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Can’t Move? Improve!

by Sarah Halloran

Research released by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors is showing that more and more homeowners are choosing to improve their homes rather than face the uncertainty of putting their home on the market.  The studies revealed that 48% of chartered surveyor estate agents reported that the current slump in the housing market is causing homeowners to carry out renovations and DIY projects to their existing homes.  Adding extra bedrooms or a new bathroom or kitchen were popular renovations of choice as was the restoration of period features.

However, RICS does warn that the cost of improvements is not necessarily going to be covered by any increase in the property’s value.  Homeowners are advised to avoid over-valuing any improvements made or to expect high returns.  It’s important, especially in the case of extensions for example, to ensure that the new accommodation is balanced and in keeping with the rest of the property.  Most areas have a ceiling price to consider too.  Basically this means improving a poor property in a good location could give better returns than improving a good property in a poor location.  RICS advises checking out prices of houses with additional bedrooms before you go ahead with any renovations so you know exactly how much value you could be adding.

So, which improvements add the most value?  Well, before you consider monetary worth, it’s a good idea to consider how the accommodation will benefit you seeing as you could be staying put for a long time to come.  Think about what you would want from a new property and whether you could carry out suitable renovations to your current property. Obviously, extending the garden is usually out of the question, but there are lots of other improvements you can make.

Adding bedrooms is by far the best way to increase the value of your home and could increase the current value by up to 11%.  When considering an extension to your property it’s a good idea to consider the proportions of your home and to avoid cramming in more bedrooms for the sake of it.  Remember, you will also lose a great deal of outdoor space and renovation works will usually take a long time and cause a great deal of disruption, but the returns could far outweigh any inconvenience caused.

Opening up space within your home could also be a good move.  Kitchen-diners are just one of the ways you could improve the interior of your home and more and more buyers are looking for practical uses of space that allow more natural light in.  Just don’t get carried away and start knocking down walls as you could potentially lower the value of your home with one swing of the hammer!

Fitting central heating is not the most exciting of improvements, but it could add a whopping to 13% to the value of your property.  Central heating is also going to benefit you hugely if you are to be staying in the property for a while.  Investment in a high-efficiency boiler is also a good idea and will attract ‘green’ buyers in the future and also look good on your home energy report when you come to sell.

If you have a limited budget then there are other improvements you can make that won’t break the bank.  For example, creating off-road parking could add thousands onto the value of your property, but could cost you as little as £650. Kitchen and bathroom improvements are also ways you can increase the value of your property and there are ways you can carry out these works on a budget or with DIY projects.

David Dalby, Professional Groups Director at RICS said “Most properties provide some potential for expansion and improvement, but we would advise people to think about how much they are investing and their key motivator before undertaking major projects. It is important to think about the style and age of the property before undertaking any works – remember, what appeals to some people may not appeal to others. Costly disappointments can be avoided by prior planning and research. RICS advise that whatever you decide to do with your home you should seek professional advice and ensure all works are carried out by qualified contractors.”

It can be a struggle to sell a property, improvements or not.  If you really believe your home to be unsellable, Channel 4 would like to hear from you.  A new series is in production that aims to solve common property problems and get the nation moving.  Why not get in touch?  You’ll have access to property experts who will bring in genuine buyers and more interest in your property than you ever thought possible!

Interested?  Contact  – 0141 427 6081 or – 0141 427 6074.

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