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Sure Planning Director Steve McStea Gives His Top Tips on Adding Value to your Home!

Ever asked yourself why there are so many skips and hoardings in just about every London street As house prices continue to cruise ever higher and the cost of stamp duty makes moving increasingly expensive, the ‘don’t move, improve’ fan base grows rapidly. Sure, more and more families want more and more space, but it has to be financially viable, so its worth understanding how to design value into the project.

I’m going to explain how we add 1000-1500sq ft of essential and very valuable space leaving you to wonder how you ever coped before. You, your family and guests can enjoy and ultimately benefit when the time comes to move away be it to sunnier climes or to downsize. ‘Don’t move, improve’ has never been so profitable!

Developers know it well enough, you can build a large house and struggle to sell if it doesn’t tick all the boxes for the buyer- that’s why understanding the next owner is crucial. A typical three bed, Victorian mid-terrace property in London has the potential to double in value with the correct value-enhanced design. It is always better and cheaper to extend and refurbish the whole house in one go. You end up with a refined and polished living environment instead of what commonly happens, an evolved, disconnected and dysfunctional home with varying finishes and fittings throughout. If you can’t afford a one building project then it is essential to have a plan of the property evolution, so the vision is never lost and one extension won’t adversely affect the next.

Let’s tick some boxes that not only you as a family will enjoy but the next owner will appreciate too.

Ground floor:
Extend the kitchen to create a kitchen/diner. Maybe even get a sofa in there too. Get extra light in by adding roof lights and full width sliding doors opening to a flush patio or decked area. The front reception will be best kept as a grown up and television room. The kitchen/diner is more the whole family area. One of the most common mistakes is to join the front and rear reception rooms to form one long thin area. The next most common mistake is to link the rear reception directly to the extended kitchen. If this is done, what was the rear reception now becomes a thoroughfare that is useless and simply low value space.

The tick box solution to the rear reception is to convert it from a potential walkway to three very useful rooms. First gain a ground floor WC, accessed from the hall only. Second, we add a super boot room that can accommodate all the junk that accumulates a narrow Victorian hall. This should be large enough for pushchairs, push bikes and even golf clubs- as well as all the coats and boots that a family and friends will bring on a wet winter’s day.

The third tick box solution for the converted rear reception is a real boon to the kitchen, it’s a walk-in larder. Everyone loves them right? You can store a sack of potatoes or onions together with all the tins and ingredients into an easy access storage space. This is the answer to the all the family cook’s prayers! The walk in larder really frees up wall space in the kitchen to provide more worktop space that is at a premium.

The next money-maker is another bedroom. Almost certainly you’ll be able to convert the loft to a great new space for the kids, a nanny or a guest. Ideally the loft conversion will provide an en-suite shower room as this creates much better value. The rear of the roof space should be flat by building a full-width mansard that has windows to create a bright and airy room.

The ultimate space-maker and super money-maker is a basement extension. This elevates the house to a totally new financial bracket by creating quite literally another floor of equal or greater size than the new ground floor area. The essential rooms that this level provides are; a bedroom with an en-suite, games room, utility room/kitchenette. The new basement area ties the whole house together and enables the rest of our extended house to function in a flexible and family-friendly way. Let me explain; the basement bedroom provides for a live-in nanny, the utility room/kitchenette lets her work at this level to and to cater for herself and the younger kids without interfering with the family’s privacy. The utility room also frees up space in our kitchen and the often large games room can be used as the perfect escape for the teenagers.

Often the basement can also adds some luxury areas such as a wine cellar, sauna, steam room, home office, cinema room etc.

We have now taken a simple three bed, two reception room kitchen and bathroom home to the new heights now providing four bedrooms, two en-suites, adult reception, games room, kitchen with walk-in larder/diner with lounge space, utility/kitchenette, ground floor WC, boot room and storage.

Remember, when extending your home have an end game that maximises its value and homeliness so that you, and its future owners can enjoy it as your families’ requirements change.

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