Looking to take advantage of a seller’s market? Now could be a good time to get started on your long-awaited home improvements — we interview a property expert and find out their advice.
According to The Guardian, house prices are forecast to rise by up to 3.5% a year between 2022 and 2024 thanks to a relentless wave of demand. In a post-pandemic world, people are engaging in a race for space, meaning buyers are seeking properties with large gardens and room to work from home.
We sat down with Ade Labinjo, CEO & Co-Founder of Breezeful — a leading online mortgage broker — to discuss the popular home improvements that will add value to your home, ready for a predicted market surge in 2022. Here is what Ade had to say:
“Kitchen extensions are a great way to add value to your property. Particularly a side return that extends the kitchen into an alley running adjacent to your house”, says Ade Labinjo.
“This is because these forms of extensions are mostly hassle-free as they fall under the banner of permitted development — which is a right to perform certain types of work without planning permission, so long as the works fall under stipulated conditions like being no more than four metres high or wider than the original house”.
The expectations for permitted development are noted under The Town And Country Planning Order 2015 and depend on your location and property type. Planning Portal provides much of the information you need on this topic.
Returning to the value of kitchen extensions, Ade adds “Buyers are demanding more space and a kitchen extension demands exactly that. It gives your kitchen, which tends to be one of the most used rooms in your house, functional space with a light, airy feel.”
“Converting your loft is the perfect use of an unused space that maximises house value. Whether you convert it into an extra bedroom or bespoke living space, having a converted loft is a big tick on most buyers’ wish lists”, says Ade Labinjo.
“Most loft spaces can be converted, but It’s certainly worth contacting a professional to discuss exactly what can be built. For example, an ensuite isn’t always possible, but having one in a newly added bedroom can add a lot of value to the house price.”
Loft conversions, despite obvious merit, can get expensive. Ade says “Like kitchen extensions, most loft conversions are permitted development, unless you alter the roofline. But that doesn’t make for a small investment, nor an easy win. Loft conversions regularly set you back in the tens and thousands, plus they take a long time to complete. Although the extra room is in high demand, particularly if you live in London where space premium”.
“In a post-pandemic world, the average homebuyer is looking for properties with an attractive, spacious outdoor area. If your garden isn’t up to scratch, it’s difficult to demand top whack for your property on the modern market. “ Says Ade Labinjo. “There are many features you can add to a garden that help to sell your home, including decking, patios, lighting, and a generous shed.”
When asked about gardens that wow buyers, Ade said “Simple low maintenance gardens tend to sell best. Overdeveloped and fussy outdoor spaces can be off-putting. Think of your garden as a blank canvas for the new owners to bestow their own vision”.
In the wake of COVID-19, hybrid working has become the norm, bringing with it a new trend — the garden office. On this topic, Ade says “ garden offices are in high demand because they provide a clear work-life balance, even when logged-in at home. This is likely to become a more common demand in the future, so catch the trend and keep thinking ahead to 2022 and beyond”.