Improvement potential - what to look for in a property

Zoopla's guide to spotting opportunities for adding value to your home. Picture: Getty Images/iStoc

Zoopla's guide to spotting opportunities for adding value to your home. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Spotting a homes potential often influences a decision about buying a property.

As a buyer looking for a new place to live, you may well be keen to find a property with potential – after all, our homes are an investment.

Here is property portal Zoopla’s guide to spotting opportunities for adding value to your home.

Home extensions

Extending property is a great way of adding value in a tried and tested manner, so keep an eye out for a home which can be built out.


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Many Victorian and Edwardian terraced houses have a side return – a dark and often under-used strip of garden. This can be a great area to extend into, to create a bigger and highly-desirable kitchen.

Also, look for properties with a nearby outhouse which can be joined up by a link extension.

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Don’t forget to look up and down too, as there may be space for a loft or basement conversion.

Homes where you can add a storey

If a property already has a single-storey extension, look at whether there’s scope for adding another storey.

This could give you space for an additional bedroom and bathroom – one of the most effective ways to boost your property’s value.

Do some research during your viewing to see if any of the neighbours have done something similar, as this could set a helpful precedent.

Also, seek expert advice from a builder on whether the existing extension is strong enough to support a second storey.

Homes on plots that can be extended

Don’t be too quick to dismiss a home where the plot is too small for the size of property. Check out the possibility of purchasing adjacent land.

If you are able to do so, this could mean a dramatic increase in the value of the property.

Also note that small homes on bigger plots have lots of opportunities for improvement.

Homes where you can create open-plan living

Building an open-plan kitchen-living room is a highly desirable way of adding value to your home, so look out for places with a small kitchen that is beside a large dining room or living room.

Do a bit of detective work right away to work out whether the wall is internal or load-bearing. It will cost more to remove the wall, as structural support will be needed to replace it, if it is load-bearing.

If in doubt, arrange a visit with a surveyor or structural engineer.

Homes where you can improve layout

Spend time scouring the floor plan to see what changes can be made. A badly laid out property that can be re-configured can offer potential.

Homes that require new kitchens and bathrooms

Pay close attention to homes which need the kitchen and bathroom ripping out and starting again. They are two of the most valuable rooms in a property.

A brand new kitchen with the latest mod cons and oodles of storage, or a sparkling new bathroom suite with flashy taps, power shower and glass screen could add some serious extra value onto your home.

Homes where you can add a downstairs toilet

A property where you can install a ground floor WC can offer decent potential – and will appeal, in particular, to those with young children, people who like to entertain, as well as older couples who may struggle with stairs.

Think as creatively as you can, as you may not need to knock down walls or build an extension to fit a downstairs toilet into the property. You may be able to fit one in a large cupboard, in a space under the stairs, or by syphoning off a portion of a room.

Ugly homes

While an ugly home can be a turn-off at first sight, it’s worth looking beyond initial impressions to see if the place can be given a facelift – and especially if the property is in a good location.

A ‘good’ location could mean, for example, it is an area known for its good schools or transport links.

You may be able to make some relatively simple cosmetic changes to an ugly property, such as new windows, painting, cladding and planting climbing plants. All these steps can make a dramatic difference.

Homes that are close to the road

Many buyers will turn their backs on a property that suffers from being too close to a road. But there are steps you can take to improve things in terms of looks and noise, such as good screening and a change of approach.

Read more at www.zoopla.co.uk

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