Improvements ‘Don’t Always Add Value’

Tuesday, May 4 2004

The recent boom in DIY, and the glut of television programmes concerned with how to increase the value of one’s house before putting it on the market can be misleading, says new research.

Knight Frank has found that when adding fixtures and fitting to a house prior to selling it, some improvements are worth more than others.

The agent has published a table of percentage of average return on added features. It found that central heating was top of the list, with a 100% average return, closely followed by a major kitchen refurbishment, which is worth 90%, and a minor kitchen refurbishment, which, surprisingly can be worth as much as a 102% payback.

On average, a refurbished bathroom is worth a 77% payback on the cost, and a new fireplace 75%. However, installing a swimming pool was worth less than half the initial outlay, at 44% according to the figures.

‘While many home improvements can certainly add to the saleability of a property, the cost of the project won’t necessarily add to the asking price,’ cautioned Knight Frank partner James Simpson.

He continued: ‘Home improvements must also be appropriate to the market: [in residential London sales] a deck is going to be a desirable feature in Clapham, but may look out of place in Chelsea.

‘A smallbone kitchen will definitely be worth the cost for a house in St John’s Wood, but you’re unlikely to recoup the cost in Hackney.’

He added also that a bad DIY project will always detract from the re-sale value, with anything that looks unprofessional, such as a badly fitting kitchen or uneven plastering will get buyers wondering and asking questions.

Knight Frank