Interiors:Home improvements that really add up

Property expert Louisa Fletcher does the maths on what major projects are worth considering to maximise your money

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We’ve all got a good idea about what it takes to get a home ready for sale: declutter, spruce up the paintwork and put out some fresh flowers. Plus there’s the cliché of the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, although I think that’s a little passé…  All properties have good points which need accentuating and sometimes some not-so-good bits that need playing down with clever dressing.

The main factors that really determine its market value remain location and size and the old adage still stands: a property is only worth what a buyer is prepared to pay for it. Nonetheless, while presenting your home at its best will make it more appealing to a prospective buyer, is it worth investing in bigger projects to maximise profit? 

I crunched data provided by property portal to determine the profitability of improvements most commonly made within Permitted Development Rules.  Usually, you can make these changes to your home without applying for planning permission, but do double check what applies to your home before you start.  The figures below are based on a property value of £536,000, which is the current average for London according to the most recent figures from the Office of National Statistics.  

Of course, there are many variables (location, house type and condition) so you need to do your research thoroughly.  What’s seen as desirable – and therefore may add value – in one area of the capital is very different to another.  

Single-storey extension

The average cost for creating an additional ground-floor living area is £40,000 to £45,000 (based on 20m2) which could add an average 7- 10 per cent value. On a £536,000 property this means you could see increases of up to £13,600 profit on this investment.

Two-storey extension

The average cost for a double-height extension project is between £60,000 and £70,000 (based on 41m2). By adding a living space downstairs and another bedroom upstairs, you could add up to 18 per cent value. On a £536,000 property, you might realise increases of up to £36,480 profit. 

Create a driveway

The average cost to convert your front garden to off-road parking if you don’t already have a driveway is between £2,300 and £3,400 (based on 15m2 of tarmac) and can increase the property’s value by between 4 to 8 per cent.  So depending on your location, again based on a property worth £536,000, you could yield up to £40,580 profit.

For more guidance on Permitted Development go to  Follow Louisa @louisafletcher 

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