New homeowner Christina Neal looks at what home improvements will add value to the price of a property and why you don’t need to spend a fortune renovating your home.

I bought my three-bedroom end of terrace house in the summer. I had been renting it for almost four years beforehand, so I knew it well and had a very clear idea of what I was getting for my money. I knew its strengths and weaknesses before I became the owner. I knew about the South facing garden that attracts sun for most of the day and I also knew about the damp in the dining room and the leaky shower.

While there are some things that need fixing and improving, it has occurred to me that it would be so easy to spend, spend, spend. I’ve lived in houses before where I’ve spent more than I needed to on home improvements. If you are improving a place because you intend to live there for the next 20 or 30 years, that’s completely understandable as you’re in it for the long haul. But if you only plan to be there for another five years like me, then you may want to carefully consider how much you spend and what is really necessary.

Are you adding value?

As much as I enjoy the idea of living in a beautifully renovated, luxury home, I have to consider the following: will each and every improvement add value to my home and make it more appealing when I do come to sell?

I decided to look into what type of home improvements will add value to a home. Property experts from the Luxury Property Show have said that a garden office can be a good choice. With more people working from home yet wanting to have a designated space in which to work, this could really ‘push up the value’ of your home.

They mean a well-insulated and damp-proof building rather than a shed. Another option is to convert your garage into a living space. According to the website Property Price Advice, this can add up to 15 per cent to the value of your home.

Cool wine cellar

Turning your basement into a wine cellar can also add appeal to your home. Wine should be stored in a cool place, so this makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, it’s not a workable option for me. My basement doubles as a home office and a music studio.

Another nice touch could be extending your kitchen or adding a loft conversion to provide an extra bedroom. Installing a new bathroom if your current one is looking a bit old and worn could be a good idea. However, it’s easy to spend lots of money doing this. If you can do it without breaking the bank, you could add up to five per cent to the value of your home.

Finally, we’re a nation of animal lovers, so if you have pets, having a modern cat flap that reads your cat’s microchip can be a good idea. So too can having a utility room where you can bathe your dog after a muddy walk.

So what will I be doing? At this stage, I’m focusing mostly on necessary tasks rather than cosmetic improvements. We still need to get the leaky shower fixed (it’s not easy getting a reliable plumber these days), and we need to have some repairs done to the roof. New wallpaper will have to wait.

We’ll get there in the end. Just don’t expect my place to look like a show home anytime soon if you pop round for coffee.

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