Top home improvements

Adding space is one of the best ways to improve your home and increase its value.
PA Photo/thinkstockphotosPA Photo/thinkstockphotos
PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

If you’ve outgrown your home, but can make it bigger by building an extension or converting the loft, cellar or garage, doing the work is often more economical than moving to a larger property, and gives you a chance to create living space tailored to your needs.

However, be careful not to extend your home in the wrong way. For example, if you’re converting the loft to create an extra bedroom and there isn’t enough living space downstairs for the total number of bedrooms, you’ll be making the house too top heavy. If you’re concerned about resale, ask a local estate agent whether the work you’re considering is advisable.

Modernising a home stuck in a different decade is always going to add value, and make it more sellable and nicer to live in. Central heating is vital because most of us want it, but installing it is expensive and disruptive - it’s something to do at an early stage of renovating. The same applies to rewiring - old wiring isn’t always obvious, but can be dangerous. Having a property rewired is also expensive and disruptive and can create more work and expense because you often have to replaster afterwards.

It’s said the rooms that sell homes most are the kitchen and bathroom. Again, this is because updating them is costly and it’s not easy being without either while the work’s being done. Day to day, replacing a dated kitchen or bathroom with a modern one will make a big difference to your life, and you can fit a new one inexpensively, although it’s not hard to spend a lot. If you can create one, an open-plan kitchen-diner/family room is the most popular type of kitchen these days, as it’s ideal for family life and entertaining.

En-suite bathrooms are another good way to add value and make your home life easier, especially if you have kids. You should have at least one bathroom for every three bedrooms, but when everyone’s getting ready in the morning, there can be a lot of pressure on that one bathroom. This is when another bathroom comes in very handy. It’s also useful to have a bathroom on every floor where there are bedrooms, so, for example, loft-conversion bedrooms with a bathroom are usually more valuable and useful than those without.

In areas where parking space is limited, off-street parking is a big plus, although it’s most likely to add value in expensive urban areas. You may need planning permission from your local council for both the off-street parking and a dropped kerb so you can access it easily - visit for more information.