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How to add 30% to the value of your property

Written by: Robert Nichols
Home improvements can boost the sale price of your property - but which projects will get you the best return on investment?

Add a basement

Potential Value Added: Up to 30%

Transforming a basement into a living or storage space can boost a property’s value by up to 30% – so long as the build cost per square foot is less than the price per square foot of the area.

If you already have a cellar it’s one of the most economical home improvements you can make, as it qualifies as a “change of use” for planning purposes so you wouldn’t need to obtain planning permission. Easy!

Split a house into flats

Potential Value Added: Up to 30%

Converting houses into flats is very popular in London, as flats are in high demand and often easier to rent to tenants.  Splitting a property into separate units can therefore maximise rental income in the short-term and profit on sale in the long-term.

But before you begin a project, do some research and ensure that flats will be wanted in the area. If three bedroom properties aren’t shifting but smaller flats are, conversion seems wise.

Convert your garage to living space

Potential Value Added: 15%

If your garage isn’t being used to home a car, it makes sense to utilise the space and convert it into a living space – especially if you have parking space outside.

Ask an agent about the buyer demographic in your area and keep that in mind when you transform the space. For example, if your property is located in a family-orientated area, a study or bedroom may be a good fit, whereas if it’s a first-time buyer hotspot, a gym may be more desirable.

Side return to extend kitchen (with a new kitchen)

Potential Value Added: 15%

A beautiful kitchen can really sell a house, so if yours is looking a little out of date or shabby it’s definitely worth getting a new kitchen fitted. To appeal to the maximum number potential buyers, opt for a neutral, contemporary style. A side return extension is a very common project that can really complement your existing kitchen – if done well! Be creative with light and ceiling levels and pull in lots of natural light to make the room feel much more spacious.

Loft conversion to add a bedroom

Potential Value Added: Up to 15%

Adding an extra bedroom can add up to 15% to the value of your home, especially if it’s a loft conversion with an en-suite bathroom. Most lofts can be converted, but it’s worth getting an architect or builder in to double check before you start planning.

Increase living space with a conservatory

Potential Value Added: Up to 10%

Increasing your living space is usually a sure-fire way to add value to your property, but if you’re considering a conservatory, make sure the style is in keeping with the rest of the house.

The good thing about adding a conservatory is that you won’t need to obtain planning permission, so long as no more than half the area of the land of the original house is covered.

Apply for planning permission and then sell based on adding a percentage for obtaining PP

Potential Value Added: Up to 10%

If you’re buying somewhere with the intention of adding to its value through extensions or big home improvements, you don’t want the risk of not getting planning permission – particularly if you’ve done your calculations on the yields of a bigger square footage. Therefore if a property is being sold with planning permission obtained, there’s a lot of value in that security.

Kerb and garden appeal

Potential Value Added: Up to 10%

Garden space is limited in London, so it’s really important to make the most of the space you have. Adding decking or a patio can transform a garden into an entertaining space, and summer houses are when staged as an additional room will also add to the property value. It’s also worth adding lighting and watering systems for ease of maintenance. First impressions are really important, so if you’re selling ensure your house has kerb appeal by giving it a fresh lick of paint, mowing the lawn, adding a new door, a clean new path and ironmongery.

Get a new bathroom

Potential Value Added: 3-5%

A new bathroom will certainly increase the value of your property – but it’s also an expensive investment. If your current bathroom is just slightly dated rather than in very poor condition, you may not make back a huge amount more than the cost of the upgrade.

Make the living area open plan

Potential Value Added: 3-5%

Open-plan spaces are very appealing, so it usually pays to knock down walls that are separating the kitchen and dining room. It also makes the space feel larger and lighter, which will help the saleability of the property.

Robert Nichols is managing director of Portico London estate agents

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