Crispin Harris, Director at Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Wilmslow branch, on the renovation boom:
The market for home improvements and renovations is booming and it’s evident that many people are looking at either improving or extending their homes. The Office of National Statistics found that we spent nearly £30 billion a year on home improvements in the UK during 2016 – that’s £43 million a week! In the same year, a report from Nationwide Building Society found that home extensions or loft conversions can add 20% to a house’s value, or more than £42,000 to the value of an average property. It’s no wonder that we are seeing a renovation boom.
The work undertaken could vary from renovating a tumbledown cottage into a classic chocolate box home, that wouldn’t be out of place on your favourite tin of biscuits, to adding a conservatory extension to a modern property. Whatever it is, the whole project will inevitably be a confusing concoction of satisfying, stressful, time-consuming and plain good fun. Needless to say undertaking these projects can be both a significant emotional and monetary investment, so there are a number of pitfalls to be aware of before pursuing these opportunities.
Given the stakes involved we recommend talking over planned home improvements with a trusted local agent. This is absolutely crucial if the work is being done with the intention of adding value or selling on – some works make no difference to value. Others, such as increasing square footage or conservatories, can often add a lot of value. We recently sold a large Victorian semi-detached in Wilmslow on a road where most properties sell for around a million pounds. This house had an exceptional glass extension added to the kitchen and living room, creating a lovely open plan environment. Alongside beautiful renovated bathrooms, the quality of the extension elevated the property to a price around £1.2m – successful extensions and renovations can really increase the value of your home. In addition, some refurbishments will make a property more saleable but not necessarily more valuable. Bathrooms and kitchens can be costly to renovate but sometimes don’t change price point in any significant way. Therefore, taking good advice before you dive into a project, and considering your aims and objectives, is crucial.
Another pitfall is that renovators forget to consult their insurance policies before undertaking the work. If you don’t keep your insurance provider updated on major works you are undertaking, the policy could be invalidated, as it may not take into account the risks associated with a renovation or extension. If uninsured damage, or even a burglary, happens during the period of construction, the renovator could potentially be left exposed. A good broker is essential in this case, providing reassurance of a stable insurance policy and one that is not in breach of the property’s mortgage conditions.
Finally, are you sure that your property is insured for the right value? Although policies tend to be on the generous side in terms of an upper claims limit, when undertaking renovations and extensions, it is often easier than you might think to exceed this value. It is also vitally important that insured values are not confused with open market values. Insurance value is the cost of rebuilding the home, not the price of the property.
The right renovation can add both personal and financial value to your property. It is thus vital that you consult the right estate agents / brokers before undertaking work, confident in both the insurance policies and how your changes or improvements will increase value or saleability.