Finding the best ways to add value to your home is all important in 2021, with growing fears over house price drops since the global pandemic began. So, if you are thinking of selling up this year, which home improvements will bring you the greatest profits? We ask the experts.
'All too often home sellers will look to improve their property ahead of a sale with the goal of recouping this cost and more with a higher sold price,' advises Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers.
'However, this doesn’t always work out as planned and it’s important to understand what will add value in the eyes of potential buyers and the cost of these improvements versus the return you’ll gain.
'Improving the core foundations and features of a property is always a safe bet. A solid roof, a new boiler and a modern kitchen or bathroom will save a buyer money in the long-run. Decorating is also a cost-effective way to make your home feel fresh and modern and add value during the sale process.
'Of course, it’s important to remember to stay neutral and avoid any loud color schemes or styles that could deter buyers, and this applies to everything from a coat of paint to new kitchen units.'
See more: The home improvements that won't add value – what to avoid when renovating
The home improvements that can add value
Creating your dream home doesn’t come cheap, and when it comes to costly renovations and house design, it's imperative to ensure you’re spending your money wisely.
Our advice, before you begin any major project, ask a trusted local real estate agent for advice about which home improvements they think will make the most difference where you live.
1. Painting and giving your home a decor refresh
The old adage holds true: a lick of paint does wonders. The same can be said for wallpaper, new carpeting or drapes or just simply a general decor refresh.
Not only will it appeal to buyers, but if you have no plans to move anytime soon, there's no harm in redecorating every now and again to ensure your home looks its best and you continue to love living there, too.
For more on paint, check out the latest paint trends here
2. Adding a conservatory or sunroom
The research shows that adding a conservatory or sunroom is the most cost-effective way to add value to your home.
The average cost is around $12,000/£8,000 but adding one will bring an estimated 6% uplift to the value of your property. On a house price of $320,000/£240,000, that’s a boost of $19,000/£14,000, adding $8,000/£6,000 to your property’s price once the cost of the project is accounted for.
3. Replacing a dated kitchen
A kitchen renovation is the next best option for money well spent.
At upwards of $12,000/£8,000 it’s an expensive home improvement but one that can boost your property's value by 5.5%, which equates to $17,400/£13,088 on the average property.
Once the cost of the work is covered, a new kitchen will still add $6,700/£5,088 in additional value to your home.
See more: Kitchen ideas – decor and decorating ideas for open-plan, galley, U-shaped and L-shaped kitchens
Failing that, replacing a tired old kitchen worktop is an easy win when considering ways to improve your home.
Heather from MyJobQuote agrees. 'Not only will this improve the overall aesthetic of your kitchen, but can also be completed with minimal disruption.'
4. Manicuring your front yard
If you have ever walked past a home and 'stopped to smell the roses', you'll recognize the importance of a beautifully manicured front garden. But what can you do to make sure your front garden secures your home sale?
A report found that 67% of people are more inclined to view a house if the garden is up to scratch, as it means less work and better views. Surveying 3,400 people, OnBuy’s Garden Furniture sector presented images of 20 similar-looking houses with different plants in the front garden and asked respondents to rank the houses from most to least desirable.
Hydrangeas rank first, with 78% choosing them as most desirable. The bold flowers are perfect as the ever-changing blooms bring a new sense of character to the front garden. Although their gorgeous appearance can seem high maintenance, with the correct care, they are fairly easy to grow.
In second place are lilies; these minimal effort flowers caught the eye of 71% of potential buyers, who think it makes a home’s exterior more attractive. The flowers return year after year and require minimal care, so they’re definitely worth planting.
Lavender is the third most desired choice, with the fragrant flowering plant attracting 64% of respondents’ attention. The Mediterranean evergreen shrub repels bugs due to its fragrance and it’s easy to grow, as long as it is kept away from moist, wet areas.
The secret to having a garden that appeals to more of your senses is to choose scented flowers that bloom at different times of the year, and give perfume at different times of the day. For example, lavender planted on either side of a path is popular for good reason as you brush the blooms as you pass and so release the scent.
5. Updating a boiler / central heating
A new boiler or central heating system ($2,883/£2,146), is an important factor to consider, especially if you live in the Northern Hemisphere.
And, if you are planning to sell your home, a dated or inefficient boiler can put potential buyers off. It's important to tend to these basics before you put any love into your decor.
6. Fixing a damaged roof
A new roof ($2,200/£1,627) is essential for insulation and structural reasons.
7. Adding a new bathroom
A new bathroom ($1,762/£1,312) is also one of the best tasks to undertake when it comes to the value added once the cost of the work is accounted for. It is often said that potential buyers' look at the kitchen and bathroom first before pursuing a property.
See more: Bathroom ideas – decor ideas for wet rooms, shower rooms and more
8. Double glazing
Double glazing doesn’t add much immediate value and it is costly, however, it will cover its own cost and will bring a long-term benefit where energy efficiency is concerned – and it will save buyers from having to take on the task.
9. A sunny spot in the garden
A recent survey conducted by Rightmove in the UK showed that homes with highly-coveted south-facing gardens could be worth up to $30,000/£22,000 more than those without. The data looked at just under 400,000 three and four bedroom homes and found that a south-facing garden was one of the prime factors for adding value to a home.
Of course, there's not much you can do to change the orientation of your garden, but if you are planning to sell and don't already have one, it's time to create a defined seating area in a sunny spot in your garden so that potential buyers can picture themselves enjoying the weather.
'Without a doubt, we’ve seen huge demand for homes with a south-facing garden,' says David Phillip, partner of David Phillip Real Estate Agents in Yorkshire. 'You’d be amazed at how many people turn up to a viewing and use the compass on their phone to work out where the sun is coming from, it’s a really important requirement.'
10. A Scandinavian-style decor scheme
Scandinavian design has been influencing the way we decorate our homes for decades, but did you know that it can also add value to your home once it comes time to sell up and move on?
Following analysis by Bankrate of the most popular décor designs and hundreds of house prices on online real estate platform Zoopla to determine which interior design style adds the most value to your home, Scandinavian-style was declared the most popular.
11. Decluttering and depersonalizing to add value
Buyers need to see the space they are getting, to see how good value it is. They want to see the condition of the walls and floor which is difficult when most of it is covered with other people’s belongings. By decluttering your home you are also allowing the buyer to see the space and imagine themselves living in it – you are selling a lifestyle and a dream.
Nobody has the exact same taste in décor, and future buyers must be able to visualise themselves living in your space so consider removing any decoration that shows too much personality. Just because something adds character to the property to make it your home, this doesn’t necessarily mean any value is being added to the property’s saleability.
12. Wash the windows!
Getting down to basics now... Prospective buyers will pay more attention to windows, and they will immediately give a sense of how well maintained the rest of the house is. If you have easy access give them a thorough wash and if your house has wooden windows, then consider giving them a fresh lick of paint to stop them looking old and cracked.
13. Making your home improvements 'smart'
Energy-saving and environmentally-friendly enhancements may be good for the planet – but they are also good for your home and your pocket. So what are the top eco-friendly, 'smart' home improvements that you could be making?
With ‘home improvement’ searches up 380% according to Google Trends, it seems we’re focused on updating and fixing-up our homes during lockdown. Interestingly, according to a recent report by Rated People, nearly a third of homeowners (31%) are looking to specifically take on eco-related work at home this year – showing that energy efficiency and green issues are of high importance to homeowners.
The report, which surveyed over 1,000 homeowners, also reveals the top 10 eco focuses that homeowners are tackling – with the number one improvement simply being to install smart lighting, energy efficient LED bulbs that can be automated and controlled via an app. Nearly a third (31%) are making this style of lighting their priority with their home improvements, with upgrading to eco-friendly appliances and double-glazing next on the list, followed by home chargers for electric cars and upgrading insulation.
See: The 10 most hated home décor trends – they may take you by surprise