1. Improve the layout
You don’t always need an extension to increase the space in your home; sometimes it’s the layout or room size that is wrong. Improving the spatial flow or maximising the views to the garden can add tens of thousands if done right, but take structural advice before you start. An architect can offer suggestions for improving the interior, perhaps by removing internal walls to open up a kitchen-dining space, or to create a larger room from several smaller ones.
- Cost: Removing a wall and inserting a supporting beam will be £5,000, plus redecoration costs
2. Install new windows
If your house has single glazing, consider having double or even triple glazing (if there is outside noise), as it will improve the warmth and energy rating of your home. If it was double-glazed more than 15-20 years ago, the windows may no longer be performing well, or the seal could have gone in the unit. In this case, they will probably need replacing. New windows in keeping with the style of the house can enhance its external appearance considerably.
- Cost: Around £25,000, for a typical four-bedroom house
- Added value: £40,000-£60,000
You may also consider additional windows to improve internal light, especially in north-facing rooms. Rooflightsflood a space with natural light. If it is not possible to install these, try to add a window where the best light source is available – opting for obscure glass if this means facing a neighbour’s house. Check with the duty planner at your local council before proceeding with installation.
- Cost: £2,000 per new opening
- Added value: £5,000-£10,000
3. Convert your loft
Converting your loft will offer additional space for an extra bedroom, office or playroom. A dormer extension will give you extra headroom, but site these to the back of the property rather than the front or side, to be less visually intrusive.
- Cost: £30,000-£40,000
- Added value: Any additional room should increase the value of your home by around £50,000-£60,000
4. Upgrade your central heating
Installing efficient central heating creates warmth; potentially reduces energy bills; and is appealing to future buyers. Upgrading doesn’t always mean you need a new boiler. Some plumbers dismiss older models because they aren’t familiar with them, so get more than one opinion.
Cast iron radiators look attractive in a period home, but, to economise, you could reserve these for the ground-floor rooms that are on show, then use steel or aluminium models elsewhere. If you are investing in a new boiler, consider a combi in houses up to four bedrooms. A pressurised system is normally best in larger properties, or if you have low incoming water pressure, as it means you can have more than one shower running at once and still have a strong flow of water.
- Cost: For a new boiler, £2,000 plus. If you require new pipework and radiators as well as a new boiler, £7,000-£10,000
- Added value: £10,000-£15,000
5. Add an en suite bathroom
These are desirable if you have the space to create one, but for resale, they do need to include a toilet, so you will need to consider the drainage. Be wary of compromising too much space in the bedroom or you will lose the impression of a luxury master suite.
- Cost: £5,000-£10,000
- Added value: If done well, as much as £30,000
6. Adapt your garage
It can be tricky to disguise what a converted garage once was, but don’t let that put you off as they are great for creating extra ground-floor space without the cost of an extension. They are often a natural space to extend your kitchen into for an open-plan, kitchen-diner-living room, or to designate as a playroom or media room.
- Cost: £20,000 plus
- Added value: Around £50,000
7. Install a new kitchen
A brand-new kitchen will add value to your home, especially something neutral that will suit most people’s tastes. Open-plan rooms are very popular, so look at knocking through to a smaller room. Kitchen designers can optimise optimising your space, and suggest I integrated appliances and modern amenities – such as a larder cupboard or hot water tap – to give your kitchen an edge.
- Cost: £10,000–£20,000 for the kitchen and building costs
- Added value: £20,000-£50,000
8. Create a downstairs cloakroom
The first consideration here is drainage; if you can’t site the toilet on an outside wall or where it can connect straight to the mains, don’t do it. Avoid macerators as they are noisy, easily blocked and won’t add value at resale.
Ensure you site a downstairs toilet in a convenient place, ideally leading off the hallway and with an outward- opening door. There used to be a requirement for having two doors between a downstairs toilet and a kitchen. This has now been relaxed – so long as adequate space has been left for a hand basin to abide by building regulations.
- Cost: £2,000
- Added value: £10,000
9. Build a balcony or roof terrace
Theses can provide outside space where the light is best (useful if your main garden faces north – you could site a balcony on the south side), or simply add a design feature to your home. With a Juliet balcony, it would make it possible to put in French doors, increasing
- Cost: £5,000
- Added value: £20,000
10. Replace your roof
If nothing else, you need to ensure there is adequate insulation as this will improve your energy rating and reduce heating costs. If you have old concrete roof tiles, changing them to slate will add value and enhance the appearance of the exterior. Roofs last a long time – a new one is a great selling point as potential buyers will see they won’t need to worry about replacing it in the future.
- Cost: £15,000
- Added value: £40,000-£50,000
About the author:
Melanie Clear is the founder and director of Clear Architects. With experience in both commercial and residential architecture, she believes that great design takes careful though, vision and a deep understanding of a building’s structure.