Five ‘trendy’ home improvements you’re unlikely to get money back on – ‘extremely off-putting’

HOUSE THAT: When renovating or making home improvements, keep in mind your home’s resale value (Photo by Getty)

The property market is proving to be more resilient than many experts thought.

Despite the political and economic unrest the UK has experienced of late, prices aren’t falling at the rate some predicted, so homeowners wishing to sell still stand a decent chance of getting a good price for their house. However, experts warn that several fashionable home improvements which may look appealing can quickly become a financial drain on your property.

Housing expert and owner of self storage company Pink Storage, Scott Evans said that certain renovations can have the “opposite effect on your home and decrease its value by thousands”. Especially home improvements or DIYs done without the right planning permission can cause major problems for potential buyers.

Research by Help me Fix, a property maintenance solution provider, has revealed the ‘in-trend’ renovations that can actually lose a homeowner money when they comes to sell. The provider looked at five common property projects, how much value they add to a home based on current market values and what’s left once homeowners account for the cost of the work involved.

READ MORE: Major mortgage lender offering customers £2,000 to make green improvements

The site also revealed one home improvement that could decrease property value by as much as £12,300.

Home cinema
A home theatre used to be the exclusive domain of extremely wealthy celebrities, not anymore. Large properties now frequently include them, especially those with spacious underground areas.

Installing a home theatre will set you back by £15,000, and it is predicted to boost your home’s value by 0.9 per cent. Based on the current average house price (£295,903), this 0.9 per cent is equivalent to £2,663 which means the whole process will actually see you potentially lose £12,337.

Loft conversions and wine cellars

Wine cellars are not a profitable addition, according to experts (Photo by Getty)

Loft conversions are incredibly popular, especially in densely populated metropolitan areas, but because they are very expensive (around £37,500), even a 10.8 per cent increase (£31,957) in house value cannot offset the consequent £5,542 drop in selling proceeds. It’s a similar story with wine cellars – they add 10 per cent to the overall value (£29,590) and cost around £35,000 to install, resulting in a £5,410 loss in selling profit.

Standalone shower
Removing the bath and replacing it with a standalone shower in the family bathroom costs around £2,765. Since for some families, a bath is a non-negotiable, it is thought to actually reduce the value of a home by 2 per cent resulting in a sale income reduction of £8,683.

Solar panels

Installing solar panels is a costly affair (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

A widely discussed house renovation, solar panels can result in respectable energy cost savings if you stay in the home for a very long period. Looking at the current state of energy and price affairs, it is something that most property buyers would be interested in.

A property’s worth is reportedly increased by solar panels by 0.5 per cent, or £1,479. However, installing solar panels costs about £5,875, which translates to a £4,396 loss.

Bold colours

Bold colours are popular on social media right now. One look at the trending hashtags and you will see pink bedroom and lilac living room amongst the top ten.

However, getting personal with your interior design can also make your home less desirable and decrease its value. Potential buyers could be put off if you use bold colours on your walls as they may have to spend countless hours covering them.

Scott said: “A bad colour choice can make your room look smaller and less appealing. If you plan on selling your home opt for neutral colours that act as a blank canvas for the potential home buyer.”

READ MORE: House prices fall by more than £1,000 – see what’s happening in your region

Swimming pool
Adding a swimming pool is almost certainly a bad investment, especially in the UK. An outdoor pool installation can cost somewhere between £60,000-£110,000, with little return on that investment.

If anything, it will continue to cost you money in maintenance throughout its life. Future buyers will see that and lower their price as a form of reimbursement for the hassle they will inherit.

Even if you carried out just three of these renovations – home cinema, solar panels and standalone shower – it would potentially set you back £23,640 in total, and add only £1,576 to your home’s value. Based on the ‘potential cost’ minus the ‘added value’ you would end up £22,064 out of pocket.

Experts at Help Me Fix suggest that homeowners who want to be sure that their home improvement efforts add real value to a property and also result in a higher profit upon selling the home would be wise to stick to the more tried and tested space-creating improvements. Research from the solution provider found that the best way to add value to a property is through garage conversion.

According to Help Me Fix, a garage conversion can increase sale profit by £15,840, whereas building a garden office boosts profit by £12,693. Creating open plan living is a value addition too and will put an extra £9,762 in the seller’s pocket.

Ettan Bazil, CEO and Founder of Help me Fix said: “There is an assumption that major home improvements are always a good investment due to the fact that they add to a property’s market value. But what a lot of people don’t do is account for the initial cost of completing the improvement and measure it against the value added to the home – if the former outweighs the latter, your home will certainly sell for more, but your personal profit will still be reduced.

“We would advise homeowners to take their time and conduct thorough research before committing to any major improvements to ensure that they’re going to be better off at the end of the day. You might find that smaller, more basic improvements such as a new boiler, fixed roof, or double-glazing installation will actually prove to be better long-term investments as well as putting less immediate strain on your finances.”

Additional reporting by Angela Patrone


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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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