Kirsty McLuckie: Splashing out on extras
Sometimes, it seems, we are less concerned with how comfortable we can make our own abodes than with how much extra moolah our weekend DIY projects can net us when we come to sell.
The sensible approach is to take both considerations into account, of course. If you want to install a “conversation pit” in the middle of your kitchen, as some friends recently did, to facilitate family chats, then they probably should count on having to fill in the3m-x-3m sunken seating space – however artfully furnished with cushions – before selling. Otherwise they may run the risk of losing a couple of viewers into it while they’re admiring the worktops.
A quick search of press releases in my inbox using the phrase “add value” throws up a myriad of ideas, but the addition to the price tag is often offset by the cost of the project.
If done right, converting a loft into extra bedrooms, creating a garden room, or refitting a kitchen will undoubtedly bump up the value of your property, but they are expensive and intrusive works.
At the other end of the scale, painting your front door, adding pot plants to a terrace and strategically hanging mirrors in small spaces will undoubtedly make your property more saleable, but might not add on much more to the value than the tens of pounds they cost.
However, one improvement that can undoubtedly add more than its cost, and will make your home life much more amenable, is adding a second bathroom.
According to Peter Elson, of YOPA Estate Agents, a second or even third bathroom is becoming an absolute necessity for those looking to move to a new house.
He says: “You can add up to5 per cent value to your property by adding a second bathroom, more so in the current market.
“A lot of second-steppers I see have a second bathroom right near the top of their wishlist.
“An ensuite is no longer a luxury, it’s a ‘must have’ – and a four-bedroom home should have a minimum of two bathrooms, ideally three.”
A survey carried out this week by The Bathroom Showroom backs this up. It found that 86 per cent of its respondents said they would be willing to pay more for a home with two bathrooms – on average an extra £3,580. One in ten said they would be happy to pay over £10,000 for the luxury of not having to queue at the sole loo door in the morning.
And more than one bath or shower room was particularly important to younger generations, compared to those over 65.
You could put this down to 25-34 year olds having no memory of the stoicism required to live without indoor plumbing, but it is probably more to do with the way people in their 20s and 30s now live.
They are less likely to be in a single-family household and a considerable number will be flat sharing or will have taken in a lodger to help pay the mortgage.
A second bathroom is a luxury when you are living with your own kids, but when you might be sharing with a stranger, it really is an absolute necessity.