The Telegraph:
“Conservatories will add value to a home, but they need to be made with quality materials and provide a lot of light in order for the value to be significant.”
If you make the effort to add a high quality conservatory it could add up to 5% to the value of the home, or as much as 11% if it’s part of a full-blown extension.
Improving the garden
If you do plan on adding a conservatory, just make sure it doesn’t end up taking away too much garden space because a home’s outdoor space can really help add to its value.
Think about making the garden accessible and adding double glass doors to whichever room opens out into the garden, so that it can be enjoyed more from inside the house too. It might also be worth following Phil Spencer’s advice and putting some decking around the garden, as this can add 2% to the value of the property.
So, it does seem like, with a bit of planning and thought, it really might be worth looking at homes that need a bit of work and then adding value with some home improvements.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.