10 July 2017

Five ways to add value to your home

Your home is probably your biggest investment so adding to, or at least maintaining, its value is important.

But just because you spend money on doing up your home doesn’t mean others will be willing to pay more when you decide to sell. A little research before you begin could make the difference between increasing the value of your property and potentially driving down its sale price.

What affects your home’s value?

According to Nationwide’s Chief Economist, Robert Gardner, location and size continue to be important factors that impact on the value of your home, but home improvements that increase floor area, such as an extension or loft conversion, also remain a good way to add value.

"Ultimately the decision to invest in your home is an individual one," he advises. "Take into account the costs and hassle involved, as well as potential benefits."

An important first step is to ask the right questions, such as:

  • How long do you intend to stay in the property?
  • What home improvements are homeowners in your area making?
  • Who will want to buy your property in a few years’ time?

Be open to careful planning

Some homeowners enjoy European-style open plan living, so there are benefits to creating a feeling of space – by incorporating what was the hallway into a general living area, for instance.

But will your new layout be practical for a future owner? If your home is most likely to appeal to a family, think twice about removing areas where they can store prams, coats and shoes. The cost of heating will also be a worry for parents.

"Aside from extending, making your home more energy efficient can make your home more attractive," Gardner says. "Energy costs remain a concern and there’s been a growing emphasis on environmental sustainability."

Stick to your home’s narrative

As Paul Milsom, an Area Sales Manager at Leaders estate agents, highlights, any changes also have to fit with the ‘story’ of the property. "It can be difficult to create open plan areas in more traditional properties without making it feel disjointed or at odds with the property’s character," he advises. "It’s easier to get it right in a contemporary home."

Paul says this mistake is common in areas such as Epsom. "Couples moving out of London don’t want the same city living experience – they’re looking for Victorian houses which have retained their period charm."

"The classic mistake is to add a pool to a garden that doesn’t deserve it. Think about whether it is the kind of neighbourhood where you’d expect to find pools in the backyard."

Retain your charm. Period

You may want to modernise by removing old plasterwork and an original fireplace, but these are often the very features which attract buyers, as they too will be looking for a property which retains its value in the long term.

"A common mistake is underestimating the attraction of period features or only removing them from one area of the house. If you do restore them, do it to a high standard," says Milsom. Sometimes stripping back properties to a more original state can prove fruitful, revealing old wooden floors, or flagstone tiles and brickwork. The addition of discreet luxuries such as underfloor heating, high pressure showers and better insulation can also help it to hold its value.

Practical makes perfect

Of course some additions to your home could be seen as just impractical. Ponds, water features and pools may add an air of luxury, but they are expensive to maintain and, for families with young children, they are potentially dangerous.

And while an attractive, functional kitchen is important when it comes to the saleability of a property, the bathroom is becoming a crucial factor in attracting a good price. 

"Gone are the days when one family bathroom was sufficient" says Head of Savills South West London, Robin Chatwin.

"It’s not uncommon to see clever bathroom additions now, whether it’s a free-standing bath in a bedroom or a snug wet room, in some cases sacrificing a small bedroom. We estimate that a good en suite could add between 3% and 5% to a London home valued around £1.5 million. That equates to between £45,000 and £75,000."

Plan now to save later

By planning around a future sale, you can ensure you attract as many potential buyers as possible and achieve the best price for your home.

The content displayed on our recent news and articles page is for information purposes only, and is accurate at the time of publication. The information will not be maintained, and so we cannot guarantee that at any given time the information will be up to date or complete. Please verify any information you take before relying on it.

Nationwide is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites. Nationwide does not make any recommendation or endorse any advertising, products, services or other content on such external websites. Views expressed on third party websites are those of the public and unless specifically stated, are not those of Nationwide.

Most popular

Alfred’s story


We're taking a look back at our first ever mortgage customer in 1884, Mr Alfred Idle.

You may also be interested in...

Our helpful guides

We've created a range of helpful guides to help you make better financial decisions regardless of your circumstances. Find out more about owning property, growing wealth and planning for life events.

Our products

Whether you are after a current account, a savings account or even looking for a mortgage, Nationwide has a range of great products that could help you, no matter the situation.