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Home improvements that can add value to your home

Tom Martin
Written by Tom Martin, Content editor

Edited by Marianne Curphey, Finance Writer, 24 January 2022

Improving your home can add thousands to its value. Does a conservatory add value? We look at how much home improvements cost, what they add and how to pay for them.
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Guide to buildings and contents insurance cover
Guide to buildings and contents insurance cover

Improving your home can add thousands to its value, give you extra space or create a new office for working from home. We look at some key extensions, how much they cost, and how to pay for them.

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Compare both secured and unsecured loans for home improvements with Uswitch.

Home improvement loans

Adding a property extension

Extending your home might involve building an extension, converting your attic or garage, or extending your existing living space.

Extensions range from adding a few more square feet to the living room to multi-room, double-story additions. Some alternations will not need planning permission, while others will need planning permission and the help of an architect and builder.

As many more of us are now working part time from home, you may wish to extend your living space in order to set up a home office.

How much will an extension cost?

It depends on how big you’d like your extension to be, as well as building access, ground and structural conditions around your home, and whether you want a one or two storey extension.

It is important to shop around and gather at least three separate quotes as builders will give you different prices for the job.

According to MyBuilder.com the basic price of building an extension is an estimated £1,100 to £1,400 per square metre.

They use the example of a 20msq extension (4m x 5m), which would cost from £22,000 to £28,000 excl. VAT.

A large extension could cost up to £67,000.

Always get a recommended tradesman, as a badly built extension could both damage the value of your home and cause you longstanding problems. Agreeing a single price for the whole job rather than paying day rates could also save you money.

Going the DIY route will more than halve your costs, but bear in mind you will have to meet building safety code requirements, and any plumbing and electrics will need to be checked. And all gas-fittings must be approved by a qualified gas fitter.

Also consider whether your home insurance will cover you for DIY work.

And remember - you will need planning permission and survey work completed before you begin or you risk being ordered to tear down your extension retrospectively.

Always weigh the cost of the extension, against the price of moving into a bigger home.

Things to consider when extending your property

Will it add value? When you are planning to add rooms or extra space it is a good idea to think about how your extension will add value to your home.

Home improvements that add value to your home include converting the attic and carrying out a garage conversion. According to Zoopla, creating an additional room in the loft increases the sale price of the typical home the most, followed by carrying out a garage conversion.

What is your budget? Think about how much money you have to spend on your home improvement extension, and ask your builder how long it is likely to take, then add around 25% extra to both the cost and the time in order to have a more realistic schedule and cost breakdown. Both add more value than revamping your kitchen or bathroom.

Will you live in or move out? While it is cheaper to live in the property while you are extending it, you will also have to deal with mess, disruption and noise. This could be difficult if you are also trying to work from home. On the other hand, being around to keep an eye on the builders and answer any of their questions could be beneficial.

Could you go green? What are the heating and lighting options in your new extension? Greener solutions such as solar power or a ground source heat pump might be an option. Talk to your builder about the alternatives to electricity and gas, and how to make your home more eco-friendly and energy-efficient.

How could you pay for an extension?

Given the high cost of the extension you could consider either a secured or unsecured loan.

Unsecured, or personal, loans are offered against your credit score and let you borrow as much as £35,000 for typical APRs between 3% and 9%. Repayment terms are typically between one and five years which enables you to spread the cost over the medium term.

However, the amount you are eligible to borrow and the rate you will pay, varies with the quality of your credit score.

Secured loans are offered against your home and allow you to borrow much larger sums, as much as £100,000 and can have repayment periods as long as 30 years.

How much value does an extension add?

This depends on the size and quality of the extension. Estate agents often consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms when quoting value, and often floor area is also used.

Outside of London, property typically costs £900-£2000 per metre square, whilst inside London which.com found that property costs start from around £3,000 per square metre.

Research conducted by Nationwide on the value of improvements to an average three bedroom house found that an extension can add up to 23% to the value of your property.

Single Storey Extension

How much does a single storey extension cost to build and how much value will it add to my home?

According to Checkatrade.com, the average cost for a 20 m squared extension is around £38,000 and it could add between 10% and 20% to the value of your home when it is finished. You may not need planning permission, but it is best to check rather than face a fine or be ordered to remove the extension after it has been built.

How will I pay for a single storey extension?

Given the cost of a single storey extension, a unsecured personal loan might be the best option for you as you are unlikely to be able to borrow this amount of money on a credit card.

Double Storey Extension

How much value does a double storey extension add to my home?

A double storey extension will add significant extra space to your home and could enhance its value by up to 20 per cent of your overall home's value. However, you will need planning permission and buildings approval.

How much will a double storey extension cost?

According to Householdquotes.co.uk, a 40 square metre two-storey extension might cost between £48,000 and £88,000 depending on your budget and the amount of work that needs to be done.

How will I pay for a double storey extension?

Depending on the cost of the double storey extension, you could choose either an unsecured personal loan or a secured loan. Secured loans are offered against your home and allow you to borrow much larger sums, as much as £100,000. However, your home might be at risk if you fail to keep up with repayments.

Garage conversion

How much does a garage conversion add to my house value?

That depends on whether you have off-road parking. If you still have somewhere to park your car, then adding a habitable room might increase the value of your home by around 10%. However, not having a parking space might put off some future buyers.

How much will a garage conversion cost?

A garage conversion can cost between £7,000 and £25,000 depending on how much work you want done. At the cheaper end, your garage conversion might not be as warm or light as the rest of the house. To make it more of a habitable room you will need to spend more money.

How will I pay for a garage conversion?

At the cheaper end of the conversion, you could use a credit card to pay for the work. However, if you are budgeting for £10,000 or more then a better option is an unsecured personal loan.

Loft conversion

Many homes have extra unused space in the attic, which can be converted into another room and adding a lot of extra living space, in a short space of time.

How much will a loft conversion cost?

Just like extensions, the cost of a loft conversion varies with the structural conditions of your building, the access to your attic, and what work you want done, but a typical quote from a builder will usually be anywhere between £15,000-£50,000.

It usually costs around £3000-£6000 per extra window you want added in, depending on the structural conditions and feasibility around your roof.

If it’s easy to access and structurally suitable, the work for a loft conversion can be completed much quicker than building an extension, taking an average of six weeks.

Unless you are altering the roofline of your building, you don’t always require planning permission to convert your loft, unlike an extension. However, it’s still a good idea to seek independent advice from a surveyor, as you don’t want to be caught out.

How could you pay for a loft conversion?

Again, if you don't have access to the funds to pay for the conversion upfront, you could consider using either a secured or unsecured loan.

You will enjoy relatively low APRs compared to credit cards, but you will have regular monthly repayments that you need to meet each month, so make sure you can commit to the monthly ongoing expense.

Home improvement loans

Compare both secured and unsecured loans for home improvements with Uswitch.

How much value could a loft conversion add?

As a rule, loft conversions do not add as much value as extensions and sometimes the loss of storage space can even have a negative effect, so consider carefully before proceeding.

But, location is key when it comes to adding value. In cities such as London, where space is at a premium, adding an extra room will likely add many thousands to the value of your home.

Conservatory

Building a conservatory is a quick way of adding space to your home with a bright sunny room. You don’t need planning permission, and they can be built within a week or two.

How much will a conservatory cost?

Conservatories come in all shapes and sizes and the cost is dependent on what you want.

The average price of adding conservatory is just under £9,000, but at the luxury end they can cost as much as £100,000.

If you want intricate gabling, brickwork, or high-tech glass your costs will increase accordingly. But shop around for a quote and you could get a better deal to the tune of thousands.

How you could pay for a conservatory

Given that they are typically much cheaper than extensions or loft conversions, you could consider using a credit card instead of a loan.

low APR or 0% purchase credit card could be suitable, as it gives you breathing space if you can't pay off your entire balance in one go.

Unlike a loan you have flexible repayments with a credit card and you can take as long as you like to repay the debt.

However, credit limits on most credit cards may not be large enough to cover the full cost, so a personal loan may be more appropriate. Also, bear in mind that not all tradesmen will accept payment with a credit card.

Does a conservatory add value?

Conservatories tend to add less value to a home than an extension. Location is key, so take look at homes in the area and see if having a conservatory is adding anything to their value.

Using your local price per square metre is a good guide to get a rough idea of how much value you could add, but err on the side of the lower estimates as a conservatory is often not considered a full room when it comes to valuation.

Also make sure your conservatory is in keeping with the rest of your house, as an ugly tacked-on conservatory could even harm the value of your home, or at least make it harder to sell.

Kitchen refurbishment

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home and refitting it with a new modern look can give your home the edge when it comes to selling it.

How much does it cost to refurbish a kitchen?

The cost of refitting a kitchen depends on how competent you are at DIY - if you can install new units, flooring, electrics and plumbing yourself to you will save a great deal of money, as the price of labour and installation will be your biggest cost.

However, by law any gas pipework needs be completed by a qualified gas fitter, so don’t attempt altering the gas fittings or installing a gas oven by yourself.

A set of new units will set you back anywhere between £600 and £5,000 depending on the quality.

Wooden, stone and ceramic flooring will cost you anything from £10-£100 per square metre, laminate flooring is typically cheaper.

Ovens and hobs will cost anything between £3,000 and £300 apiece. A full range oven can come in between £1,500 and £20,000.

How you could pay for a kitchen refit

Again, as the cost is lower than an extension using a credit card could be an option, but if you're looking at paying more than £3,000 a loan is usually a more suitable way to borrow in the long term.

How much value could a kitchen refit add?

It’s hard to define how much value a modern fashionable kitchen will add to your home, but it can add a bit of 'wow-factor', helping you to stand-out and making it easier to sell at your asking price.

That said, following fashion can be dangerous, so make sure you seek advice before spending money on re-fitting your kitchen - if not done tastefully you could find your kitchen is putting potential buyers off.

Home improvement loans

Compare both secured and unsecured loans for home improvements with Uswitch.

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