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Building projects adding most value

Building projects adding most value

It’s possible to boost the value of your home by nearly £50,000 in just seven days, according to new research. The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the Home Owners Alliance (HOA) have identified seven projects which they say can add the most value and be completed in the shortest time.

Removing an internal wall to create a kitchen diner

Removing an internal wall to create an open-plan kitchen diner can add £48,447 to an averagely priced London home and take just one week, according to Brian Berry, chief executive of FMB. By comparison, the research finds a new kitchen diner adds £9,813 to the asking price of a typical property in north-east England.

Mr Berry said: “By investing in low-cost, high return projects, not only will you make your home a more pleasant place to live, you will also be increasing its value significantly.”

Claire Chambers, of Chambers Estate Agency in Birmingham, agrees kitchen diners top the list of home improvements that add value to homes. “It’s a more modern style of living. A lot of people entertain in their kitchen-dining-living space. Bi-fold glass doors opening out onto the garden are very, very popular. Putting on a pitched roof and adding skylights make it attractive too.”

Build a garden room or outside playroom

Building a garden room or outside playroom for children can add £35,000 to a typically priced home in Surrey or Devon. The work is estimated to take two weeks and cost an average £6,653.

“Garden rooms are great because they add extra living space but they tend to be used as home offices or for entertaining with outdoor mini bars,” said Ms Chambers.

Update kitchen

Homeowners can also add a significant amount to the value of their home by hiring builders to update the kitchen. Improvements such as a new worktops, flooring and cupboard doors, could add almost £27,000 to the value of an averagely priced home in Dorset and take around eight days to complete.

Update kitchen to add value to home

Alex Atkinson, of Linley and Simpson estate agents in York, agree revamping a kitchen could add between £3,000 and £5,000 in the north-east if done to a high standard. But he added: “The only slight negative, is we find in about 70 per cent of cases, buyers will put in new kitchens and bathrooms to suit their tastes.”   

Convert cupboard into downstairs toilet

If you have a large cupboard under the stairs for storage, converting it into a downstairs toilet can add as much as £26,708 to an average home in Surrey and £11,928 in Dorset. The home improvement, costing an average £2,622, could be completed in a week.

However, Tom Ramsey of Chaffers Estate Agency in North Dorset, disagreed. “Not everyone likes that scenario because if you build under the stairs you can get restricted head room and it can be quite a cramped space. Some people prefer to keep it as a storage space.”

Ms Chambers added: “A downstairs toilet doesn’t increase value by a huge sum, but it can increase the saleability of a property. It is that something added and if a similar property down the street for sale doesn’t have a downstairs toilet, it may give it the edge.”

Build an en suite bathroom

Converting part of the master bedroom into an en suite bathroom can add £14,525 in 11 days to an averagely priced home in London.

But estate agents in north-east England who took part in the study said it wouldn’t add value. However, Mr Atkinson disgreed: “In a typical two-bedroom terrace house in York, there wouldn’t be space for an en suite. But in a three-bedroom semi or family house, most parents prefer an en suite for their own use with their children using the main bathroom.” The estate agent said adding a second bathroom can increase value.

Add an en suite to add value to home

Ian Boardman of Daniel Cobb Estate Agent in London, warned much depends on the size of bedroom. Some people prefer to keep a big master bedroom rather than partitioning it to create an en suite.

Build a new driveway

If there is space in front of your house, building a new driveway can add as much as £13,354 in nine days to an averagely priced home in Surrey.

The work will cost on average £2,208. The builder will need to add a hardcore base and finish it off with the material of your choice- gravel, tarmac, tile or bricks. But off-street parking adds an instant premium, so you should get a good return on your investment. 

“Providing off-road parking can add 10 per cent to the value of a property in North Dorset,” said Tom Ramsey of Chaffers Estate Agency.

Installing decking and lighting in back garden

Installing decking and lighting in the back garden can add £8,946 in seven days to an averagely priced home in Dorset.

But local estate agents in London and north east of England say this improvement won’t add value.  Ian Boardman, of Daniel Cobb, in London described decking as “a bit 1990s.” He said: “Decking can be a great way of levelling out a garden, but I question whether it would add any value.”

Ms Chambers agreed, saying: “Decking and outdoor lighting can help a property look pretty but I don’t think it adds value.”  

The research was carried out nationwide among estate agents who are members of the Guild of Property Professionals and FMB members. House prices were taken from the UK’s House Price Index 2017.

Ask local estate agent for advice

Paula Higgins, of the Home Owners Association, said: “This research is encouraging news for home owners. Improving your home to make it more enjoyable to live in and can also give you a big financial boost when it is time to sell. There is a caveat though as if your primary aim is to increase the value of your home, you should consult the experts in order to ensure you will see a return. Ms Higgins suggested asking best performing local estate agents for advice. 

What estate agents say in different areas:

Ian Boardman of Daniel Cobb, Estate Agents in Kennington, London, said the building projects likely to give a good return on investment are side return and loft extensions although they will take longer than a week to complete.

“Side return extensions are a popular way of increasing kitchen size,” said Mr Boardman, adding there is no downside as the external narrow space beside the house is rarely used.

He added: “Loft extensions can be a cheap way of getting extra living space without having to do ground work, such as building new walls or roof.

“If you are looking to stay in a property for a long period of time, more than four or five years, build something that is going to work for you because then if it doesn’t add value at least you can enjoy it.”

Tom Ramsey of Chaffers Estate Agents in North Dorset said master bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and utility rooms add significant value, “perhaps less so conservatories.” He said: “People do like open-plan kitchen-dining-living spaces but I don’t see it adding that much value (Dorset £26,838) to the average home.

 “Many people like to be able to work from home, so something like a detached chalet in the garden can add significant value.” Mr Ramsey recently sold a three-bedroom semi in Shaftesbury with a home office/studio in the garden for £250,000 - compared to an identical property without one which had an asking price of £220,000.

Claire Chambers of Chambers estate agents in Birmingham said: “The wow factor tends to be kitchens, bathrooms and gardens. Just changing work tops, floors and cabinet doors in a kitchen can make a massive difference. A downstairs toilet can make a property more saleable, but I don’t think it adds huge value.

“Building a new driveway is going to add between £5,000 and £10,000 to an average property in Birmingham. Revamping an existing driveway won’t add as much value but gives a property a bit more kerb appeal. Most people want somewhere to park their car off-road.”

Alex Atkinson of Linley and Simpson estate agents, York

“A kitchen diner seems to be what everyone wants these days. I would agree it is the best way to increase market value and make a property more attractive and saleable. Many people won’t view a property if they think the dining room and kitchen are small. They may not be able to picture what it would look like knocked through.

“Building a garden room adds value as it gives more living space. Many people use them as workshops or an outside office space. Off-street parking will add at least £5,000. It makes a massive difference in York.  Not having a driveway at all is quite a big negative.”

For a list of the projects with building costs and added value broken down by region have a look at this guide produced by FMB and HOA