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7 ways to increase the value of your property

Did you know you could add £50,000 to the value of your property just by knocking down a wall? Here’s how to make money by improving your home. 

Did you know you could add £50,000 to the value of your property just by knocking down a wall? Here’s how to make money by improving your home. 

Written by
Anna McEntee
Home, pet and travel insurance expert
31 DECEMBER 2021
6 min read
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Why renovate your home?

Investing in your home can reap huge financial reward, as well as making it a nicer place to live. How much value you can add depends on where you live and what type of property you own. So, think about who’s most likely to buy your house and what would appeal to them. 

Here’s how you could increase the value of your home…

1. Install central heating

If you don’t have it already, central heating will add value to your home, as well as making life more comfortable. How much you’ll pay for it depends on the size of your home – in a four-bedroom house, it should cost around £4,000 and take a team of two labourers five days to install.

2. Convert your garage into a living space

Most residential garages are too small for modern cars and have simply become a space for storing junk. But converting a garage is one way to add extra living space to your home. With an average cost of around £14,000, it’s significantly cheaper than an extension or loft conversion, and costs far less than moving house. 

You can use this new-found space as a home office or studio, or create a self-contained studio that would work well for granny or an au pair. You could even rent it out as an Airbnb let. But if you go down the Airbnb route, be sure to tell your insurance provider.

3. Take down internal walls

Live in London? If so, you could add nearly £50,000 to your home’s value by simply taking down an internal wall to create an open-plan kitchen/diner. The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and HomeOwners Alliance (HOA) claim that doing this increases the value of a London house by £48,417.

4. Add a loft conversion

Loft conversions are a relatively simple way to get another bedroom and bathroom. As long as you stick to the rules and make sure your conversion is in keeping with the style of the house, you won’t need planning permission either. 

However, demand for building work is extremely high right now and you may find you have to wait for an available contractor. According to reports, loft conversions that used to take between eight and 10 weeks are now taking 12 to 16 weeks, because builders are so busy. 

Supply issues mean that costs have increased too. According to the Federation of Master Builders, nearly all builders are reporting skyrocketing material prices, with the vast majority passing these costs on to customers. 

How much your loft conversion costs will largely depend on what kind of finish you go for. The most basic option should cost you £15,000-£30,000. But most people tend to opt for a dormer loft conversion, which allows for windows and vertical walls. Costs for this usually come in at around £30,000-£50,000. 

Yes, that sounds expensive. But, of all the home improvements, loft conversions are said to add the most value. Depending on where you live, the result could be an extra 20% on your house price.

5. Extend the kitchen into the side return

The side return is an alley running next to the kitchen, which you’ll often see in Victorian houses. Since it doesn’t have much use beyond bike storage, many people extend their kitchens into it. That way they end up with a large, eat-in kitchen and family room. Again, depending on where you live, this could add 15% to the value of your property.

6. Add a garden room

Adding a garden room is much less hassle than building an extension. Garden rooms are also extremely versatile – you can use yours as an office, playroom, gym, studio or even a guest room. 

Garden buildings have soared in popularity since the start of the pandemic, meaning there are more on the market than ever before. Prices start at around £3,500 for a basic model, rising to around £20,000 for an insulated pod. At the lower end of the price range, Wickes is a good place to start, while John Lewis also stocks an excellent range of garden buildings. 

If you’re working from home, you could find a garden office improves your productivity no end. And since it will add to your home’s square footage, it should also hike up its value too.

7. Convert the under-stairs cupboard into a downstairs loo 

Depending on where you live, this is potentially a great way to increase the value of your home. According to the Federation of Master Builders, it’s a seven-day job that should cost around £2,600. But if you live in Dartmoor, it will add nearly £15,500 to the value of your house.

How to make your house easier to sell

Looking to sell up? You’ll need to make your house stand out. Here are some key tips on how to do it:

Fix any structural issues

This isn’t just about giving your bathroom a new lick of paint – although that can help. It’s about fixing rising damp, mending a leaky roof, repairing cracks and replacing missing roof tiles. Don’t forget the electrics and pipework, which are likely to crop up in a survey. Any faults here could really put off potential buyers. 

All this can add up cost-wise, but it’s essential work. It’s worth getting professional advice from a builder or surveyor to decide which jobs are worth doing.

Make your home look cheerful

That means painting the walls, decluttering and replacing damaged sealant around the bath. Taken individually, these improvements aren’t going to add much to your sale price, but collectively they’ll help create that all-important wow factor. Decluttering and cutting back on furniture will help make rooms look spacious.

A word on insurance

Carrying out home improvements is a great idea, but if you’re undergoing major work, don’t forget to tell your insurance provider. Your property may be at increased risk during the work, which means there may be a small rise in your premium. For more information, read our guide to home renovation insurance

You’ll also need to let your provider know of any changes of use. For example, if you convert a garden shed to run a beauty salon. 

Once the work is done, you’ll need to get your property valued to make sure you have the right level of cover in place. When you upgrade your home, both your contents insurance and buildings insurance premiums may rise. 

Use our comparison service to make sure you’re still getting a good deal on your cover.

Frequently asked questions

How do I find a builder?

The Federation of Master Builders’ website has a useful tool to help you find a builder in your local area.

What should I think about when hiring a builder?

Before you take on a builder, check out their previous work. Have they completed projects similar to yours? Are you satisfied with the quality? Be sure to get several quotes and, to save problems down the line, always have a contract in place before your builder starts work.

What’s the quickest way to add value to my property?

Whether it’s revamping your kitchen or adding a driveway, there are lots of potential ways to increase the value of your home. However, it will all depend on where you live. What goes down well in London might not work in Leicester, where space isn’t so hard to come by. The best thing to do is talk to local estate agents, who can tell you what’s in demand in your area and where it’s worth spending your money.

What’s the cheapest way to add value to my house?

You don’t have to spend a fortune to add value to your home. Replacing the front door is a relatively affordable way to add kerb appeal. And if you can stretch to repainting the exterior, you should find it pays real dividends when you come to sell.

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Anna McEntee - Insurance expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

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