Consider this common scenario. You want to spend some of your ‘hard earned’ on investing in your home, but you are not sure what projects will give you the best bang for your buck, provide the biggest return on your investment and add the most value to your home.
Before you undertake any home improvement project, the first thing you need to do is work out why you are doing it. Are you aiming to improve the living space for your family? Improve the comfort or energy efficiency of your home? Or trying to invest wisely to create some value in readiness for a potential sale? Your rational for undertaking a project will determine just how important the economics are. That is, if you are extending your home because your family is growing, the “return on investment” won’t be as important as it would be if you were improving your home in readiness for sale. However, for any project it doesn’t make sense to throw away your hard-earned cash, so you should always keep an eye on the cost versus the benefit.
To better understand which projects might be worth the time, effort and money, we present our top practical home improvement tips.
- The garden is key - that is if you have one. Whether you have a big garden or not, first impressions count! So, if you're selling your property you need to give the garden space some attention in order to form the right impression and create ‘kerb appeal’! Some of the things to consider include adding a ‘key selling point’ such as a well-presented summer house. Alternatively, sheds are not only practical, but they are coming back into fashion. They can be used from anything as a useful place to store bikes and lawnmowers to a garden ‘man cave’. Other things to consider include adding a patio, putting out garden furniture and ensuring the garden is private. However, before doing any of this, just like inside your home, some decluttering and garden maintenance can add value to your property at minimum cost. Always start with simple maintenance like tidying up the lawn, weeding and keeping the garden tidy. A recent survey by dataloft has suggested that a well tended to garden can add up to 20% to the value of a home.
- Kitchens are the heart of the home and the most important place at parties! There’s nothing more appealing than a big welcoming kitchen, and if you only want to improve one room, then definitely concentrate on this. You can add a few simple touches to really make it stand out without spending a fortune. For example, if laminate is damaged, there are companies who will re-laminate kitchen doors, cupboards and worktops for a fraction of the cost of replacing them. A fresh backsplash is also a good way to update the look of the kitchen while giving the impression of a much bigger renovation. A new kitchen backsplash is surprisingly affordable and DIY-able.
- After the kitchen, your bathroom should be next on the list for an overhaul, especially if it’s looking dated e.g. that avocado green colour that was deemed fashionable in the 80’s. Instead, opt for a crisp white suite so it appeals to the majority of people. Also consider adding a few eye-catching stylish features to make it a room to remember rather than just another functional space. This can be an expensive investment, but if it's something that needs doing then it becomes a necessity
- A garage conversion to another reception room might be more useful than a garage, especially for a family with small children. This is a simple trade off between more interior space v the need for off road parking. Even if you don’t undertake this project, if you are selling the property you should think about drawing up plans and applying for planning permission so potential buyers see the opportunity for expansion.
- Adding to or updating the central heating system will nearly always add more to the value of a property than it costs and should be done in conjunction with improving the general energy efficiency of the building.
- Having somewhere to park the car is a big plus for most buyers. With 30 million cars registered for use in the UK, as a country we clearly do like our vehicles. Parking spots are becoming even more scarce, making them especially valuable. If you don’t already have parking but do have a front garden, consider paving part of it to create off-road parking. You might have to apply to have the kerb dropped, but it’s still well worth investigating.
- Conservatories are another good way of adding square footage to your property. Consider adding one next to your dining area or kitchen to increase the size of these greatly appreciated spaces and make them even more appealing at social gatherings.
- At one time, the ‘go to’ project was a loft conversion. In terms of adding value, it is likely to be a very good investment providing it adds more accommodation space than it takes away (for example, making room for a full staircase).
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