Regional Managing Director for Reeds Rains, Kevin Beastall, provides yet further information about the value of home improvements when selling a property – and in this latest blog in our series – tells us what improvements rarely bring the returns a homeowner might hope for.
There are several improvements that rarely bring the return a homeowner might hope for.
- Over developing a house, compared to the size of its plot or its surroundings, is a common one. If extensions make a house into a large family property, at the expense of garden, it might mean there is no room for children to play, nor parking for the number of vehicles that ‘match’ the size of the household, so everything is out of balance. Also, it’s really hard to get a high price for the property if every other house on the street is modest in size and modest in value. Conversely, however, if you have a 3 bedroomed house on a development of 4 bedroomed properties, it might be worthwhile considering (if foundations and structure allow) adding a bedroom over an attached garage – it means no land is lost, and the house ‘fits in’ with neighbouring properties.
- Some improvements can actually decrease the value of a property. Think about a typical 3 bedroom semi-detached house with one family bedroom. It has been known for an owner to take the smaller, third bedroom and make it into an en-suite for one of the other bedrooms – but you now no longer have a family home. On a smaller scale, think carefully about swapping a bath for a walk in shower. If there is another bathroom in the house, with a bath in it, that’s fine, and potentially a good move. If it’s the only bathroom, then consider a shower over the bath, otherwise you may alienate some of your market. Think ‘family buyer’ who is about to add to their brood - have you ever tried bathing a baby in a shower?
- Ripping out perfectly good fittings to simply change them to another style will be pleasing to the person doing it, and make the property more attractive, but think about how much equipment (in value) you have taken out and thrown in a skip. I once heard a surveyor sum it up nicely….’I recently bought a house that had windows, doors, a kitchen and a bathroom. I’ve just spent £30,000 putting in windows, doors, a kitchen and a bathroom’.
- Watch out when Solar Panels are installed and who owns them. Some have been added in such a way that the company installing them still own the panels and effectively are ‘leasing’ your roof space. This can make it hard for a new buyer to get a mortgage, as it is akin to having a lodger living in the back bedroom. The lender has no contract with them, so take extra care if you go down that road.