14/03/2017 | 3 min read

Adding Real Value

When you spend money on your home you want to be sure that you are investing wisely. But knowing where to spend and where to pull back can be a very difficult decision for many people – not made any easier with conflicting advice, depending on who you speak to.

We had a client recently who was told by an estate agent that moving her kitchen from the north facing front of the house to the south facing rear to connect with the garden would undervalue her property. I would strongly disagree with this. In fact if you are only going to improve one area of your home with the hope of boosting your properties value, make it the kitchen and if possible open it up to your garden.

Today’s family has little or no requirement for formal seating or dining areas and favours a far more relaxed approach to cooking, dining and living. This is the area of the house where the family will spend most of their time. The old saying – ‘the kitchen is the heart of the home’, has never been more true.

When it comes to choosing a kitchen it can be difficult to know how best to invest. You need to make sure the price bracket of your kitchen matches the price bracket of your house.

There is a rule of thumb that says when deciding on a budget for your new kitchen you should spend 5% of the overall value of your home. Spend more and you risk not getting the money back, spend less and you may not actually be adding any value.

The obsession with square footage is hopefully a thing of the past. When it comes to a home bigger is not necessarily better. Look at the proportions of your home and garden. Building an extension might mean you lose valuable garden space or you might find that the original front room becomes redundant.

The best advice I can give anyone planning an extension or renovation is to spend some time re-evaluating the layout of your home. The single most important element of any scheme is to get the space working right. So before you start, assess the layout of the room or house. Identify any unused spaces or rooms and re-work the plan so that it all pulls together. You might actually find that simply reconfiguring the existing layout would be a better solution to extending.

And don’t be afraid to knock a few walls and sacrifice some rooms. Future buyers will more interested in the amount of usable space, rather than the number of rooms in a house.

Be wary of spending too much on your home. If houses on your road cost €350,000, building a huge extension which means your asking price will be €550,000 isn’t a good idea.  People looking for a €550,000 house won’t be looking in your area.

And finally even if you don’t have the money to build an extension, think about applying for planning permission to do so. You will be able to illustrate the potential in your home without having to go to the expense of building anything and gives prospective buyers peace of mind that the county council has approved the work.

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