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Which home improvements add the most value in the UK?

So does a new front door make any difference? What about solar panels or a new bathroom suite?

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It can be a nightmare to know what is the best approach to take when you want to add value to your home.

We’re going to take a look at some of the most common home improvements, and assess whether they really can make a difference to the value of your property.

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What adds the most value to a house in the UK

Before we consider adding value, it’s important to consider your plans. If the intention is to make the improvement to increase the sales price, that’s quite different from improvements to enhance your quality of life.

After all, some of the suggestions may not give you, personally, any additional value at all. So, if you have no plans on moving, then your focus may be more on what works for you rather than on increasing the asking price.

Different areas of the UK may also have different requirements. A family-orientated area may see additional bedrooms as a huge advantage, while an area that attracts retirees may have a stronger focus on reliable heating and a downstairs bathroom.

Speak to an estate agent

The people who really know what’s going on in your local property market are the estate agents. What are they getting requests for? There’s no point putting in solar panels if no one ever requests them, while meanwhile, they can’t keep up with demand for properties with loft conversions.

Gaining an honest appraisal from one or two local estate agents can provide you with feedback on their recommendations. They’ll be able to tell you what is a worthwhile investment to add value while also enabling you to save money by avoiding unnecessary changes.

Don’t forget that the estate agent will be as keen as you to secure the house sale!

Installing a central heating system

If you’ve ever experienced the misery of a broken-down boiler then you know that having no heating or hot water is just no fun. Likewise, if you’ve lived in a home without central heating, then you may have been searching out the thermals come the winter months.

Teachers Building Society suggests that if there’s no central heating in place, then you could add up to 4.5% to the value of a home by getting a new heating system installed.

Make sure that you pick a high-efficiency boiler to keep energy bills and emissions as low as possible. That’s not only going to appeal to potential buyers in the long term but it will also add value to the property.

Take a look at our guide to boiler prices to start planning your heating renovations.

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Replacing a heating system

If you have heating in place at the moment but it’s out of warranty or an old model, then comparing quotes for boiler replacement can really add value to your home. That’s because a new boiler brings some big benefits:

Improved efficiency

There have been huge advances in boiler efficiency levels in recent years. With government pressure to reduce energy use, all of the major manufacturers have come with innovative technologies in the battle to produce the most efficient boiler.

If your boiler has efficiency levels that are below 90% then it’s not giving you a good return on investment.

Reduced carbon emissions

While this guide is focussing on how to add value to your home, it would be remiss of us not to also mention how you can also reduce carbon emissions at the same time. It’s also worth considering that some potential buyers will be attracted to a home that has a reduced carbon footprint compared to other properties

Getting a no-obligation new boiler quote is the first step. If you require any assistance with paying for a new boiler you can get a boiler on finance to spread the cost of new boilers from 2 to 10 years.

Underfloor heating

This is one of those renovations that provides a sense of quality, and a perception of a high standard of finish to the home. That, in turn, leads to a higher value. There are though some additional benefits of underfloor heating that you may not have considered:

Space saving

The perception of underfloor heating is that it’s just a luxurious addition. However, it also offers some real practicalities. Because it warms the home via the whole floor area, there’s no need for radiators and so it provides more living space.

This then means that the room now offers alternatives to the existing layout with more space available for the furniture. This flexibility can be a big appeal to home buyers.

Energy efficiency

Even though it might seem to be a luxury, underfloor heating can reduce your energy bills. That’s because it has a high level of energy efficiency. This comes from the fact that this type of heating only needs the water to be heated to around 29 degrees celsius. The water for radiators however needs to be heated to between 65-75 degrees celsius.

This reduced flow temperature means that less energy is needed to heat the water and that can be a great way to add value to your home.

Check your boiler type before starting

Different boiler types will need slightly different installation processes.

If you have a best combi boiler, for example, you can have this type of heating installed but some adjustments need to be made and this might increase the cost of the installation. This usually means having a qualified heating engineer put a two-port valve in place.

This controls the flow of water in a heating system, and if you don’t have one installed, then your boiler will try to run both the heating underfloor and the radiators. When this happens it can cause the boiler to overheat and then develop faults.

With the valve in place, the two systems can run independently. 

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Completing a loft conversion

Barclays report that putting bedrooms in the loft space is one of the most profitable ways of adding value to your home, with the average price increase being between 5% to 10%.

The Nationwide, meanwhile, is a lot more optimistic with their suggested increases. They state that the property’s value can increase by up to 20% when a loft conversion includes a new bedroom and bathroom.

Roof light conversion is usually the cheapest way to convert a loft. This keeps the size of the existing space with just the addition of roof lights. Many people also prefer the look of the roof lights being flat in line with a tiled roof as opposed to a dormer window that can give an ugly appearance and actually decrease the value of your home.

You will need to consider whether your current boiler has a cold water tank as part of the easting system as that’s normally located up in the loft. In that situation, you’re also going to need a new boiler which will add to the costs involved.

Do I need planning permission for a loft conversion?

Generally, there’s no need to obtain planning permission as the footprint of the home isn’t being increased; you’re just making better use of the space available.

There are some exceptions to this so if you have a listed property, for example, then that’s going to need planning permission to be granted.

A new bathroom suite

Whether it’s a power shower or an en suite bathroom to the master bedroom, upgrading the bathroom suite can offer significant value to a new owner. It’s important that you think about wider appeal rather than just what you would choose.

Showers, for example, are pretty much considered an essential feature even if your preference is for a soak in the bath. So make sure that you add value for the potential buyer unless of course, this is a luxury just for you!

Our key tips for upgrading bathroom are:


  • Fit an extractor fan for ventilation
  • Put in flooring that’s hygienic and easy to keep clean. That usually means vinyl or floor tiles.
  • If any of the sanitary ware is damaged so chipped or stained then get it replaced
  • If you have an ‘old fashioned’ coloured suite such as avocado or pink then consider replacing it with white for a broader appeal
  • Ensure that you have a shower fitted into at least one of the bathrooms
  • Put in a shower screen rather than a shower curtain for a cleaner more stylish appearance

Adding appeal to the bathroom

  • Unfashionable tile can be replaced, painted over, or even tiled over for a quicker job
  • A heated towel rail is one of those luxuries that everyone enjoys
  • If you’re putting in a new floor, then consider underfloor heating
  • There should be at least one bathroom for every three bedrooms. If the bathroom is at ground floor level where the bedrooms are upstairs then do see if there is any way it could be moved or if extra bathrooms can be put in closer to the bedrooms
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Fitting double glazing

With double glazing being the most popular type of window in the UK, if your home currently doesn’t have it in place, then that might come as a surprise to potential buyers. There are big energy gains from this type of glazing which then provide the opportunity for saving money on utility bills.

The Energy Savings Trust suggests that by installing A-rated double glazing then energy bills could be reduced by£95 per year. Installing A++ rated double glazed windows can take the saving up to £115 per year.

Adding a garden room

Living space can be at a premium in many homes and options like a dining room can just be unachievable in many modern homes. One way around this is to consider adding a garden room or a summer house.

More often than not, this type of development doesn’t need you to apply for planning permission, because they’re classed as outbuildings.

The garden office

One popular use for this type of space is to develop a garden office. With many people now working from home, it can be a struggle to differentiate between time ‘at work’ and time for relaxing.

A garden office can be a great solution to this issue while also increasing the square footage of indoor space and the property value.

Now, there will be some restrictions on how large you can make this extra living space so do check with your local authority first.

Installing solar panels

With the ever-increasing costs of electricity, solar energy is starting to look very appealing. While you may have concerns about the ability of the British weather and its ability to provide a source of fuel, a hybrid system can remove those worries.

This means that you remain connected to the mains so that when there isn’t enough energy in the solar system that you’re still able to have an electricity supply.

In terms of adding value to your home, the news isn’t quite so good. The consumer organisation Which? found that most estate agents felt that having solar energy systems installed will result in no increase to the value of your home and in some cases that it might even decrease the house price.

However, the potential to earn some money by pushing the excess energy produced back into the mains might be a big appeal!

Do I need planning permission to install solar panels?

Solar PV panels are considered ‘permitted developments’ so that means that they don’t usually require planning permission. However, there are exceptions so do check with your local planning office for advice. There will be restrictions if you live in a conservation area or your home is a listed building.

When you install a solar PV system in your home, you then need to register it with the Distribution Network Operator (DNO). This is the company that is responsible for supplying electricity to your home. While the installer will usually do this, that’s not always the case so do make sure that this essential step is completed.

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Does decorating a house add value?

Internal decoration

Most people prefer neutral colours. So, if you have a passion for purple, pink, or any other bright colour then it might be a good idea to consider giving everything a fresh coat of paint in a calmer shade.

Now it might be argued that people viewing your home will be able to see past the colour of your walls but prospective buyers might struggle to do that if your choice of decoration is too glaringly bright.

While the costs of brushes and paint needn’t break the bank, do take your time to ensure a good finish. A poor paint job can be as bad as off-putting as a room that needs decorating.

External decoration

The Times suggests that a makeover to spruce up the outside of your home can increase its value by 2-3%. Don’t forget the front door, a replacement or refurbishing the existing one can really make a big difference to the kerb appeal of the property.

Building a swimming pool

When people are looking for top-notch prime properties, then a swimming pool is one of the features that is a ‘must-have.’ There’s even been some research that adding a pool can increase the value of a property by a whopping 22%!

However, this is a small market and there needs to be a suitably impressive property to go along with the pool. The key downside though is swimming pools tend to get love it or hate it type response. That then means that you have instantly reduced the number of prospective buyers.

Maintaining a pool takes time and money, and unless expensive heating has been put in, the UK weather may limit its use to a few weeks of the year.

The good news is that you may not need planning permission to put in a pool. However, this does depend on the size of the garden, and where you live.

Garage conversion

If you’re really struggling for space but you need to increase the square footage of your home, then you could consider a garage conversion. Whether you need an extra bedroom or simply more living space an unused garage could provide the solution.

When considering whether this would add value to your home, you need to consider whether losing the garage as somewhere to park the car would result in a reduction in value.

Other things to consider are:

Natural light

It’s not enough to just put down some furnishings, for this to add value whether as an additional bedroom or home office, then it needs to be a seamless extension to the home. Ensuring there’s lots of natural light is one way of doing this. This can be achieved by having sliding doors made of glass or by putting in feature windows.

Additional bathrooms

Don’t forget that an extra bedroom may also mean that you need an additional bathroom. And while that may add value to your home when the project begins to get bigger you’ll need to see if this is still a cost-effective way to proceed.


Your garage probably wasn’t built to retain heat in the way that your home is. That means that if you need to insulate the area, then that may again mean that it’s not cost-effective to convert the space.

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Living or storage space?

The perfect home has a great balance between living and storage space. You may want a bathroom with a higher square foot than average but if that means the bedroom needs to be smaller resulted in limited space to store clothes, that could lead to problems. And, that could mean that results in a reduction of the value of your home.

Kitchens are the other areas where it’s important to give enough storage space, extra bedrooms are all well and good but if there’s one room that needs lots of cupboards it’s the kitchen. With modern clean lines and open plan kitchens being incredibly popular you can add value to your home by making sure that everything has a place to be put away out of sight.

Keep the period features!

While everyone likes to have some of the modern conveniences in their home, if someone is looking for period properties then they’re going to expect the house to feature some period elements.

So before you strip everything out and replace it with modern alternatives do research the period property market. Taking a more sympathetic approach to home improvements might be a better way for adding more value to your home.

Do also remember that your period property may need planning permission before undertaking work that may be permitted without problem on more modern homes.


Before you begin any work, it’s important to understand the different requirements. The last thing you want is to get into trouble with the local authority; that could lead to fines, delays in work, and a lot of extra expense making changes.

There are three elements you need to be aware of, planning permission, building regulations, and permitted development.

Planning permission

Planning Permission is usually required in three situations:

  • When you want to build something that’s new
  • When you want to make a major change to your building
  • When you want to change the use of your building from what it’s currently being used for

Don’t forget that it’s your responsibility for applying for planning permission prior to the work commencing.

Building regulations

Building regulations ensure that any conversions, renovations, and extensions that you have put in are going to be safe, high-performing, and don’t result in any health issues for you and your family.

They cover things like ensuring that the property is structurally sound, that there is adequate fire protection, and that it’s energy-efficient through the issuing of an energy performance certificate

If the home improvements involve structural changes, then it’s important to ensure that the builders undertaking the work are meeting all building regulations. It only takes a problem with a load-bearing wall for there to suddenly be major issues!

Permitted development

Some types of work to your home don’t need to have planning permission and this is called permitted development rights. Rather than being permission granted by your local authority, these have prior approval from the Government.

There are restrictions though and permitted development doesn’t apply to flats or maisonettes.

It’s always recommended that you speak with the local planning authority before beginning work. They’ll be able to advise if your project fits within the scope of permitted development or whether you’ll need to apply for planning permission.  

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How can I improve my home cheaply?

Even if you have very little budget, there are still things that you can do to increase the appeal of your home to potential buyers. First impressions count so here are our top three low-budget DIY projects.

Deep clean

When the house is grubby, it can put people off the moment they enter. Bad smells, dust, and stains can all be enough to cause the potential buyer to make a quick exit. Rightly or wrongly there can be an assumption that if the home isn’t cared for then there might also be bigger issues that haven’t been attended to either.

So, room by room scrub everything that can be scrubbed, wash curtains and rugs and make sure that everything is sparkling clean before the next viewing.

Tidy the garden

No one wants to have to take on a garden that’s become overgrown. While arriving at home with a tidy and well-kept garden is going to add to the kerb appeal of your home.

Don’t worry about adding expensive plants, the new owners may not want a high-maintenance garden. Instead, keep the grass cut, the borders free of weeds, and do make sure that you clean up after pets.


While you may love your nice backs and ornaments, they’re not to everyone’s taste. And, it can really be difficult to see the potential of a home when it’s full of what some people might class as clutter.

Then there’s the fact that if you have things lying around everywhere, then that might be interpreted as a lack of storage space. It’s fine to keep a few personal bits and pieces but aim for a less is more approach and make sure that everything is tided away.

Don’t forget the ceiling price!

No matter how much you spend on improvements, there will be a maximum price for your property. That means that no matter what amazing improvements you put in place or how much you spend, your property won’t go over a particular maximum value.

It’s thought that local factors such as the local schools and public transport can account for as much as 40% of the property’s value! So before you leap into making improvements, do check out house prices in your area and ensure that the work you complete, will add value to your home.

Which home improvements don’t add value?

Extending a room and losing a bedroom

While you may dream of a walk-in wardrobe or having room for a free-standing bath, if that means losing a bedroom then you could be reducing the value of your home.

Many people looking for a new property base their search on the number of bedrooms a property has and so your home may not even feature in the search results despite ticking all of the other boxes.

If you want to add value then you might want to consider options for increasing the number of bedrooms through an extension or loft conversion.

Installing high-end appliances

If you’re the next Nigella or Gordon Ramsey, then you might see the advantage to top-end appliances. But you do need to consider that you can generally get the same features on much cheaper options.

While free-standing appliances can move with you, built-in options are a little more tricky.

Putting in a wine cellar

If you’re a wine connoisseur then you might consider this to be a key way to add value to your home. But for most people, the £6 bottle of wine from Lidls really doesn’t justify this type of financial outlay.

Then there are going to be ongoing costs connected with running and maintaining the area and that might be enough to put off your potential purchaser.

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Landscaping a garden

Hiring a professional to landscape your garden isn’t cheap; you could easily spend several thousand in the process. This then means that it’s unlikely to be a sensible investment when the aim is to increase the value of your home.

However, that doesn’t mean to say that you should neglect the garden. Instead, make sure that the grass is cut, the borders are free of weeds, and that everything is looking tidy.

Next steps

A reliable and efficient heating system is a key requirement for all homeowners. Whether you’re planning improvements to increase the property value or just to enhance your home for your own quality of life, then having that reliable source of hot water has to be at the top of your list.

Thankfully, this is also an incredibly quick and easy improvement to get organised. All you need to do to get your new boiler quote is to provide a few details about your heating needs. Then you’ll be provided with details of boilers that are a perfect match.

Installation is just as easy to schedule and it can be done at the same time as you purchase the boiler. A few clicks of the mouse and it’s all organised!

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