Going open-plan could decrease your home's value... and other things you shouldn't do before selling up

Think twice before you attempt one of these costly changes

Millennials struggling to get out of rental trap and buy their own homes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to planning home renovations, it's easy to get carried away with dreaming of that extra bedroom, bold makeover or open-plan kitchen diner.

Before you launch into your newest project, though, you might want to think twice – those much-coveted additions and adjustments could cost you when you come to sell up.

Hitachi Personal Finance has identified the top four home improvements that could decrease the value of your property, backed by experienced estate agents.

1. Tearing down walls

The trend for open-plan living means that many of us are taking down walls to create the perfect kitchen-diner-sitting area. But while the idea of a light and airy space might have you drooling, reducing the number of rooms could put potential homebuyers off. 'Homebuyers see extra rooms as a way of separating the functions of the house, so avoid converting two bedrooms into one larger room,' says Bola Ranson of Ranson estate agency.

2. Ignoring your market

Think about it: while adding an extension can up the value of your home, most homebuyers looking for a £400,000 home won't want to live on a street where every other property is £200,000.

It's worth considering your ideal buyer, too. If it's a young professional, for example, are they really going to appreciate the thousands of pounds you spent on a landscape gardener?

3. Over-personalisation

Dark, eclectic schemes might be high on our wishlists right now, but it's important to remember that most people will have very different tastes to you, and your bold colours, eccentric patterns or unusual textiles could put off potential buyers.

That doesn't mean you can't go ahead with your Jackson Pollock-esque feature wall, though – just be aware that you'll need to redecorate in neutral colours before you sell.

4. Avoiding paperwork

We know, we know – it's the boring part of owning a home that no one wants to think about. But making sure your home transformations are legitimate and have the right accreditations. That means that loft conversions and extensions need to be done under the with the right permissions, including any building control checks – and you need the paperwork to prove it.

Ellen Finch
Deputy editor

Joining as features editor in 2017, Ellen now looks after the day-to-day running of Real Homes magazine as deputy editor. She also commissions and writes many of the real case studies you'll see on the site, and loves speaking to people about their homes and get the details on the hacks they've tried and loved. She's currently gearing up to buy a home of her own in 2023 – hopefully with a garden to plant veg and wildflowers – and has a special interest in sustainable living, clever book storage, and cats.