Guest Edit by Ros Anderson, My Friend’s House
Reading the property pages these days you’d be forgiven for thinking that adding value to a home is all about building a mega-basement or installing your own private pool. But there are plenty of ways to improve your home, adding value when you sell as well as comfort while you live in it, that won’t break your bank balance – or upset your neighbours.
MAKEOVER THE KITCHEN
The kitchen is still the place that sells most houses, and the dream of the family-sized kitchen-dinner remains top of house-hunter’s wish lists. There are many ways to make your kitchen more desirable however, not all of them involve spending thousands on new units.
Take a good look at your existing kitchen and think about which bits look dated – it’s the bits that would scream out ‘you need a new kitchen!’ to any prospective buyer you need to identify and change if you can. If your kitchen layout is workable and the units sturdy then consider replacing just the doors – Ikea for example sells doors, which can be used on existing cabinets to give a fresh look. If you have wooden units then repainting them in an eggshell paint can make a huge difference, as can something as simple and low-cost as replacing old handles with slim, stainless steel ones.
Look over the worktop and sink too – chipped laminate worktops look tired, so consider replacing yours with a real wood version. While you’re at it trade in your old sink for a white ceramic butler’s sink, creating a desirable feature new owners will covet. And don’t forget the floor – kitchen flooring take a lot of wear, so think about replacing what you have for a fresher, newer look. A wood laminate will add a warm and sophisticated feel that lifts the whole room.
ADD AN EXTENSION
You might be surprised to learn that for many extension projects you don’t actually need planning permission. Rules have been relaxed in the last decade, and many small extension schemes fall under ‘permitted development.’ Go to the UK Planning Portal to check out the rules that apply to your type of property before you start planning.
Whether it’s extending the existing kitchen to create an open-plan space that opens onto the garden, adding an extra room for guests, or establishing a study, even a small extension will add value. Probably the biggest boost to a property’s price is converting the loft, typically adding around 10% to a home’s value. Make sure that your work with a reputable loft conversion company to plan the space effectively – losing a room on the floor below to a badly-planned staircase for example will cancel out any benefits. And consider what to put in your new space – a master bedroom and bathroom suite will be a real selling point.
CREATE AN ADDITIONAL BATHROOM
Bathrooms are a high priority the modern property hunter, so if your home’s washing spaces are trapped in the 50s, with one bathroom only for the whole family, then even adding a second WC will make a big difference. You might be surprised to find out that you won’t necessarily need to extend either – a small en-suite, shower room or cloakroom can often be fitted into some dead space in your home’s existing footprint. Under the stairs, at the end of a hallway or part of a large bedroom are all prime spots for conversion.
Check that your new bathroom is close to existing plumbing, because redirecting pipes will add cost to your project. But don’t be put off by limited space – instead check out specialist cloakroom or small-space sanitary-ware ranges. Failing that apply the same discerning eye to your bathroom as your kitchen and see what could be improved. A new basin in a more contemporary shape, designer taps or a new luxury vinyl tile floor can make it as good as new.
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