How to turn your develop your house for the long haul

COULD turning your property into the perfect “forever” home could pay off?

Developing your property for the long haul may be the best investment you can make in an overheated property market. Picture: PA

The property market isn’t showing much sign of cooling down as the weather grows chillier.

Indeed, according to official figures, the average house price across the UK has surged to £284,000 - a new record high.

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The new all-time peak was reached after typical property values jumped by £2,000 in the space of a month, the report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown.

So, if you’re wondering how you’re going to make another leap up the property ladder to get the house of your dreams, how about considering turning your existing property into your “forever” home?

Making sure that your property will grow with you and your family is a tough task, and of course you’ll have to work out whether it might actually be cheaper in the long run to just up sticks and move.

But even if you do eventually decide to sell up, making your property look like an attractive place for someone else to call home for the long term, could boost your chances of getting a good price.

Deciding how to spend your budget to turn your property into a “forever home” isn’t necessarily straightforward though.

However, should you just think about what would suit you and your family best - or could you make a cannier investment by trying to consider the wider appeal of your renovations?

Craig Calder, director of Barclays Mortgage Services, says: “A forever home obviously has a different meaning for everyone, so owning one that’s perfect for you might not be perfect someone else.

“But by having a checklist of the most common features ticked off, you can create a property you would want to grow old in, knowing others are likely to broadly agree if you ever decide to re-sell.”

Here are some ideas from Barclays Mortgages to ensure your property becomes closer to the ideal “forever” home for both yourself and any potential future buyers, based on research among 2,000 people about what their dream property would look like:

• Build a garage. Whilst there have been reports that we rarely use our garages to store our cars, this was voted the top dream feature for forever homes in the UK. Garages often act as a valuable storage facility, so if you have the space, it could be worth investing in an extension. Too expensive? Consider whether some of your existing space can be converted into a parking area instead.

• Convert the spare room. If you have a spare or rarely-used room such as an office, it’s worth considering converting it into a bedroom so it can be marketed as a guest room.

• Get an en-suite. Oh the luxury! If you don’t have space in your property to install an en-suite upstairs, a downstairs toilet is also a good option.

• Go green. Make the most of any green space that comes with a property, ensuring buyers have a little oasis of their own.

• Time to dine. Shows like Come Dine With Me have revived the classic dinner party, so it’s of little surprise that many people would hope for an impressive dining room. This doesn’t have to be a big space - it could just be a clearly marked out area in a kitchen - so potential buyers can imagine how they might use this space.