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Top Home Improvements

With house prices once again on the rise, and new properties becoming increasingly scarce, more people are choosing to enhance their current home. But which home improvements will add the most to your property value – and how can you finance them?

In a recent survey by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), half of the respondents said adding an extra bedroom – usually by converting the loft – was the most valuable improvement.

A third agreed that enlarging your kitchen was the best way to boost your selling price, while others recommended adding a conservatory or converting a garage into living space. Here we take a closer look at your options:

An extension

A well-done extension that is complementary to the style of your home can help you add extra rooms or extend existing ones. Of course, because the size of an extension isn’t fixed and the materials required depend on your property, the cost – and the potential added value – will vary dramatically.

However, it’s worth considering that until May 2016 the government has relaxed the requirements for planning permission for single storey extensions. The maximum depth allowed without applying for permission used to be 3 metres for an attached property or 4 metres for a detached home. That has now doubled to 6 and 8 metres respectively – so long as your neighbours are consulted and don’t object. For 2-storey extensions the old limits still apply and the extension must not reach closer than 7 metres to the rear boundary.

A loft conversion

Adding an extra bedroom – especially if it’s a loft conversion – can add from around 10% to your property value according to the NAEA, up to as much as 20% according to the Nationwide Building Society.

The cost of a conversion can vary from about £15,000 for a small loft up to £40,000 for a large one, depending on the size and location of your property. In many cases, provided you don’t live in a listed building, conservation area, national park or area of outstanding natural beauty, you won’t need planning permission as a conversion will fall within your permitted development rights. Make sure you contact your local planning authority to make sure no restrictions apply to your property.

An extra bathroom

The NAEA found that adding an extra bathroom or creating an en-suite can add as much as 6% to your asking price. Just try to avoid sacrificing a bedroom in order to create your bathroom, as this could undo any potential increase in value.

A full bathroom will usually require a space of at least 1.7 x 2.6 metres, whereas a shower room can squeeze into an area as small as 1 x 2.8 metres – not much more than you would need for fitted wardrobes. A new bathroom can cost anywhere from £2,500 to £10,000, depending on your location and choice of fixtures and fittings. Fortunately, unless you’re building an extension, you shouldn’t require planning permission – although any work will have to comply with Building Regulations. For more information visit

A new kitchen

Many people consider the kitchen to be the heart of their home. For this reason it is often the first thing a buyer will want to replace in order to stamp their own personality on a new house. However, if you can provide a ready-made, attractive kitchen it could add as much as 6% to the value of your property.

Consumer watchdog Which? found that a new kitchen costs around £8,000 on average, but obviously costs can go much higher. If you’re thinking of fitting a new kitchen to improve your house value, remember that spending a fortune won’t necessarily give you the best return on your investment. Replacing door and drawer fronts and fitting a new worktop will often achieve the same results for a fraction of the cost.

A conservatory

If you don’t mind losing some garden space, a conservatory is a great way to add an extra room to your home and increase its value by up to 5%.

Adding a conservatory doesn’t require planning permission if the floor area is less than half that of the original house. You can also avoid building regulations provided that at least half of the walls and three quarters of the roof are glazed or transparent, and the conservatory is separated from the rest of the house by an external door.

Funding your improvements

If you don’t have – or don’t want to use up – any savings, a homeowner loan or re-mortgage could be the best way to pay for your improvements.

A homeowner loan will typically enable you to borrow up to £25,000 and, because it is secured against your property, can offer lower interest rates than a personal loan. If you take this option you can choose to spread the cost over one to five years, with fixed repayments for easy budgeting.

Alternatively, with a re-mortgage you could borrow more and spread the cost of your building work over the remaining lifetime of your current mortgage, giving you even lower monthly repayments. Just remember that spreading the cost over a longer period will result in you paying more interest and you could end up paying more in total.

Norton Finance will be happy to talk you through the options and find you the best possible rate for your personal circumstances. Just give us a call free on 0800 694 5566 for a no-obligation quote.



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