"Home is where the heart is" – a true (if rather clichéd) dictum. However, when thinking with your head and not only your heart, your home is also a vital asset. Depending on a variety of factors, your property can be worth much more than the value of its bricks and mortar. A recent study from HouseLogic found that homes near public parks, for example, can be valued up to 20% more than the average home. The desirability of your home's location – largely outside of your control – isn't the only factor that influences its value. There are a number of things you can do to the property itself to increase the offers you receive.
According to a study by the University of Washington, the number of trees on your property can have a dramatic effect on the value of your home. The study also measured how the location of the trees affected house prices. It found that trees in the back garden can increase your home’s value by up to two percent, while those in the front can increase the values by up to five percent. Not all trees are equal either – sturdy oaks are among the most highly valued as they're difficult to replace. In the absence of mature trees, create a verdant Eden with Japanese maples or dwarf conifers – the most valuable trees.
A basement or loft conversion can be one of the most lucrative investments you’ll make in a property. In urban areas, where space is often scarce, conversions are sought after as offering extra square footage of usable space, whether that's a whole below-ground level or an extra bedroom in the roof. A conversion can cost hundreds per square foot, but can instantly add about two or three times that amount to your property’s value.
Another good idea for inner-city homes is to pave the front garden. In many global cities, where parking is hard to come by, a home that offers safe off-street parking is very attractive. Indeed, in London, this simple step can add as much as £50,000 to the value of a home. Choose strong, terracotta pavers and make the space more attractive with buxus hedge and trees – however, don't choose anything that will drop blossom, pollen or leaves on parked cars.
Add a bathroom
Older homes, such as those built in the 19th or early 20th century, tend to have bathrooms on the ground floor, but not upstairs. Converting an upstairs room into a bathroom, or adding an en suite will increase your home’s value instantly. If structural features or space limitations prevent you from installing fully functioning bathrooms, a simple shower room can fit in spaces as small as 1 x 2.5m.
Restoring your home’s original character can add significant value to your home. Over the years, alterations and additions made to a home can obscure its period appeal. Restoring your home’s original features can also be a fascinating exercise – there’s a story behind every antique fireplace, ceiling moulding or tiled floor.
At Engel & Völkers we have over 30 years experience advising homeowners on boosting the value of their property. Our real estate experts understand all there is to know about the current market and what buyers are looking for, so you can rest assured you're in safe hands.