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Think like a property developer to add real value to your home

When it comes to residential property, those who have invested in bricks and mortar have every reason to be pleased with their decision. Not only is your property a valuable asset that provides a secure home for you and your family, you can rent it out to generate a steady income stream. Demand for UK rental property has been consistently strong, so there are good long-term returns to be had.

In terms of capital growth, residential property has proved to be a powerful investment vehicle over the decades. And while we may no longer be able to take large price increases for granted, especially in view of current market wobbles, there are still many excellent opportunities for property owners to add value to their assets.

Whether you’re planning to work your way up the property ladder or simply get the best price for your house, it pays to think like a property developer and use these 7 tips to maximise the value of where you live now.

  1. Convert the basement

Does your property have a basement or cellar that you use for storage? Converting existing underground space into additional living space can boost the value of your property by up to staggering 30%. Unless your building project involves structural changes to a listed building, significantly alters the external appearance of the building or constitutes a separate property, you’re unlikely to need planning permission for a basement conversion, which makes this home improvement option a no brainer.

Of course, if you don’t currently have any below-ground space to play with, you can do what many London home owners do and dig down to add square footage. Be warned that major works to excavate a new basement are not for the faint hearted and will require a specialist construction team and structural engineers.

  1. Remodel a house into several flats

Thinking like a professional landlord, ask yourself: what type of property is most in demand in your local area? If you have, say, a 3 bedroom house but rental demand is strongest for 2-bed flats, why not take a look at the layout to see if you can convert your house into two flats?

Splitting the building into separate units in this way is a popular move by landlords in London and other towns and cities where flats are in high demand. Done properly, it can add up to a third to the capital value of your property while maximising your rental yield.

  1. Put an extra bedroom in the loft

Loft conversions are another obvious way to transform an existing, underused space into additional living areas. Consult a reputable local builder who specialises in residential loft conversions, such as Whitehead Builders, and ask them to assess if your roof space is suitable for conversion. A loft with a bedroom (and ideally with an en suite bathroom or shower room) has the potential to increase the value of your home by 15%.

Depending on the shape, size and dimensions of your roof space, there are different types of loft conversion available including a roof-light conversion, adding dormer windows or a mansard conversion. The majority of loft conversions fall under permitted development rights and therefore won’t need planning permission, but do check with your local planning authority, as rules and regulations can be complex.

  1. Integrate your garage into your living space

Do you have a built-in garage that you never park the car in? Rather than letting ‘stuff’ accumulate in the underused garage, how about converting the space to add to your interior living space? It could enhance the value of your home by around 15%.

Once you’ve checked with your local planning authority to seed whether planning permission is needed (which is unlikely) and you’re complying with building regulations, the build itself should be relatively straightforward. The extra room could serve a variety of uses – home office, library, teenage den, yoga studio, consulting room…

  1. Add a kitchen extension

Kitchens sell houses – every estate agent in the land will tell you so. If your present kitchen is small, think about ways to extend it and gain up to 15% on the value of the property. Why not assess the layout of the building to see where you could extend?

Many traditional semi-detached houses, for instance, have a narrow side alley that runs parallel to the kitchen. Extending into this space will not only give your valuable extra kitchen space but may improve the entire flow of the downstairs area. Incorporating roof lights or a glass ceiling will ensure that plenty of natural light floods into the kitchen.

A single storey side extension will typically fall under permitted developments but do double check to make sure you meet all the conditions. Of course, the build will also have to comply with building regulations – make sure you are given the completion certificate at the end.

  1. Build a conservatory

Open up the downstairs area by connecting the indoors and outdoors. A fully glazed conservatory can give your home the wow factor and add up to 10% to its value. When it comes to style and design, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Traditional or modern, uPVC or wooden frame, solar control or self-cleaning glass – the options are endless.

Again, you should check that your planned conservatory is considered to be permitted development, and that building regulations are complied with. In the case where the conservatory wall links to the house and you wish to remove the doors between them, you may need to prove that the energy efficiency of the extension is on a par with the rest of the house.

  1. Don’t forget the exterior

It’s all very well making interior improvements to your property, but don’t let the building down by neglecting its outward appearance. Kerb appeal can make a 10% difference to the value of your property. Invest some time tidying up the garden, perhaps by adding a deck or patio as a space to entertain, or a summerhouse for added garden interest.

Finally, don’t forget that first impressions are crucial, so if you’re putting your house on the market, spruce up the front of the house with a lick of paint, shiny ironmongery and some attractive greenery.


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