Resale values of Home Improvements

You’re probably aware that some home improvements more than others can have a greater or lesser effect on the value of your property, should you decide to sell it at a later date.
Some improvements will take longer to ‘make their money’ than others, whilst some are considered no-no’s by estate agents.
But, and it’s a big but – you either approach home improvements purely from the point of view of improving your home’s worth or from the point of view of improving your family’s quality of life.
It”s rare that you’ll see an instant return on any major home improvement – the best advice if you’re after a quick sale is to get out the paint brushes, mend broken cupboard doors and trim the garden. Replacing a stained washbowl on its own might improve your chances of selling quickly at the right price, but that’s about it.
No, we’re looking at long term investment in your home as a home first and a property second.
Central Heating.
If your home hasn’t got central heating then this is a good ‘safe bet’. Not only will it improve your quality of life, you’ll also save energy, lowering your fuel bills and you’ll instantly make your home more attractive to a potential buyer.
Double Glazing.
Always a popular choice – replacing old windows with energy efficient glazing means lower running costs and a cosier, more secure home. If you can’t get permission on a period property (and there are some very good imitation UPVc sash windows to be had these days), then consider secondary glazing.
More expensive is wooden replacement windows but any new glazing means one less ‘big’ maintenance job for potential buyers.
Adding a Bathroom.
There’s a general rule of thumb that you shouldn’t loose a bedroom in favour of a second bathroom. Bedrooms are more important to home buyers than bathrooms, although for your comfort and families needs, a second bathroom may be very desirable. If your home has 5 bedrooms, then giving one up as a bathroom isn’t considered so severe.
Choose quality fittings and you should find a second bathroom an asset.
New Kitchen.
Another popular one with both owners and buyers, however, remember not everyone tastes are the same and if you’re planning a quick return, then think again. Most fitted kitchens will not cover their installation costs in terms of the value they add to your property.
That said, your quality of life and enjoyment of a new kitchen shouldn’t put you off having one and making everyday chores a lot more bearable in the process. Whether that’s adding storage or updating the look and the appliances.
Loft and Garage conversions.
Both big projects but whilst they make life much easier for the occupier, don’t expect to see a return on your investment for a considerable time (if at all). Of course, such conversions do make your home more attractive – another job less for the new owners. If you’re going to convert the garage, don’t turn it into a home gym as you’ll probably see very little return (if any) on your investment at all. Of course, if you’re planning on staying put and like the idea of saving on gym memberships and being able to exercise whenever you like, then a garage conversion is ideal for a gym room that connected to the rest of the house properly can easily be turned into a pleasant ‘nook’ or sitting room.
Flooring: Wooden flooring is very much a personal taste thing – just look at the multitude of surface effects there are to choose from. Fitting wooden flooring is definitely one of this home improvements you do for your own benefit rather than add re-sale value, as in terms of the Buyer – it’s usually not considered worth anymore in monetary value.
Off-road parking and driveways: Creating off-road parking on a property can add thousands to it’s worth. Parking is one of the most sought after features in a house, especially if you live in an area where parking can be difficult. Choose a style / pattern and surface type with a universal appeal so as not to put any finicky purchasers off and have the kerb stone dropped for access in accordance with the local authority planning rules.
Another one of those rules – be mindful that you don’t affect the ‘asking price’ of your home in relation to your neighbours by more than 20%.
Biggest yes’s: Creating off-road parking, central heating and double glazing.
Biggest no’s: Swimming pools and reducing bedrooms to less than 3.
Period properties.
I know we’ve already mentioned them with regards replacing windows, but there are one or two other things to bear in mind.
Don’t tamper with or remove period features like fireplaces or mouldings. For many, the appeal of a period property is exactly those kinds of features that are often removed or painted over in home makeovers.
Sympathetic renovations are advised but if you’re minds set on uber-cool, remember not only might it affect it’s value later, but it might also make it more difficult to sell.

photo credit: diana parkhouse

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