Types of Home Renovations and Improvements | NatWest

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Types of home renovations and improvements

Ways to improve your home

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6 ways to improve your home

It’s easy to let your imagination run wild when thinking about home improvements. But remember, every property has a maximum value based on its location and size.

It's worth bearing this in mind, especially if you're looking to make renovations before you put your house on the market. To make sure you don’t overspend, ask a local estate agent what your home could be worth following your planned improvements. They may have some recommendations of how to add value to your property without overspending.

It’s also important to consider how you own the property – if you're a leaseholder, you'll likely have to seek permission from the freeholder before you can carry out any renovations.

Houses

Houses

Bathroom

The number of bedrooms in a property is typically the first metric by which it's judged, but buyers will be looking at how many bathrooms there are too. Practicality is key when you have a few bedrooms, so it could be worth knocking through a cramped box room to make an en suite.

 

If you're creating an additional bathroom, try to pick a space that's close to your existing water and sewerage pipes to lower plumbing costs and to keep disruption to the rest of the house to a minimum. Generally speaking, that will be above, below or adjacent to your existing bathroom facilities.

 

Renovating your bathroom can be expensive. Keep it simple and think about classic trends that won’t date when making plans. Could you make minor changes like re-grouting or replacing old taps instead of completely redoing the whole room? 

 

A light and airy bathroom might be the best case scenario, but it's not possible for everyone. If you can't install a window, ensure there's proper ventilation with an extractor fan. On the other side of the scale, if your bathroom is overlooked, you'll want to swap out your regular clear window for a frosted one.

 

Antonia from tidyawaytoday.co.uk has shared her experience of creating extra bathroom space.

Take a look at Antonia's post

Houses

Houses

Loft conversion

One of the easiest ways to get extra living space is to convert your loft, as the majority of the work is carried out from the outside, and you won't have to sacrifice any of your garden space. Before you go ahead though, you'll want to think about accessibility – ideally, you'd have another flight of stairs installed. 

 

Height can be another issue. While there's no longer any legal requirement for loft ceilings, you'll want the space to have comfortable standing room, which is generally agreed to be at least 2.2 metres high. If your house doesn't allow this, you'd either need to raise the roof or lower the ceiling of the room below – each likely to result in greater cost and disruption.

 

Once you've assessed your space, you can probably figure out a straightforward loft conversion on your own, but check in with an engineer to ensure that your project is both structurally sound and that the flooring can be properly reinforced. While you're in talks, ask them to draw up the technical details of your plan so you can pass them on to your builder when it comes to actually bringing it all together.

 

A basic conversion should cover electrics, lighting, proper ventilation and heating, the all-important fire safety measures, as well as a new staircase, insulation and windows. As long as you're not changing your property's exterior, you're unlikely to need planning permission, but there's no harm in asking your local planning department to confirm.

 

Converting your loft into an extra bedroom or office space is a big and potentially expensive job but it could give you the space to fit a growing family, and it’s likely to add value to your home.

Houses

Houses

Extensions

Another popular way to maximise space is with an extension – building an extra room or increasing the size of an existing room within your land's boundaries. This can eat into your outside space, but could even be an extra storey or a basement, depending on your budget.

 

Before all the excitement gets underway though, there are a few practicalities to get out of the way; planning permission and building regulations approval. Both are legal requirements, and you'll need to get them before you build - otherwise your improvements could be taken down after they've been built.

 

When applying for planning permission, do your homework first, seeking advice from builders and your local council. 

Houses

Houses

Double-glazing windows

A potentially expensive job but installing double-glazed windows will help make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. 

 

How much it could cost depends on a number of things, including the size of your home, number of windows and if plastic or wooden frames are used. Also, double-glazing will appeal to future buyers if you decide to sell.

 

Christine & Jan from littlehouseonthecorner.com have shared their ideas on installing double glazing.

Take a look at their post

Houses

Houses

Kitchens

As the heart of the home, the kitchen is often the first place we want to fix up to add value to our property. It can also be one of the most expensive places to redo.

 

A cheaper option could be update your cupboard doors by painting them, replacing them, or even just changing the handles. If you do decide a new kitchen is the way forward, make sure you don’t overspend in relation to the value of your home.

Ellen from ellenarnison.com has shared her ideas about creating an open plan kitchen.

Take a look at Ellen's post

Houses

Houses

Garage conversion

Not everyone uses a garage for a car these days, so converting it into a living space could work wonders.

 

Emptying the space will help you envision what you've got to work with, so have a think where you could keep the tools or the odds and ends you've stored over the years. 

 

Garages tend to be longer and thinner than most standard rooms, so you could consider converting it into two – this might give you the space to install a downstairs bathroom.

 

While planning permission isn't always needed, you'll still have to comply with building regulations to ensure the project is safe, so a building notice will almost certainly have to be sent to your local council – whether you're converting into one room or two. Other regulations, like leak-proofing, ventilation and fire escape routes will come into account, so keep these in mind when planning and seek advice from your local council.

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Useful links

Get your property deeds from the Land Registry

Gov.uk 

Find a rated tradesman for your job
Rated People 

 

Find local recommended tradesperson
Trust a trader 

Apply for planning permission
Planning Portal 

These links are to non-NatWest websites. NatWest is not liable for the accuracy of the information provided on these websites. 

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