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Seven home improvements that deliver the best return

Some home improvements can boost the value of your home (while others are best avoided). Our infographic explains all…

Carrying out certain home improvements will not only make your home a more enjoyable space to live in, but could also boost its value when you come to sell.

Bear in mind that many home improvements will increase the cost to rebuild your home, so you’ll probably need to tweak your home insurance. Take a look at our handy Will home improvements affect my home insurance? article to find out more.

So, which home improvements could deliver the best return on your investment? And which ones should be avoided if you’re looking to add value to your home?  

Home Improvements

1. Loft conversion1

Whether you want an extra bedroom, bathroom or both, utilising your loft space can add value and squared metres to your home.

Average cost: £17,500
Added value: £31,096 (15%)
Potential profit: £13,596

Pitfalls: Factor in that you will need to reinforce the floor joists in order to raise the floor level into your planning.

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2. Add a conservatory2

The UK is known for its cold winters, but with a bespoke conservatory potential buyers could be swayed by the thought of enjoying natural light all year round.

Average cost: £10,000
Added value: £15,000 (5%)
Potential profit: £5,000

Pitfalls: You might need planning permission so be sure to contact your council before you begin.

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3. Create an open plan kitchen and dining area

The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home, but it is often the first room to be scrapped by new buyers. Make your kitchen and dining room open-plan, and buyers may be willing to pay more.

Average cost: £2,100 (based on knocking down a non-load bearing wall)
Added value: £12,438
Potential profit: £10,338

Pitfalls: Try to keep your budget proportionate to your asking price to guarantee value for money.

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4. New bathroom3

Bathrooms are a big deciding factor when choosing a new home. So, whether you want to refurbish or build an en-suite, having a stylish and functional bathroom could add some serious value.

Average cost: £4,250
Added value: £10,365 (5%)
Potential profit: £6,115

Pitfalls: Bathroom conversions can be costly business, so think about keeping your budget relative to 1.5% of the property.4

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5. Upgrade your windows5

While double glazing your home may not be the most glamorous investment, you could shave £80-£105 off your annual energy bill (based on a mid-terrace home)6 whilst adding value to your home at the same time. The following is based on a four-bedroom property...

Average cost: £25,000
Added value: up to £60,000
Potential profit: up to £35,000

Pitfalls: Consider getting a quote from a specialist to see if yours need to be fixed or replaced altogether.

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6. Pave over front lawn for driveway7

The demand for parking spaces can be less of an issue out in the countryside, but in some urban locations – such as London – they can add huge amounts of value to your home.

Average cost: £2,208
Added value: £9,683 (London home)
Potential profit: £7,475

Pitfalls: Due to Section 184 of the Highways Act of 1980 and pedestrian safety concerns, it’s essential to get permission before you start.

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7. Change the garage into a living space

Most of Britain’s garages don’t actually have cars inside! Why not spruce up this storage room by converting it into an extra bedroom, study or even a gym.

Average cost: £10,720
Added value: £29,023 (14%)
Potential Profit: £18,303

Pitfalls: Converting a garage may put people off if there isn’t other off-road parking available.

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… and 3 home improvements that (probably) won’t add value to your home

Home cinema

High-end projectors, built-in electronics and other home cinema furnishings can cost a bomb… and there’s no guarantee future buyers will be fellow film fanatics! Instead, design a room that offers better functionality, such as an extra bedroom or home office space.

High-end landscaping

While a beautifully-presented garden can certainly improve your home’s curb appeal, you may not get back what you put into extensive landscaping.

As well as this, future buyers might be put off by the ongoing upkeep and maintenance, so it’s probably be best to opt for simple landscaping that doesn’t cost the earth.

Personalised or unnecessarily expensive décor

Your daughter’s favourite colour is lime green, but this is unlikely to appeal to the masses when you put your home on the market! If you’re planning on selling at some point in the near future, it’s probably better to go for neutral shades where buyers see a blank canvas to personalise.

Similarly, it’s unlikely that plush and expensive carpets throughout your home will see much of a return on investment; hard-wearing but stylish flooring might be the better option.

What now?

Find out more about Zurich home insurance.



This content was first published in October 2016 and updated in July 2018

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