Home Improvements That Add Value to House Prices: Comparing UK vs U.S. vs Australia

Most homes have some scope for improvement but which are the right ones to make? Will adding a loft conversion really improve its value? Does a swimming pool make a property more attractive to buyers – or less? Is it worth creating another bathroom if you’re losing a bedroom in the process? Before you go spending your renovation budget, it may be important to understand which improvements are actually going to give you a return on your investment and which are not.

In research undertaken by Tile Mountain, we’ve created a handy reference guide to the most common home improvements homeowners make based upon the median house price across three key housing markets and which are most likely to add real value to your home. What makes a property more valuable in Sydney compared to one in South Hampton or St. Louis, Missouri? We break it all down below.

Home Improvements that Add Value to Your Home - US / UK / Australia

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Read on for further discussion of each section…

Home Improvements in the UK

Home Improvements that add value - UK

With parking limited in built up cities or towns, adding a driveway may be one of the most cost-effective improvements you can make. While the cost of converting your front garden into a driveway may be as much as £1000 on average, it could add £5000 to the cost of your property.

Growing families, the fact that young adults are leaving home later and the high cost of elderly care may all be factors in considering a loft extension. What you may not realise is that along with the extra space, it’s also a great way to increase the value of your property. When it comes time to sell, you could see a potential return on investment from 100% to 150%.

Speaking of the need for space, it’s interesting to note that most UK homes with garages don’t actually contain a car at all but it’s much more likely to be being used simply as storage. It’s little wonder why some are converting these spaces into living areas when space is at a premium.

Another one of the most popular improvements is a kitchen extension but take note: it does have a ceiling price. Creating a modest extension with a modern kitchen may add more value than one where you completely blow the budget. A £10,000 kitchen extension in an average property can add as much as £20,000 to the value of your home. For a more cost effective option, consider replacing existing wall tiles and flooring by seeking good deals from online retailers such as Tile Mountain and consider units from places like IKEA or Homebase which provide kitchens at a lower price point.

An en-suite bathroom in a master bedroom may seem a luxury but it can actually add significant value to your home.

Home Improvements in the USA

Home Improvements that add value - US

In the US, it’s normally the kitchen which will sell a house and this makes kitchen remodels one of the most popular areas for improvement. Whether it’s a full scale remodel or a simple update to the kitchen tiles, the countertops, replacing or updating tired or old-fashioned cabinets or finish or upgrading hardware and appliances, any improvement will help when it comes time to sell.

Bathroom remodels are a top choice for a remodel in most U.S. homes. In a survey from Sherwin-Williams and the National Association of The Remodelling Industry (NARI), a bathroom remodel costing $13,000 can add $11,000 to a home’s asking price – an ROI of 85%. Considering adding a new bathroom to your layout? While the average cost may seem high at around $42,000, the potential return on your investment is a healthy 80-130%.

Composite decking is also a popular addition to US homes with inbuilt seating areas and planters creating a contemporary outdoor room – something that scores high with buyers and can create additional value. Want to add even more value? Consider a family room extension with the same flooring that leads to your outside areas. You’ll see a return on your investment of around 68% – just don’t skimp on the quality. Buyers are looking for quality in workmanship in these areas.

Apparently, there is something called ‘The Starbucks Effect’. With consumers around the globe spending over $10 billion a year at the beverage giant, living close t one can actually increase the value of your property.

Depending upon where you live, with unpredictable weather and storms, a back up power generator is a common addition to homes and can be a good investment as well.

Home Improvements in Australia

Home Improvements that add value - Australia

With one of the biggest factors of Australian living being the beautiful weather, it’s little wonder that many of the home improvements Australians are making on their properties is to the outside space. Spending on exterior landscaping is a no-brainer with the average cost being between AU$1500-AU$5000 and adding nearly 10 times that amount in terms of value. With privacy being a big factor, hedges, fencing and window awnings score high for buyers.

First impressions count. A home with ‘wow factor’ will naturally draw buyers. Improving the look of your outdoor space is a great idea if you’re looking to sell but be careful of over-planting as some buyers may see extensive planting as more work than pleasure. Consider a landscape design that is easy to maintain and appears neat and tidy from the roadside.

Upgrade a crumbling patio and consider including an outdoor kitchen, a BBQ area and high ceiling fans for outdoor living at its best.

With parking spaces nearer to the cities proving problematic, those living in the newer suburbs see a double garage as a must-have, adding between AU$20,000 and AU$30,000 to the price of a property.

Also popular are bathrooms. With home seekers expecting two full baths in a 3 bedroom property, it may be worthwhile adding a second bathroom or increasing the size of a half-bath. However, it’s interesting to note that while a second bathroom will increase a property’s value, a third may not be as wise an investment.

Another fun fact? Harnessing the power of the sun is not only ecological but also a good investment with 85% of Australians believing that solar panels boost property prices.

Common Improvements that Drive Up Value of Homes in the UK, USA and Australia

Home Improvements that add value across all three markets

Our research showed that there are certain improvements that increase your property’s value no matter where you live.

A well-maintained property is always high on a potential buyer’s list. No one wants to see flaking finishes, shoddy workmanship or unfinished jobs. Make sure you address any structural problems as well before you consider the cosmetic improvements. A broken or leaking roof, damp, wall cracks, timber rot, insect infestation, an unstable chimney stack or a collapsed floor or slab are going to put off potential buyers and will lower the value of your home.

Ensuring your the exterior of your home and garden is in tip-top condition makes a great first impression. Give your front door a fresh lick of paint and make sure the fixtures are well maintained and in good working order. Some simple planting will also create some wow factor no matter where you live.

With the kitchen often seen as the heart of the home, kitchen remodels are popular across all three markets as well. If a full remodel isn’t possible, some simple improvements such as updating cupboards with a updated paint colour, some new floor tiles or a new splashback and ensuring a practical layout can all increase the price of your property for little outlay.

Bathroom remodels were similarly common across all the markets. If your bathroom is in dire need of an update, the investment of a new modern bathroom and new bathroom tiles will be a worthwhile investment when it comes time to sell.

The best advice we’ve found in our research? No matter where or what you’re improving, make sure to keep renovation costs to 15% of your home’s value for the best return on your investment.

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A Social Media and Content Marketing Editor, Kimberly Duran is an Interior Design-obsessed American ex-pat, who chronicles her decorating journey in her personal blog, Swoon Worthy. When she’s not helplessly drooling over blogs, design sites and adding things to the imaginary ‘shopping basket’ in her head, she likes to get messy tackling DIY projects with her partner in crime, Wayne, stalking eBay for bargains, taking Instagram pictures of her cats, and continuing her love affair with gold spray paint.