With the housing market stuck in the doldrums, homeowners are increasingly opting to improve their existing property rather than move home, according to new research from RICS.
Over 50% of chartered surveyors across the UK revealed that the slow sales market is prompting a growing number of people to improve their existing properties rather than move house. Significantly, this pattern is being seen right across the country, with those in the North West most likely to stay put and renovate their current property. However, even in more buoyant areas, such as London, buyers are facing high property prices which are also prompting them to remain where they are and update their existing homes.
For those undertaking work to their homes, the addition of a new kitchen proved most popular, while improvements such as adding an additional bedroom were also a preferred choice. RICS warns that costs incurred for improvements will not always be covered by the potential increase in a property’s value, as this also depends on the quality of work and other features of the property, such as its style and location.
“Most properties have expansion or improvement potential, but we would advise homeowners to think about how much they are investing and their key motivator before undertaking major projects. It is important to consider the style and age of the property before undertaking any works. Remember, when you do eventfully look to sell, what appeals to you may not appeal to potential buyers. Costly disappointments can be avoided by prior planning and research. RICS advise that whatever you decide to do with your home you should seek professional advice and ensure all works are carried out by qualified contractors.”
RICS advice on how to get the most out of property improvements:
- Don’t be tempted to over value an improvement and expect high instant returns irrespective of market conditions
- If extending, make sure that the accommodation provided (i.e. property size) is balanced with the size of the plot, bigger is not always better
- When undertaking a loft extension or basement conversion try to keep the style of the new rooms in sympathy with the style of the rest of the property. A modern extension on a traditional property may look odd and lose appeal
- If you are trying to sell, bear in mind most areas have a ceiling price, ie, a maximum sale price you can expect to achieve. Improving a poor property in a good location is better than improving a good property in a poor location
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew – stick to a budget and ask the experts for advice.
For help and advice on moving, or improving your property, go to rics.org/usefulguides