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When you purchase a home, of course you will want to, and you should, make it as suitable for you and your needs as possible whilst living there. However, if you don’t plan to stay in the property forever, you should consider what changes or renovations will both improve and reduce the resale value before you go ahead – especially if the changes will be permanent.

This guide will compare which home improvements will increase the value when you come to sell, and those that may reduce it or simply make it more difficult to find buyers.

Home improvements that will increase the resale value of your property

Modernise the kitchen

If you can only afford to renovate one room in the house, it should definitely be the kitchen (bathroom, second!). Having an up-to-date, modern kitchen can definitely add value to your property as it’s often considered the centre of a home, and the room buyers are most interested in.

It’s also the room which will be the most expensive and time-consuming to change if the buyer doesn’t like it, which may be a deal-breaker if they’re not prepared to spend the money on it.  

To get the best return, it’s recommended that you shouldn’t spend any more than about 5% of the property’s current value on refurbishments, otherwise you may not get your money back when you come to sell.

To make the kitchen attractive to the majority of buyers you should add energy-efficient appliances, wooden or marble work surfaces which are durable, easy to maintain, and look modern, and complete it with cupboards painted white or cream which will make the whole room look bright and fresh.

You should try to avoid adding any bright tiling or anything that requires a very specific taste (the same goes for the bathroom) as that could make it more difficult to attract buyers – especially if it is something that will take time and money for them to change.

Loft conversion

This is a big project - converting your loft will take time and money and will be quite invasive of your home whilst it’s being built.

However, adding what is essentially another floor to your home, providing maybe one or two more bedrooms or office space, can add thousands of pounds to the value of the property – as well as giving you more space whilst you’re living there too. If you can turn it into a master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, that’s even better!

Garage conversion

If you have a garage that you don’t use, or if you have two garages and only use one for parking or storage, it may be worth converting it into extra living space or an additional bedroom. You should only consider this though if the property has a driveway or there is roadside parking available, so it doesn’t deter potential buyers who require parking.

Adding another bedroom will often significantly increase the value of a property, especially if you can convert it so it doesn’t look like it was originally a garage and if you can add an en-suite bathroom.

Knock down internal walls

Knocking down internal walls will mean that you’ll will lose separate rooms, but it is a great way of adding more space and a lot of light to your home. The ability to do this, however, will depend on whether the walls are load-bearing (important to the structure of the property) or if they are just there as room dividers.

If you are able to do this, having an open plan kitchen/dining area or kitchen/living space can be very attractive to potential buyers, as well as freshen things up for you too.

Convert the front garden into a driveway

If you live in an area where parking is very difficult and the property doesn’t have a driveway or garage, converting the front garden into a driveway can add a lot of value to the property – especially when comparing it to surrounding properties which don’t have this feature.

You may need planning permission to do this, and you will need to apply to get the kerb dropped.

Get planning permission

(even if you don’t do the work)

Even if you don’t want to do anything yourself, applying for the planning permission to build an extension could increase the value of the property by a few thousand pounds. It could cost you up to a couple of thousand pounds to apply, but the cost should be far less that the value it will add.

Properties with planning permission are often worth more because it saves any buyer having to do it themselves and spending the time and money on it. It also means they will know for definite that they can build an extension onto the property before they move in, if this is something that they would like to do in the future.

It’s important to be realistic in the planning you apply for, however, as if it the application is rejected, then it will do more harm than good by leaving you out of pocket. Speaking to a professional beforehand will determine what projects would increase the property’s value and the likelihood of planning being granted.

Landscape the garden

Having a garden is often important to homebuyers, especially those who have children and pets. However, if the garden is overgrown, full of weeds and just generally not well-kept, it may be more of a deterrent than anything as buyers can often be turned off by anything that looks like it requires a lot of attention and maintenance.

Landscaping the garden doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, simply putting in a patio or decking so there is space to put furniture and completing it with easy-to-maintain trees and plants will act as a big selling point for your home.

Home improvements that may reduce the resale value of your property

(or make it more difficult to attract buyers!)

Outdoor swimming pool

Even though having a swimming pool may seem like a bit of a luxury, if you don’t live in a country where you’re guaranteed to have hot weather for six months out of the year, a lot of people will just consider it more hassle than it’s worth.

First of all, having a pool built in your garden in the UK is very expensive as it could cost upwards of £20,000 - £50,000. With it potentially not adding much, or any, value to your home, you should really think about how much use you will get out of it – being in the UK, that might not be much. Pools are also expensive to maintain, clean and heat up, which a lot of people won’t want to take on when they won’t use it enough to make it worthwhile.  

Families with young children may also be deterred from buying a property with a pool as they may see it as more of a hazard than anything.

Combining bedrooms

Combining two bedrooms to create one large bedroom, or turning a small bedroom into an en-suite bathroom, may be great if you are a couple living alone without any plans to have children. However, this is potentially a bad move if you don’t intend to stay in the property forever as, when you come to sell, the number of bedrooms (no matter the size) will play a big part in putting a value on the property.

Most parents looking to buy will want their children to be able to have their own bedrooms so they don’t have to share, even if the rooms are that little bit smaller. Other potential buyers may want spare bedrooms available to use for guests or to use as a home office – so, the more bedrooms, the better!

Garage conversion

(if there’s no other parking!)

Although converting your garage to additional living space or an extra bedroom could increase the value of your property, you may deter buyers who need a garage for parking if you live in an area with difficult roadside parking and no driveway.

Creating spaces that don’t work

You might think that squeezing in as much storage space as possible, or adding another bathroom, will increase the value of your home. However, creating spaces that just don’t work, for example, bathrooms that are too small to move around in and cupboards where you can’t fully open the door, will be seen as more of a hinderance and may put off potential buyers instead.


Plain bathroom and kitchen tiling is fine, however, I would try to avoid adding anything too quirky or brightly coloured and patterned that requires a specific taste if you’re not planning to stay in the property for long. Wallpaper and paint is different as they can easily be changed, but tiling will require time and money to take out and replace, which may put off potential buyers.

Built-in Aquarium

A large built-in aquarium can make your home looking very luxurious and up-market – however they do require a lot of cleaning and maintenance, and can be costly to remove. Potential buyers may not want to be tied into taking care of the tank, or pay to have it removed, so it may put them off purchasing the property all together if they have other options.

Built-in cinema

Having a cinema room is definitely a luxury and something I’m sure a lot of people would enjoy. However, if you decide to take up useable living space or a spare bedroom and build-in screens, sound systems and cinema chairs, this could decrease the value of the property and make it more difficult to find the right buyers.

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