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Top 10 ways to add value to your home

Whether you are thinking of splashing out on a bathroom, creating a new kitchen, or liberating the loft, here is our guide to boosting the value of your property   Everyone knows that home improvements add value to a home. The message seems to be hammered home in virtually every TV property programme. But which improvements add the most value and should therefore be given priority' If you are trying to sell your house, it is the sort of question that you should be focussing on, as you try to steal a march on the competition. Here are ten ways you can add value to your property ' some simple, some less simple ' along with our experts' estimates of how much value the various improvements might be expected to add. 1. A loft conversion Extending a property upwards can be costly and time-consuming but, if you are able to get planning permission, it can be a canny strategy. Loft conversions are highly versatile: they can be adapted as studies, teenage dens or guest bedrooms. And by adding a whole extra floor, you will be enhancing the value of your property by tens of thousands. Approximate added value: 10-15 per cent in London, around 10 per cent in the country. 2. A side-return No, not a sliced backhand by Andy Murray, but estate agent's jargon for lateral extensions to a property. You might expand your kitchen, for example, then add a small upstairs bedroom or bathroom on top of the kitchen. Side-returns can be quite expensive to build, but you need not worry about recouping your investment. That rather narrow Victorian terraced house can suddenly accommodate one extra family member, catapulting itself into a higher price bracket. Approximate added value: 7-10 per cent in London. 3. A new bathroom The days when a family of four could get away with a single bathroom and no downstairs loo are fast passing into history. If you are trying to sell a house with only one bathroom to a couple who are used to more than one, you can expect stiff customer resistance. So think ahead, install that extra bathroom and keep it squeaky clean, like a hotel bathroom. It could just be the clincher in finding a seller. Approximate added value: 2-3 per cent in London, 7-10 per cent in the country. 4. A new kitchen Most of us muddle through for years with kitchens that could best be described as 'homely'. Fine, if all you want to do is sit around eating spag bol and red wine with the family. Not so fine, if you are trying to sell a Victorian house in Wandsworth to a professional couple with two small kids. The kitchen is the hub of the house, and prospective purchasers will expect one that ticks all the boxes and is fitted with up-to-date equipment. Approximate added value: 2-3 per cent in London, 2-3 per cent in the country. 5. Overhaul the front garden A scruffy front lawn might not seem disastrous, particularly if it is the only the size of a pocket handkerchief. But it will detract from the 'kerb appeal' of your property ' those all-important first impressions that can make or break a sale. If lawn-mowing is not your bag, there is a lot to be said for replacing that tired lawn with a neat, easy-to-maintain patio. Front gardens tend to be bigger in the country than in the London, so it is doubly important to get this one right if you are living in a picturesque village in Hampshire. Approximate added value: 1-2 per cent in London, 5-10 per cent in the country. 6. A conservatory The best modern conservatories are a far cry from those glorified greenhouses in Cluedo. They are better at conserving heat, for one thing. You need to tread carefully through the mine-field of planning regulations, but the right sort of conservatory, flooded with sunlight, could just hook the right kind of buyer. Approximate added value: 2-3 per cent in London, 5 per cent in the country 7. A new basement So many people are burrowing under their properties in London that parts of the capital are starting to resemble The Great Escape. New or renovated basements can be an attractive option when it comes to creating extra living space without getting snarled up in planning red tape. And you can bet prospective buyers will appreciate your efforts and price their offers accordingly. A quiet basement could be just the place for moody teenagers to have his den. Approximate added value: 5-8 per cent in London. 8. Repaint your property First impressions are critical, and nothing depresses house-hunters faster than walls or window frames that have not seen a lick of paint since 1983. You do not need to go to the other extreme and re-decorate your house every six months. But why risk losing a sale when a few pots of paint could do the trick' Approximate added value: 1 to 2 per cent in London, 5-10 per cent in the country. 9. Repaint the front door Even couch potatoes who would baulk at painting the living-room can muster the energy to paint the front door. And they will be glad they did, when they come to put their house on the market. That gleaming door will be the stand-out entrance in the whole neighbourhood ' the very essence of kerb appeal. Approximate added value: up to 1 per cent in London, up to 1% per cent in the country. 10. New double-glazing Living on a noisy road can be an absolute killer when it comes to selling a house. The noisiest roads can knock 10 to 20 per cent off the value of a property. So unless you are lucky enough to live in a cul-de-sac or on a street with efficient traffic calming, double-glazing the windows at the front of the house makes sound economic sense. You don't want a delivery lorry roaring past when you are showing the house. And in the country, the added warmth that double-glazing can offer is a much welcome one for potential buyers. Approximate added value: 2-3 per cent in London, 5 per cent in the country It should go without saying that making improvements to your property is no guarantee that you will sell it. But if you do not make the kind of improvements for which the property is crying out, you might be making a rod for your own back. So before you put your house on the market, remember to pay a visit to the DIY store. You won't regret it. Click here to find your nearest Winkworth office who can offer expert property advice.

Whether you are thinking of splashing out on a bathroom, creating a new kitchen, or liberating the loft, here is our guide to boosting the value of your property

  Everyone knows that home improvements add value to a home. The message seems to be hammered home in virtually every TV property programme. But which improvements add the most value and should therefore be given priority' If you are trying to sell your house, it is the sort of question that you should be focussing on, as you try to steal a march on the competition. Here are ten ways you can add value to your property ' some simple, some less simple ' along with our experts' estimates of how much value the various improvements might be expected to add.

1. A loft conversion Extending a property upwards can be costly and time-consuming but, if you are able to get planning permission, it can be a canny strategy. Loft conversions are highly versatile: they can be adapted as studies, teenage dens or guest bedrooms. And by adding a whole extra floor, you will be enhancing the value of your property by tens of thousands.

Approximate added value: 10-15 per cent in London, around 10 per cent in the country.

2. A side-return No, not a sliced backhand by Andy Murray, but estate agent's jargon for lateral extensions to a property. You might expand your kitchen, for example, then add a small upstairs bedroom or bathroom on top of the kitchen. Side-returns can be quite expensive to build, but you need not worry about recouping your investment. That rather narrow Victorian terraced house can suddenly accommodate one extra family member, catapulting itself into a higher price bracket.

Approximate added value: 7-10 per cent in London.

3. A new bathroom The days when a family of four could get away with a single bathroom and no downstairs loo are fast passing into history. If you are trying to sell a house with only one bathroom to a couple who are used to more than one, you can expect stiff customer resistance. So think ahead, install that extra bathroom and keep it squeaky clean, like a hotel bathroom. It could just be the clincher in finding a seller.

Approximate added value: 2-3 per cent in London, 7-10 per cent in the country.

4. A new kitchen Most of us muddle through for years with kitchens that could best be described as 'homely'. Fine, if all you want to do is sit around eating spag bol and red wine with the family. Not so fine, if you are trying to sell a Victorian house in Wandsworth to a professional couple with two small kids. The kitchen is the hub of the house, and prospective purchasers will expect one that ticks all the boxes and is fitted with up-to-date equipment.

Approximate added value: 2-3 per cent in London, 2-3 per cent in the country. 5. Overhaul the front garden A scruffy front lawn might not seem disastrous, particularly if it is the only the size of a pocket handkerchief. But it will detract from the 'kerb appeal' of your property ' those all-important first impressions that can make or break a sale. If lawn-mowing is not your bag, there is a lot to be said for replacing that tired lawn with a neat, easy-to-maintain patio. Front gardens tend to be bigger in the country than in the London, so it is doubly important to get this one right if you are living in a picturesque village in Hampshire.

Approximate added value: 1-2 per cent in London, 5-10 per cent in the country. 6. A conservatory The best modern conservatories are a far cry from those glorified greenhouses in Cluedo. They are better at conserving heat, for one thing. You need to tread carefully through the mine-field of planning regulations, but the right sort of conservatory, flooded with sunlight, could just hook the right kind of buyer.

Approximate added value: 2-3 per cent in London, 5 per cent in the country

7. A new basement So many people are burrowing under their properties in London that parts of the capital are starting to resemble The Great Escape. New or renovated basements can be an attractive option when it comes to creating extra living space without getting snarled up in planning red tape. And you can bet prospective buyers will appreciate your efforts and price their offers accordingly. A quiet basement could be just the place for moody teenagers to have his den.

Approximate added value: 5-8 per cent in London. 8. Repaint your property First impressions are critical, and nothing depresses house-hunters faster than walls or window frames that have not seen a lick of paint since 1983. You do not need to go to the other extreme and re-decorate your house every six months. But why risk losing a sale when a few pots of paint could do the trick'

Approximate added value: 1 to 2 per cent in London, 5-10 per cent in the country.

9. Repaint the front door Even couch potatoes who would baulk at painting the living-room can muster the energy to paint the front door. And they will be glad they did, when they come to put their house on the market. That gleaming door will be the stand-out entrance in the whole neighbourhood ' the very essence of kerb appeal.

Approximate added value: up to 1 per cent in London, up to 1% per cent in the country.

10. New double-glazing Living on a noisy road can be an absolute killer when it comes to selling a house. The noisiest roads can knock 10 to 20 per cent off the value of a property. So unless you are lucky enough to live in a cul-de-sac or on a street with efficient traffic calming, double-glazing the windows at the front of the house makes sound economic sense. You don't want a delivery lorry roaring past when you are showing the house. And in the country, the added warmth that double-glazing can offer is a much welcome one for potential buyers.

Approximate added value: 2-3 per cent in London, 5 per cent in the country

It should go without saying that making improvements to your property is no guarantee that you will sell it. But if you do not make the kind of improvements for which the property is crying out, you might be making a rod for your own back. So before you put your house on the market, remember to pay a visit to the DIY store. You won't regret it.

Click here to find your nearest Winkworth office who can offer expert property advice.

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