My top 8 ways to add value to your home.

From extensions to basements, tips on how to set your house apart from all the others.

Examples based on an average house in Fulham at £1000sqf

All prices exclude VAT at 20%

1 Building a loft conversion

The easiest way to get an extra bedroom and bathroom. Not particularly disruptive, either, as most of the work can be done from outside. The key thing is to make sure access to the loft is easy and that the conversion fits the rest of the house, rather than looking grafted on. You will have to strengthen the floor joists, which will raise the floor level, so make sure you leave yourself with sufficient ceiling height to stand up in. Spend £50,000-£60,000 on a loft conversion creating 400sqf and you can add £400,000 value to your house.

2 Building a side extension

Extending your living space is always a good idea, but the danger is that your extension ends up looking like something just bolted on the back. Make sure the extension matches the style of the rest of the house. Don’t make it seem as if it’s in any way separate, with its own entrance, for example. You can enhance the feeling of space and flow by installing the same flooring throughout your downstairs living area. It leads the eye on and ensures that the extension feels part of the rest of the house. An extension can cost from £30,000-£50,000 and can ad on average 300sqf to the area.

3 Building a basement

The most expensive form of extension: it costs £250 per sq foot to do the digging, and another £100 per sq foot to do the fitting out. So unless your house is worth £400 per sq ft, you won’t see your money back. It is also the most serious form of extension, as it is going to affect the structural load of your property. Not to be undertaken lightly, or without careful consideration, then. You will need to hire specialists to do the design and the installation, and you will almost certainly have to move out of the house for several months. That said, you can create fantastic spaces underneath your home, and extending your house like this means you can stay in it for longer, enjoy it more and sell it quicker when the time comes.

Example

Building a basement in west London would cost circa £350 per sq foot to dig and fit out, houses in the same street sell for between £1,000 per sq foot, depending on condition – which, in theory, means that for every £1 invested into the house, potentially £3 was added to its value. Also the house was 2,300 sq feet and now with basement and kitchen extension it is 3300 sq feet – so it has almost doubled in size. The real value lies in increasing your living space.

Build cost £350,000 ,added value to the property £1,000,000m.

4 Converting the garage

And turn it into living space. The fact is, 90 per cent of British garages don’t contain a car. They are a wasted asset. Cost: about £20,000. To calculate value added, multiply square footage gained by local price per square foot.

5 Refurbishing the kitchen

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 number one priority is creating a handsome and efficient work surface and ensuring easy access between the three points of the kitchen triangle, that is, the sink, fridge and cooker (high street kitchen firms have got surprisingly good at drawing up designs). Install equipment that is as up to date as possible, so it won’t look outmoded in 10 years. And make sure the price bracket of your kitchen matches the price bracket of your house. Don’t put a £10,000 kitchen in a £1 million house, you will drag down the value.

6 Apply for planning permission

Even if you don’t have the money to build an extension or a conversion, you’ll make money purely by having secured permission to do so: you’ll spend £1,000-£2,000 on survey, design and planning processing, but you’ll elevate your property into a higher league. It removes a big element of doubt from a buyer’s mind, if they know the council have already said yes to expansion.

7 Phone a friend

Having someone recommend a builder is like gold dust. Let’s face it, the odds of probability are heavily stacked against the builder-client relationship being a happy one. Building work takes time, it is expensive, it disrupts your house, so it is great when the home owner has good things to say about the builder at the end of the job..

8 Take a view on timescale

Get a big builder in and they will probably do the job quicker, but for a higher price. Hire a smaller builder and it will probably take longer, but be cheaper. You have to work out your own time-versus-money equation.

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