House renovation costs
An expert guide for every budget
Whether your heart is set on an open-plan kitchen-diner or you need an extra bedroom for your family, home renovations or refurbishments can be a more cost-effective solution than moving. When done right, they won’t just maximise your enjoyment of the space, but can also significantly boost the value of your property, provided they have general appeal and any necessary approvals are in place.
We spoke to builders, architects and specialists to find out how much it costs to renovate a house and help you decide which route is right for you – whether you have a budget of £2,000 or £50,000.
Whether your heart is set on an open-plan kitchen-diner or you need an extra bedroom for your family, home renovations can be a more cost-effective solution than moving. When done right, they won’t just maximise your enjoyment of the space, but can also significantly boost the value of your property, provided they have general appeal and any necessary approvals are in place.
We spoke to builders, architects and specialists to help you decide which renovation route is right for you – whether you have a budget of £2,000 or £50,000.
Want a more sociable kitchen? Try extending
Extending your kitchen into the garden or a side alley can give you a large entertaining space and add value at the same time, but be sure to set yourself a realistic budget at the start.
Everything from soil type to size will impact on cost. On average, you should allow around £1,000-£2,000 per square metre for an extension – and, if you plan to use the new space for a kitchen, essentials such as plumbing, design and utilities could mean around £5,000-£10,000 on top1.
If you don’t have room to extend, an expert could help you explore the possibility of removing internal walls downstairs to create one multi-purpose space. Research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and HomeOwners Alliance shows that creating an open-plan kitchen and dining room can add up to £50,000 to a property – at a cost of less than £3,5002.
“This will not only make your home a more pleasant place to live, but increase its value significantly,” says Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB. “Better still, these projects take no time at all, so the hassle factor is kept to an absolute minimum.”
Need to update your home? Try a bathroom makeover
Creating a well-designed and up-to-date bathroom can make a big difference to the feel of your home, as well as adding up to 2.6% to its value3. Depending on the style, and the fixtures and fittings you choose, expect to pay between £2,500 for a basic refit and up to more than £6,000 for a luxury bathroom4.
Charles Bettes, Managing Director at architecture firm gpad london, says a successful bathroom renovation involves attention to detail.
“To achieve a bathroom with a contemporary feel, without it being too stark, stick to clean lines, and warm and subtle shades with the occasional pop of colour,” he advises.
For help on getting started with a redesign, read our article on planning a bathroom or kitchen renovation.
After more downstairs space? Consider a conservatory
A relatively cost-effective way to create a flexible new space in your home and potentially add value is to add a conservatory – but it’s important to plan the extension meticulously.
“If built properly, a conservatory should last for decades and be totally useable day and night for 365 days a year,” says Mark Caulfield of conservatory experts The Caulfield Company. “Good extensions also add value to homes when they’re sold. Buyers see them not just as an extra room but also as a lifestyle-enhancing space.”
Research shows a conservatory can add about 6% to the value of an average property3. However, it’s worth noting that the cost of a conservatory can vary hugely and depend on everything from size and materials to how much ground preparation is needed. A small conservatory can range from less than £5,000 to upwards of £17,0005.
Don’t want to extend? Convert your garage
If you’re looking for more space without extending out, a garage conversion could be the answer.
Converting a standard garage into a liveable room usually costs between £5,000 and £7,000 – but any structural changes, utilities and plumbing can push prices up6. Key considerations include waterproofing, insulation and integrating the conversion with the rest of your property.
A garage conversion can typically add up to 10% to the value of a property7, but it’s worth checking if houses with garages are given a higher value in your area, so you don’t run the risk of reducing the value of your home.
Need an extra bedroom? Consider a loft conversion
Loft conversions are a popular way to get an extra room, and are regularly cited as one of the top ways to add value8. A conversion typically costs between £20,000 and £45,000, depending on the size and complexity of the job9.
There are several options to consider – and a specialist can help you figure out what’s possible. It’s worth remembering that loft conversions can create more than one space, says Simply Loft Director Rob Wood.
“With a little guidance, your loft can be transformed into one of the most stylish areas of the house," he says. "On a recent project in London, the conversion resulted in two bedrooms, one bathroom, a small study area and a connecting roof terrace.”
No space to extend outwards? See if you can dig down
Homeowners are becoming increasingly creative with basement conversions, which can increase the value of your home by 10% to 20% according to property website House Extension Online. And if you already have a cellar, you could be sitting on an easy way to get an additional room in your home.
Converting an existing full-sized basement into a living space is obviously more cost-effective than digging a new basement. Expect to pay up to £1,500 per square metre for a straight conversion and up to £3,000 per square metre if you’re starting from scratch10.
"A key consideration for underground conversions is lighting," says Stephen Hunt of construction company Kisiel Group.
“It’s all about thinking outside the box. Recently, on a large extension, we brightened the lower basement level using a light well in the garden above.”
What are the practical considerations?
Research the added value
A good first step is to find out exactly what type of renovation you can afford, and whether it will add value in your postcode. Try an online tool, such as Homebuilding and Renovating’s Extension Cost Calculator, for an idea of how much your finished project should cost.
If you want your improvements to add value to your property, avoid anything too wacky or garish – remember that valuers are looking for properties with general appeal and their valuation will reflect this. Make sure you’ve got all the necessary approvals for the work in place (see below).
It can be expensive to remedy this retrospectively, and will put off buyers and lenders alike. Finally, be mindful that there will be a ceiling value for your property based on its location – and once you reach it, you’ll be unlikely to see a financial benefit from further investment. It’s worth speaking to estate agents in the area to discuss the return you might expect to get back from your renovations.
Consult the experts
Finding an expert such as an architect, builder or designer can give you a good steer for inspiration and planning. Contact firms who have completed extensions in your area, or look to a trade association, such as the Federation of Master Builders or the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Check planning regulations
In terms of planning consents, it’s worth knowing that smaller renovations may fall within permitted development limits, meaning planning permission is not required. However, it’s possible you may need a party wall agreement with your neighbours, as well as Building Regulations approval from your local authority.
Get your finance in place
You’ll also need to explore your finance options. One way to finance larger home improvements is by borrowing against your home. Find out about our mortgage options – or, if you already have a mortgage with us, you can apply to borrow more. Alternatively, consider a home improvement loan. Before any work begins, also make sure you have the right cover in place. You should protect your home and what’s in it with building and contents insurance and notify your insurer of your renovations.
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