Direct Line magazine

Home improvements that add value

Updated on: 12 March 2020

Tradesmen install a new kitchen.

Steep moving costs mean that increasing numbers of homeowners are choosing to stay where they are and ‘improve rather than move’.

Major projects such as building an extension or converting a loft may not come cheap either, but they can add significant value to your home.

Billy Heyman, Managing Director of BTL Property, says: “One of the attractive things about improving your home, rather than moving, is the opportunity to design it to meet your exact requirements, not to mention the savings on moving costs. And when the time comes to sell, the work should add value, depending on what it is.”

Here, we look at how much some of the most popular home improvements could set you back, and how much value they might add.

Extending your home

The cost of building an extension will vary dramatically depending on where you live, but according to Heyman, someone living London who wants to build a two-storey extension would be looking at typical costs of around £100,000 plus Value Added Tax (VAT) at 20%. You would need a structural engineer, planning consultant, architect, and a party wall surveyor. Once built, the extension could add as much as £250,000 to £300,000 to the value of the property.

A cheaper way to increase the square footage of your home is to convert your loft, with costs usually ranging from around £35,000 up to £50,000 depending on the access, floor area and structural requirements. Converting a loft could add as much as £150,000 to the value of your home, again depending on the size, quality of finish and the area you live in.

Builder working on a loft conversion

According to Nationwide Building Society, adding a loft conversion that includes a double bedroom, and bathroom would usually add about 20% to the value of a three bedroom, one bathroom house.

Kitchens and bathrooms

If you haven’t got the budget to make any big structural changes to your home, then simply updating the bathroom and kitchen can boost the value of your property.

Graham Cook, partner at London estate agents Proctors, says: “Kitchen and bathrooms can be improved without having to spend huge amounts of money. Even simple things like adding a new toilet seat and a pedestal make a big difference in the overall look of a bathroom.”

Don’t assume that you need to rip out your kitchen and put in a new one. Even making a few simple changes could give it a new lease of life and add value at the same time.

Michael Bruce, chief executive of estate agent says: “If your kitchen looks clean and is in reasonably good condition, then it’s probably not worth the expense to get a totally new one. Instead, think about whether something like a new splash back would make it look more modern.

“The same principle applies when it comes to bathrooms. If your grouting looks old and has cracks, then probably the most cost-efficient thing you can do, is to get a decent tiler in and re-grout the whole bathroom. Maybe consider getting a new loo seat at the same time.”


If you are planning on making home improvements, and they involve any structural changes, find out if you need planning permission before proceeding.

Always set yourself a budget too – there’s no point spending more on any home improvements than the value they will add to your property.

You’ll also need to let your insurer know, as if you’ve added value to your property, you may need to boost your existing level of home insurance cover.

You should also check if you’ll be covered for any mishaps that happen while building work is taking place.

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