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Does a home extension equal greater value?

4th January 2018

Insider advice from Mark Mugliston, Residential Sales Manager, in his monthly column in the Diss Express.

I imagine many of you will have spent the Christmas and New Year break thinking about your own home as you have probably spent more time there than any other time of the year.

While some will be already planning a move – Boxing Day is one of the busiest for internet house searches – others will be looking at ways of improving their home. We are always very busy in January with requests for valuations and advice.

One of the most common questions we get asked is ‘how much will a conservatory, extension or loft conversion add to the value of my home?’ Every house and situation is different, but the general answer is probably not as much as you think. It almost certainly will be less than it will cost you to build and sometimes we might even suggest it detracts from the property and negatively affects its value.

John Roberts and Chris Hobson, our in-house Architect and Principal Planner from the Building Consultancy department are experts on the technical side of what is possible and whether permission is needed. They are also really clever in spotting alternatives or improvements to an initial idea. A good recent example is John pointing out to a client that they could add a window to provide much more light and airiness to a previously drawn design and in a wall the owners didn’t think they would be able to change.

It’s not all bad news. I’ve seen extensions and other changes made to houses that have transformed them. So if you want or need more space, get expert advice first but don’t automatically expect it to add thousands to the value of your home. What extending can be is a way to create that extra space you need for less than it might cost to move to a bigger property, so it’s worth taking all things into consideration.

I think conservatories are the most difficult as they are a ‘Marmite’ item, too hot in the summer for some and too cold in the winter for others. I also personally feel many are built too small to be truly practical and whilst it might fit the purpose for the current owner they can lack the space to provide a proper addition to the reception space in the house.

Another favourite question – and one really worth asking – is ‘would I get permission to build another property in my garden? Again, talk to the experts like our Building Consultancy team for the best way forward. The recent introduction of PIP, permission in principle, has made planning consent easier and cheaper to encourage more applications.

From my point of view, the discussion on values has to centre on what you might gain from having a plot with planning consent on it, against what you lose in the value of the remaining building and garden. The margin is often tighter than you might imagine and building the wrong thing in the wrong place can seriously detract from a property’s appeal.

You also have to plan carefully. There are tax implications around selling land off and the timing has to be right to minimise that impact: land first, house second. If you are planning to move after permission is granted, I would suggest waiting until after work is done because selling your home while it has a building site next door rarely adds to its attraction. Once the work is complete, potential buyers will also not be put off by what might be built on the adjacent land.