According to Hiscox Renovations and Extensions Report 2018, just 3% of homeowners in 2013 took the decision to improve instead of move. This figure has increased to 15%, rising further to one in four (26%) among millennial homeowners.
The decision is one primarily based on cost. Moving house, particularly to a larger one, is expensive compared with the cost of enhancing the value of an existing home. Renovations tend to be more popular than extensions, for reasons of cost and people feel more capable of doing projects themselves. Phil Thorn, head of direct home insurance at insurer Hiscox UK, says: “It’s incredibly exciting to improve your home and add value at the same time. The renovation process itself can also be very enjoyable, but that’s not always the case if projects run into unexpected delays and issues.” Alex Depledge, CEO of online architecture service resi.co.uk, adds: “The prospect of an extension remains intimidating to many. If the industry was demystified, more people could unlock the hidden potential of their homes.”
While home improvement strategies vary with budget constraints, homeowners need to think about the value of the completed project and the return they will get on their investment. “Conservatories prove particularly popular due to more relaxed planning permissions,” says Narinder Khattoare, CEO of property investment firm Kuflink. “However, while loft extensions also add high value they may not be cost-effective in the short term.” As long as the property’s structural integrity is retained, knocking down internal walls can add space and significant value to a house at potentially modest costs. “Open plan kitchen-diners are especially popular and should be considered by those on mid-level budgets,” adds Khattoare.
“Those on lower budgets, or with smaller properties and limited scope for extension, should focus on renovations, specifically on gardens and exterior improvements, as these help to form the first impression of the property, which is incredibly important for prospective buyers.”
Before embarking on any improvement project, homeowners will want to know in advance what the return on their investment might be. Looking at homes in the surrounding area to see what value has been added to properties by extending or renovating, and whether there is a ceiling price, is a good place to start. “As a rule of thumb, loft conversions tend to boost house value the most, as you’re converting dead space into a new functional room,” says Depledge.
“However, extending the rear of your property, increasing natural light and space, also tends to add significant value, and can be a good option if you don’t have a loft to convert.” People can be put off renovation projects if they are struggling to visualise how their plans will look in reality. Space planning and visualisation technology can solve home improvement headaches such as how to make the best use of space by bridging the “imagination gap”. David Levine, founder and CEO of mixed reality firm DigitalBridge, says: “Space visualisation tools will reduce errors and allow homeowners to make the most of the space available, and in turn maximise the value of their next renovation project.”
1. A loft extension may not be the most cost-effective option.
2. Renovations can have as much impact as more extensive work.
3. Look to increase natural light and space.
For more information contact hiscox, resi, kuflink or digital bridge