In the current uncertain property market it is understandable that many households are staying put, but in doing so, we have spent around £48 billion improving our homes over the last five years.
A report from estate agent body, NAEA Propertymark, suggests that spending increased at the same time as the market slow down began. We are no longer spending money to add value to our homes; now we are adding space. Extensions, such as single storey back-of-house projects typically add little monetary value to a home, but they can add significantly to a family’s quality of life.
Lifestyle improvements were the choice of 55% of those questioned in the NAEA survey, even though only a quarter thought the spend would add value to their home.
Decoration was the most popular choice (72%) but new flooring, garden landscaping and bathroom renovation were popular for around 40% of those surveyed. Here’s what we’re spending our money on:
The average spend over the last year was nearly £1,000 on replacement furniture, house painting or creating additional storage space. However, if you’re redecorating to add value to your home, make sure you don’t add too much of your own ‘personality’ to the project. Painting a ‘trompe l’oeil’ might add interest but decorating in bold and bright colours can be an immediate turn-off for home buyers.
With an average spend of £5,600 simply to upgrade, it is little surprise that most of us don’t completely replace our kitchens. Painting door fronts and changing the handles can be a cost effective way of getting a fresh look – and doesn’t require the skills of a hard-to-find builder.
Replacing out of date tiling or regrouting to freshen existing tiles is a cheap and easy alternative to replacing the whole bathroom. The average spend is just over £3,000 but you could simply replace the taps.
Most homes these days already have double glazing but if yours is old, particularly if it is set into the frames of older wooden frames, it probably isn’t built to modern day energy-saving specifications. The average spend on double glazing is £3,000 but could be cheaper if you refurbish the frames you have.
Combining Indoor Space
Creating open plan areas by combining existing rooms, such as dining room and kitchen, is a relatively easy way to add space without building an extension but, at a time when single use rooms are coming back into fashion, you might find that simply decluttering has a similar effect. Problems with circulation within the home can often result from a badly positioned door; repositioning the opening in the opposite direction or from left to right hinges can made a huge difference. The average spent on creating space was almost £5,000 but knocking down a wall might cost considerably more.
Convert the Loft
Loft conversions can be an expensive home improvement, although it is often a relatively easy improvement to make and if done well can be a good return on the investment.
Create Garden Space
An average spend of £4,500 might give you a very usable quality built office/shed, which even at that price could come with insulated walls and double glazing. Most don’t even need planning permission (check locally) but you might consider acquiring a lawful development certificate from your planning authority. If you’re adding a bedroom or plumbing then the price will be considerably higher – and you may need to apply for planning permission as well.
If you’re thinking of ‘adding value’ to your home by undertaking an ambitious project, ask a Chartered Surveyor for his opinion on the structural elements of your house – before you begin to make changes – or you might find you’ve added expensive problems when you come to sell.