Making the most of your makeover budget


It’s estimated that, as a result of lockdown, we are now sitting on a giant pile of money – £180bn, to be precise. That’s 10% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP)! So, what are we going to do with it all? Having spent so much time in our homes, we now know their every lump, bump and defect and we have been going home improvement crazy. But if you’re planning on making some improvements, what is going to give you the best return for your money?

PropertyHeads has produced a home improvement calculator that will tell you exactly that. If you want maximum bang for your buck – it’s cavity wall insulation that you need to go for. It will produce a 715% return. That’s 7.15 x your original investment (typically, about £701). With our increasing awareness of our carbon footprint, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that we value our home’s energy efficiency so highly. And, although some commentators are predicting the end for open plan living, the figures don’t agree. Knocking out walls to create more open plan living produces the second highest return on your investment, at 286.46%.

Strangely, fitting solar panels to your home produces the smallest return (0%). You would get your money back in terms of increased value. There’s no doubt, they will save you money on your energy bills, as well as making your home more attractive to buyers when compared to other, similar homes that don’t have them. The next smallest return is installing central heating (35.7%). That’s probably because we all now expect our houses to have central heating and for it to work. If not, it would, instead, reduce the value of a property.

Many of the biggest returns come from smaller works that cannot necessarily be expanded – ie. there’s a limit on the number of walls that will benefit from cavity insulation. So, if you want to maximise the value uplift rather than getting value for money, you may need to look at some larger scale projects, such as building an extension. It may only give you a mid-table return on your investment (133.61%) but it will give you the biggest value increase of all at £105,185.

One of the easiest wins is to create some offstreet parking. It is relatively inexpensive at £4,507 and won’t entail turning your house upside down while it’s being done. Afterwards, it will then guarantee you a parking spot whenever you want one and should increase your home’s value by £19,546! If, on the other hand, you’re sick of staring at grubby old walls during lockdown, fret no more – because painting them will give you a 111.23% return on your investment.

If you live in any of our areas listed below, you are already likely to be a canny buyer, but please remember, these are average figures. They can only ever be used as a very rough guide and figures will vary considerably between one house and another.