Which alterations will add value – or at least sale ability – to your property development, and just how far should you go?

When it comes to property development, research is all important. Before you begin any work on the house you’ve bought, and ideally before you’ve even bought it, do lots of background work to find out the following. What’s selling well in the area? Three bedroomed houses? Homes with garages? Houses with loft conversions? What are they selling for – and

what’s the difference in value between the most beautifully developed and the house you’re interested in? What market will you be aiming at and what are these people’s needs? What do local estate agents advise?

Once you’ve got all the answers and feel satisfied that you are developing your property sensibly, talk to the planning department to check your plans would be approved, set a realistic budget, including extra money for any unforeseen (but inevitable) jobs and a schedule. Then, do your utmost to stick to these.

Exterior Makeovers

First impressions always count. ‘Any estate agent will tell you how many people dona��t even bother going in to view a house that they dislike on arrival,’ says Hugo Tugman founder of Architect Your Home.

So start by improving the curb appeal. ‘Opt for a consistent window design, a well-proportioned entrance and a strong roofline. These will give buyers the impression of a house that feels complete and is a sound investment,’.Then change casement windows for sliding sash windows, replace concrete wall tiles with hand-made terracotta and build a porch to give the house self-importance,’ he adds.

If your house is really ugly, there are companies that will completely transform your house’s exterior. Get ideas at Back To Front Exterior Design.

For More Information

If the loft space of your property is undeveloped it’s almost certainly worth converting it. Why? If you’ve got the budget, it will add value, an extra bedroom and potentially an extra bathroom – all without impacting on the space downstairs or outside.

addvalue1Convert the Loft

The loft space can be as much as 30% of the total floor area of a property and can be turned into a living space by adding windows and stairs. As little as A?17,000 could produce a new 6m x 5m attic room with two Velux windows, says Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Not all lofts are suitable for conversion. They need to be 2.4m high to allow for steel beams, a suspended floor and a ridge beam which all take space from the room. Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian houses loft conversions tend to be simple: big roof spaces easily lend themselves to airy living spaces. With modern homes ita��s not so easy because of load-supporting beams which hold the roof up. But it can be done. Contact specialists such as for information.

A number of specialist loft companies, including offer a package. They design the extension, draw up the plans and build the loft extension. So this means builder, plasterers, plumbers, electricians and architects are all in place. If you dona��t use a loft company you need to make sure the builder you choose has experience of loft extensions. Ask friends and family for recommendations, or visit the Federation of Master Buildersa�� website which has a database of vetted builders.

You will generally have to upgrade the fire resistance of existing ceiling and doors. You should get your money back by adding a loft conversion and you could add around 10% of the value of your property with the right conversion. Use Econolofta��s calculator to see how much a loft could potentially bump up your propertya��s value.

Kitchens are seen as the hub of the home, so enlarging to create a multi-functional room will add value. A simple rule of thumb suggests that a good kitchen extension can add between 12% to 18% of the value of a small house.

addvalue2Extending The Kitchen

You should check out the most cost-effective solutions. ‘First explore the idea of taking space from adjacent areas within the home or linking to a dining room to make one combined space. If this isna��t feasible, consider an extension which can often be done without planning permission, so check out the permitted development situation (your rights to improve without needing an application).

A single storey kitchen extension should cost A?20,000 to A?50,000 to build depending on the area, size, spec and complexity of the build. Ensure you make the most of layout of this kitchen. Ideally, it might overlook the garden if it’s combined with an open plan dining area and possibly living area. If this is the case, squeeze bi-fold doors that open right out into your budget, and when people come to view the property, assuming the weather allows, open this right out to enlargen the space further In most of the world properties are described in terms of floor area (square metres), but in the UK it is the norm to describe a home as a a�?three-bedroom semia��.will add value, an extra bedroom and potentially an extra bathroom – all without impacting on the space downstairs or outside.

addvalue3Adding an Extra Bedroom

‘This often means that adding an extra bedroom can be a really great way to add value to a property. We point out that turning a three-bedroom into a four-bedroom house by means of a loft extension, can cost A?30,000 to A?40,000 but can add double that in market value depending on the location.

‘But if your four-bedroom property is in a street of two and three-bedroom houses, extending it to make it five or even six-bedroom could make it difficult to get the return,’ he says.

addvalue4Add an En Suite Bathroom

An en suite can boost your property developmenta��s value. ‘If two identical four-bedroom houses were on the market, the one with the en suite bathroom to the master bedroom would be likely to fetch A?10,000 to A?20,000 more.

‘An en-suite doesna��t need to be large but ita��s vital ita��s pristine and brightly lit,’ he says. ‘If the only space available doesna��t allow a window, make sure you have good lighting and ventilation. Keep the space simple with a walk-in shower, WC and basin. Forget baths and bidets. Use polished stone and keep the tiles light and shiny.’ We advises budgeting A?8,000 to A?10,000 Conservatories can be a good way to add extra space to your home. Adding one to a development can cost anything from A?10,000 to A?75,000 and can add up to 15% to the value of the property.

But I stresses it needs to be done properly. ‘I would urge people to invest in design and get an architect to draw up something that will sit well on the building and relate well to the existing spaces of the house.’

addvalue5Planning Permission

You will need planning approval if the propertya��s volume is increased by 15% or 70 cubic metres says RICS. Not all alterations need permission though. For instance, a loft extension may not require planning permission if it does not increase the overall volume, but it will if you want to alter a roof which faces a highway.

Contact the planning services department at your local council for advice. You can also make your planning application online through the planning portal if your authority offers this facility. Alternatively, you can print the forms and send them through the post.

Expert Help

To help property developers the BCIS (Building Cost Information Service of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) has produced a Property Makeover Price Guide. Anyone serious about organising and budgeting for home improvement or development should have a copy.

It contains information on alterations and extensions including typical costs plus information on planning permission and employing a builder. The book is priced at A?17.99 (including postage and packaging).

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