The best and worst property improvements

The best and worst property improvements

Most of us will at some point have sat in our house and drawn up a dream list of the improvements we’d like to make to our homes or buy to let property. Maybe you’re a little tired of your kitchen or fancy converting your large loft into something a little more useful?

Perhaps, as many do, you’ve just purchased a property that needs a little TLC and you’re thinking of the best ways to go about making it look as good as new. A lick of paint, a new bathroom, a change in carpets. There’s a tendency amongst homeowners to assume that anything we throw some money at in the pursuit of a better home is bound to increase its value and, in truth, we’ve probably all used the excuse to justify a little spending spree.

The research and facts, however, don’t back this up and it has been found that there is a fairly well-defined list of improvements that will indeed increase the value of our homes, but there are also a number of changes that might actually lower it.

GoCompare Home Insurance, with the assistance of property expert Henry Pryor, has published research which shows the home improvements which add value to a property and those which could end up backfiring.

Somewhat predictably the most profitable investments are the least exciting. At the top of the list compiled by the insurance comparison site is a new boiler, and the returns are fairly staggering. For an investment of just £1,995 home owners could increase the value of an averagely priced house by £9,000.

For a slightly larger initial output of £4,250 you could install central heating which could add £9,024 to the value of your property. Other significant improvements that you could make to increase the value of your property include a garden makeover (+£2,256), knocking through two rooms to create one larger space (+£4,512), installing double glazing (£9,024), fresh paint (+2,256), new bathroom (+£2,256) or a new kitchen (+£4,512).

The worst ‘improvements’ you can make to your home, in terms of cost vs value added, include installing solar panels which would cost an average of £5,000 but only increase your value by £4,500, according to the research.

Similarly, new flooring actually yields a 0% return, costing the same amount as the value added to the property. Painting and decorating, depending on the extent of the work undertaken, is almost cost neutral too if done poorly.

Henry Pryor, co-author of the research, said: ‘Most buyers prefer to pay for the opportunity to be able to add an attic conversion, kitchen extension or convert a basement. Getting planning permission to do the work is frequently the best investment you can make leaving the actual choice of layout, decoration and equipment to the next owner. Improving the green credentials of a house usually pays – a new boiler, insulation or energy saving measures along with security improvements will usually pay off but some additions like solar panels will be hard to get a payback on immediately.’

One thing is for sure, if you’re looking to add value to your property by performing some DIY, it’s absolutely key to do your research.

Spread the word: