Working out how to add value to your home is the holy grail for all homeowners. At Draw Plans we take hundreds of calls each month relating to how to increase the value of your home and we always offer the same advice which is to modernise, to extend and to always use the services of a professional designer who will know all about adding value to your home.
Location is easily the most important element when it comes to adding value to your home. To prove my point let us take a regular 3mt x 5mt extension and add it to a similar property in different locations. This is how it would work out:
· Fulham SW6 / 3mt x 5mt extension will add value of £133k
· Streatham SW16 / 3mt x 5mt extension will add value of £90k
· Sutton SM1 / 3mt x 5mt extension will add value of £67k
It is hard to believe that the same extension built about 5 miles apart could differ so much but they do and it is for that reason that location is the number one key ingredient when it comes adding value to your home.
At Draw Plans, one of the first things we do when a client asks us to extend their home is to check out the postcode to see where we stand in relation to adding value. The last thing we want to do is to design a beautiful house extension for a property that will end up leaving our client out of pocket, in effect over development.
Only recently we took on a client that wanted to practically double up his floor space with a massive extension to the side of the property. An extension of this size would have a huge impact on the property but also on the value. The problem through is that we estimated that the cost of the extension would take him past £100k but the value added was £100k. Now you might think that’s okay, but you have to understand that when we talk about adding value to your home what we really mean is that we want to make a profit. Anyone can add value to their home, but the trick is to add value at a lower cost than the additional value added to your home.
Am I making myself clear?
Let’s take another example where my imaginary friend called Jack adds a 3mt x 5mt extension to his home in Tooting SW17. The value added to his home was £109k which is great news as the cost building an extension came in at £60k. What this means is that Jack now has more living space and a far nicer home but even more importantly has made a profit of about £39k.
This is what we mean when we talk about adding value to your home. It’s not simply about extending or modernising but doing so in a way that you actually add more value than it costs to have the work done.
So, what happens if I don’t live in a great postcode area, I hear you ask? I’m tempted to tell you to move to a new house but if you do happen to live in such a neighbourhood then you have to be more careful when it comes to extending or doing large projects as you could end up out of pocket. When it comes to adding value to your house the trick is to add more value than what it costs to do the work. If the value you add is less than the cost of having the work carried out, then you will end up out of pocket and that is to be avoided.
Before we get into detail on which projects will add value to your home lets first have a look at two of the worst home improvements that do not add value to your home.
HOME IMPROVEMENTS THAT DO NOT ADD VALUE TO YOUR HOME
The number one home improvement that does not add value to your home is a conservatory. Well, perhaps they add a little value but what I mean is that they usually cost far more than the value added to your home.
A conservatory is nothing more than a glass box attached to the back of your home for occasional use. In the summertime you really can’t use it if you are getting direct sunlight all day and, in the winter, they tend to be too cold for everyday use. In effect you are adding a box to the back of your house which you can get some use out of but because you can’t use it all year long, they add little or no value.
In fact, many homeowners that come to Draw Plans for house extension plans confirm that they are removing an existing conservatory which is becoming increasingly popular as homeowners realise it would be far better to remove their conservatory and build a solid extension which can be opened up the house and used all year around.
Years ago, you could pick up a conservatory for a few thousand pounds and homeowners were happy enough to spend a few thousand for a room that they could use occasionally. Of course, like all things, the conservatory has evolved over the years and now cost £20k/£50k which is a serious amount of money to spend on a box that adds little or no value to your home.
The number two home improvement that does not add value to your home has to be a uPVC porch. They may be practical; they may keep the cold out and the heat in, but they simply don’t add value to your home.
There are so many bad examples of porch designs it almost makes me fearful when clients tell us they want to add a porch. Integrating a new porch with any property is skilled work and needs to be done in a manner that makes the porch look like it is an original part of the house. This of course is in complete contrast to the thousands of ugly white boxes we see dotted on homes around the country and why they are a complete turnoff for many homebuyers.
At Draw Plans we advise, have a porch if you want, it is your home but don’t expect to add more value than the cost of the porch.
Now that you have been warned on the two worst home improvements to make if you are looking to add value to your home lets get back to how to add value to your home.
TOP 2 HOME IMPROVEMENTS THAT WILL ADD VALUE TO YOUR HOME
The Kitchen – The Hub of The Modern Home. Gone are the days when the kitchen was a small dark space with a serving hatch. Oh, the good old days… Seriously, modern kitchens look fantastic and they have become the hub of the home as everyone likes to spend more time in a nice open-plan living space.
At Draw Plans we tend to design kitchens for modern living which usually means a breakfast bar or an island if the space permits. These are key elements of a lovely open-plan kitchen that tends to enhance the value of the kitchen for users and homebuyers.
In effect, a well-designed kitchen suited for its environment will most certainly add value but you have to ensure you employ brains and common sense if you don’t want to spend more on the kitchen that the value added to your property.
Before you rush out to order a kitchen ask yourself a few questions such as:
· What kind of neighbourhood do you live in. Is the postcode a good one?
· Are you in a flat or a house?
· How many bedrooms do you have?
· How much are you going to spend on a new kitchen installation?
Serious questions such as those should be answered before you choose your kitchen. The aim behind it is that you don’t overspend, don’t install too big a kitchen and don’t get carried away with the nice photos and glossy lifestyles.
Lets talk to my friend Jack again who just bought a 2-bed flat in Balham SW12. He wants to change the kitchen over so how much should he spend? £5k / £10k / £15k / More…
At Draw Plans our view is that most flat owners move every 3 / 4 years so it would be pointless to install a top quality kitchen unless you live in a really decent postcode and you intend to stay there for 10 years or more.
If we look at the major kitchen brands, the ones that advertise on tv, we are looking at brands such as:
These are the companies that dominate the UK kitchen scene and to be honest the prices don’t seem to vary too much as they all have a few different ranges.
The problem is that homeowners tend to pick the kitchen they like rather than go for a particular brand. This is a big mistake if you are looking at adding a kitchen that will add value to your home as the kitchen you like usually costs more than the value added to your home. This is a fact, not a theory.
At Draw Plans, our approach has always been to create beautiful kitchens that are suitable for their environment and add more value than the cost of the installation. So, for example, say you like a shaker style kitchen for your home. Which company would you buy from? One of the top four above I would imagine but that would be a mistake as we can show you how to reduce costs dramatically if only you shopped around.
Ask yourself what makes a great looking kitchen? The style is hugely important for homeowners and that is absolutely fine. After style what comes next? Is it the worktops? The doors? The appliances? In reality it is a combination of all of those elements that make up the general look of the kitchen. That is what the average homeowner sees and in effect what they buy is a look or a style rather than anything else.
So, the trick is how to achieve a great looking kitchen that adds value to your home but does not cost a fortune. The answer is simple:
· Buy the carcasses of the units at IKEA who make the best flat packs in the world.
· Shop around for the kitchen cabinet doors you like.
· Source the woodblock worktop online – great prices delivered to your door.
· Choose your appliances carefully and get the best deals you can find.
By shopping around and putting your kitchen together from various suppliers you will save thousands on the cost of your kitchen.
Good design is also an essential agreement so have a professional design your kitchen rather than a biased kitchen salesman that will try to add on every conceivable extra he or she can think of. Do come to Draw Plans for expert advice and a free quote.
When it comes to installation, it is far too easy to accept the installation charge offered up by the kitchen company and our advice is to say no as you have your own installation team. All of the kitchen companies will charge £2.5k or more to install your kitchen. If you go to MyBuilder or Checkatrade you should be able to find a kitchen installer and have your kitchen installed for around £1.5k.
Draw Plans will be happy to hear from you with regard to a new kitchen installation project so just get in touch if you want us to show you how to cut costs and get a design quote.
THE BATHROOM – WHERE WE ADD VALUE TO OUR HOME THAT COSTS MORE THAN THE VALUE ADDED
Yes, iIt’s a fact. We waste thousands on overly elaborate bathrooms with all the latest designer white goods and fittings. Just look at the tiles we are using and the cost? It is absolute madness to spend so much on bathrooms unless you are going to keep the property for 30 years or so and have the value though the pleasure of using the bathroom.
Another fact, most new bathrooms cost more than the value added to your property. The main reason behind that is that homeowners spend too much on the fittings and the need for having every conceivable luxury.
I still remember one of our clients who spent £50k plus on his en-suite bathroom. We spent weeks going back and forth with sketches and drawings attempting to satisfy his madness and in the end, we just gave up because he was changing his mind five times a day and driving us all mad.
What you have to take into account is whether you have a house or a flat, whether you have a good quality postcode and how long you are intending to reside at the property. I know for fact that we have clients who re-mortgaged to pay for upscale home improvements and then sold up a few years later. What this means is that they will be paying for those home improvements for the life of the mortgage, so you really don’t want to end up paying for a bathroom for the next 20 years that someone else is using. It’s just plain crazy to borrow money for home improvements of this nature unless you are going to stay put and even then, our advice is to not go over the top and stay focused on value.
When it comes to new bathroom installations we tend to stay with classic white goods. Don’t be conned into having the latest shapes which costs 2 or 3 times more. Get a standard steel tub and for @#^$ sake don’t buy a bidet.
Most people looking over a bathroom don’t look specifically at the white goods but what the do look at is the taps, shower and tiles. Get that right and your bathroom will look great even if you bought the cheapest white goods at B&Q or Wickes.
When it comes to adding value to your home it is the design, the style and the look rather than the price of the fittings so for your next bathroom project look hard at the elements that make up a great bathroom before splashing out on extras such as electric floor heating that nobody uses.
Draw Plans are architectural technicians based in South London and we will be delighted to hear from you with regard to designing your next bathroom installation and providing you with expert advice as to how to install a new bathroom that really will add value to your home. 020 3921 0745