Improvements to add the most value to your home

As National Home Improvement Month begins, it is revealed that UK homeowners have spent a total of £41 billion doing up their homes over the last five years – an average of £1,875 each.

With growing house prices making it increasingly difficult to move up the ladder, nearly three in four (73 per cent) homeowners have made improvements to their properties over five years. The most popular changes are redecorating (73 per cent), landscaping the garden (54 per cent), adding new flooring (39 per cent) and refreshing the bathroom (31 per cent), says NAEA Propertymark.

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One in ten homeowners made improvements because the cost of moving was too high. However, home improvements don’t come cheap; adding a new kitchen sets people back by £5,016 on average, installing a conservatory in search of a warm garden refuge typically costs homeowners £4,310 and extending into the loft or basement comes with a £3,244 price tag attached.

The majority (61 per cent) of those who made home improvements did so to brighten up their home. A quarter thought doing up their property would be a good investment and add value. A further one in four (24 per cent) bought a property with the intention of making improvements, whereas one in eight (13 per cent) needed to create space.

Not all homeowners can undertake improvements immediately. Two fifths (39 per cent) of UK homeowners want to redecorate in the future, and a quarter (28 per cent) wish to add a new kitchen. Some have more ambitious aspirations; six per cent want to build home-gym, a further six per cent want a home cinema and four per cent hope to install a swimming pool one day.

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, said: "There are many reasons why homeowners are improving their property – whether it’s because they have realised the value and sale potential it can add, or they cannot afford to move and are looking to make the most of what they’ve already got.

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“Your house will almost certainly be more attractive to buyers with some general sprucing up and cleaning, and improvements that create a sense of space, privacy and give a great first impression will increase saleability. If you’re making improvements to add value to your home, it’s important to not over-personalise the décor so it appeals to future buyers, and will allow them to adapt the property to fit their own needs."

NAEA Propertymark’s 10 top home improvement tips to increase value include:

Redecorate and add easy upgrades

Redecorating is the most popular home improvement and giving your home a lick or paint and doing some general maintenance can be done at a very low cost. Fresh paint in modern colours can go a long way to giving your home a new lease of life, so do not be afraid to pick up the paintbrush.

Makeover the kitchen

Kitchens are often the focus for many buyers so it may be the first thing they look to replace if they can’t imagine living in yours. Painting units or replacing cupboard handles or doors are a cheap way of refreshing kitchens, and buyers may be willing to pay more to save themselves the hassle of buying a new kitchen.

Add to or update a bathroom

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In the bathroom, re-grouting, eliminating all lime scale and replacing taps are a good option. Bathrooms need to be fresh and clean, so paint the walls a neutral shade, and ideally replace a shower curtain with a new one or a simple glass screen.

Garden appeal

An attractive, tidy, well-designed garden can add a great deal of value to a property. It is essential to trim borders, clear pathways and cut back any overgrown trees or bushes. The garden should feel like an extra space for entertaining or relaxing, rather than an expanse of grass.

Double glaze windows

Noisy roads can impact the value of a property. Double glazing will keep the home warm and keep the noise out, even if it’s near a main road.

Open up space

Opening up living space is becoming more and more popular, particularly for the kitchen and dining room. Combining the two into one large room creates a sociable space, great for the whole family to enjoy. Remember the practicalities with this though, as many consumers still like the ‘front room philosophy’ that can be used for special occasions or to be used for privacy by the adults.

Replace doors

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First impressions count. The front door of your home can say a lot about the rest of the house to viewers seeing it for the first time. If you cannot afford to replace the door, make sure it looks new by giving it a power wash or a fresh lick of paint.

Convert the loft

A loft conversion is a more expensive improvement yet probably gives back the best value for money. Most lofts can be easily converted and expanding the house upwards offers homeowners an extra bedroom for growing families or a space for extra storage. Remember to seek planning permission before undertaking this work though!

Be energy efficient

Fitting your home with energy efficient appliances can add value to your home by promising to knock the costs of bills. With a huge variety of new products on the market for this, it’s increasingly becoming a key feature for new homes.

Create a driveway

In some areas of the country, the ability to park close to your front door comes at a huge premium and therefore, if you have the room to add off-street parking, you are sure to increase value.

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