Searching for a home where you can add value, but not sure what exactly to look for?

As a buyer looking for a new place to live, you may well be keen to find property with potential – after all, our homes are an investment. But how do you go about doing this?

Property portal Zoopla provides some helpful pointers for  spotting opportunities where you can add value:

Home extensions
Extending property is a great way of adding value in a tried and tested manner, so keep an eye out for a home which can be built out.

Many Victorian and Edwardian terraced houses have a side return – a dark and often under-used strip of garden. This can be a great area to extend into, to create a bigger and highly-desirable kitchen.

Also look for properties with a nearby outhouse which can be joined up by a link extension.

Don’t forget to look up and down too, as there may be space for a loft or basement conversion.

Homes where you can add a storey
If a property already has a single-storey extension, look at whether there’s scope for adding another storey.

This could give you space for an additional bedroom and bathroom – one of the most effective ways to boost your property’s value.

Do some research during your viewing to see if any of the neighbours have done something similar, as this could set a helpful precedent.

Also seek expert advice from a builder on whether the existing extension is strong enough to support a second storey.

Homes on plots that can be extended
Don’t be too quick to dismiss a home where the plot is too small for the size of property. Check out the possibility of purchasing adjacent land.

If you are able to do so, this could mean a dramatic increase in the value of the property.

Also note that small homes on bigger plots have lots of opportunities for improvement.

Homes where you can create open-plan living
Building an open-plan kitchen-living room is a highly desirable way of adding value to your home, so look out for places with a small kitchen that is beside a large dining room or living room.

Do a bit of detective work right away to work out whether the wall is internal or load-bearing. It will cost more to remove the wall, as structural support will be needed to replace it, if it is load-bearing.

If in doubt, arrange a visit with a surveyor or structural engineer.

Homes where you can improve layout
Spend time scouring the floor plan to see what changes can be made. A badly laid out property that can be re-configured can offer potential.

Homes that require new kitchens and bathrooms
Pay close attention to homes which need the kitchen and bathroom ripping out and starting again. They are two of the most valuable rooms in a property.

A brand new kitchen with the latest mod cons and oodles of storage, or a sparkling new bathroom suite with flashy taps, power shower and glass screen could add some serious extra value onto your home.

Homes where you can add a downstairs toilet
A property where you can install a ground floor WC can offer decent potential – and will appeal, in particular, to those with young children, people who like to entertain, as well as older couples who may struggle with stairs.

Think as creatively as you can, as you may not need to knock down walls or build an extension to fit a downstairs toilet into the property. You may be able to fit one in in a large cupboard, in a space under the stairs, or by siphoning off a portion of a room.

Ugly homes
While an ugly home can be a turn-off at first sight, it’s worth looking beyond initial impressions to see if the place can be given a facelift – and especially if the property is in a good location.

A ‘good’ location could mean, for example, it is an area known for its good schools or transport links.

You may be able to make some relatively simple cosmetic changes to an ugly property, such as new windows, painting, cladding – and planting climbing plants. All these steps can make a dramatic difference.

Homes that are close to the road
Many buyers will turn their backs on a property that suffers from being too close to a road. But there are steps you can take to improve things in terms of looks and noise, such as good screening and a change of approach.

Homes with outside potential
Take a look outside to see if there is enough space for a garden room – which could be a great spot for a home office.

A self-contained structure can add value as it increases the usable floor space of the property.

A conservatory is another good way to increase the living or dining space – or make a kitchen more spacious.

But note that conservatories can make or break your home’s aesthetic. You need to plan carefully and make it seem the house was originally designed with the conservatory in mind.

Homes where you can restore old features
You can add real value to a property by restoring original features and taking good care of them – enhancing the charm and personality.

Spend some time looking at properties which have these features, such as wooden beams, old-fashioned fireplaces, floorboards, bannisters and doors – and especially if they haven’t been treated very sympathetically.

Homes that have a poor EPC
While you might view a home with a G-rated Energy Performance Certificate as a complete deal-breaker, you could also see these weaknesses as potential – as dramatic improvements can be made.

For example, you could upgrade the heating system, replace an old inefficient boiler with a modern condensing A-rated model, and install insulation, such as loft and cavity wall insulation. You could also make improvements, such as adding solar panels and ground/air source heat pumps. These changes will bring a property straight into the 21st century, and make a big difference to its value.

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