Makeover fever but what will add value to a home?

Cinema rooms, like this from Finite Solutions, are popular with buyers.
Cinema rooms, like this from Finite Solutions, are popular with buyers.
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Peak property makeover time approaches. Sharon Dale reports on what will add value to your home.

Spring has officially sprung and Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem Locksley Hall says “it is a time when “a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”. For homeowners, it’s a time when thoughts turn to property projects that have been put on the back burner until after the vernal equinox.

The prospect of tackling a side return, loft extension or re-decorating is not at all romantic or deserving of a poem but it could add value to your home and enhance your wellbeing.

*A loft extension should add between five and 15 per cent to the value of your home but even if you just break even it is worth it. You gain an extra room and if you are jumping from two to three bedrooms then your buyer market expands considerably. Most loft conversions come under permitted development and don’t need planning permission but they do require a building regulations certificate. Expect to pay between £15,000 to £40,000 for a conversion.

*Extension: A single-storey extension will add about 15 per cent to the value of your property and a two-storey extension can add up to 20 per cent. Until May 2019, single-storey extensions up to eight metres for detached houses and six metres for other properties come under permitted development. The cost starts at about £1,300 per sq. metre.

*A side return. This is becoming much more common as people opt to stay put rather than move but they are expensive. Expect to pay at least £30,000 to £40,000 and get an uplift in value of about 15 per cent if it is done well. A good architect will be worth every penny on a project like this as maximising natural light and space is key to making it a success.

*A conservatory/garden room. This very much depends on what style and specification you choose. If you create a space that can be used all year round and is not baking hot in summer and a cold, damp no-go area in winter, then expect to add at least five per cent to the value of your home. For inspiration from the top end of the market, see Yorkshire-based Caulfield Company.

*Basement extension. These can cost almost twice as much as a loft extension, according to Homebuilding and Renovating show expert Michael Holmes. They are popular in London where property prices are high and where a return of between 10 and 15 per cent can be expected. Elsewhere, careful analysis is needed. Michael says: “A good quality, well-lit basement living space with access to the garden will be worth considerably more than a dark, converted cellar space with compromised headroom.” If you decide to go down do your homework and hire a builder experienced in cellar conversions and check out his or her previous projects. If the work is done poorly then the building’s structure can be damaged. You may also end up with a musty cave that no-one wants to spend time in.

*A posh shed. There is no doubt that this will make your home more enjoyable and more saleable, especially if your garden building is insulated and useable all year round, with an electricity supply and access to wi-fi. Expect to pay from £5,000 for this. A shed promises many things. It can be a place to work, a play room, a hobby studio and even a guest room. The trend for shepherd’s huts shows that your shed doesn’t have to be enormous to be successful. Estate agents are divided on whether these garden buildings add significant value to a property, though most agree that you may well get back what you paid for it and buyers will love it.

*New kitchen: this is a space you probably spend a lot of time in so it’s worth spending on. If you get the design right it will also make your home more attractive to buyers and could add another two to five per cent on to your property’s value. Bespoke, handmade kitchens are a good investment. Yorkshire is blessed with some of the best kitchen makers who specialise in beautifully-made wood cabinets. A handmade, Shaker-style kitchen will last a lifetime and won’t date.

*Cinema room. This could add two per cent to your asking price especially if you are selling a family home. However, it has to look the part and trailing wires are a big no-no.