Top Six Ways to Maximise Build Value

18 September 2020 Potton News
Barn-style self build
Most people who’ve done even a teeny bit of research into self building will have realised that the finished homes are generally worth more than they cost to build. In some cases, a lot more. While a lot of self builders will do so once, for their lifetime home, there are plenty who will, at some point or another, sell off their creation.

With this in mind, it is only natural that they want to make a sizeable profit, in return for all their hard work. Whether it’s for immediate gain or a long-term investment, it’s worth bearing in mind the finished value of your project before you even start the process.

1. Location

This is absolutely key to a house’s value. If you want to live in your new build for a while first, then choose wherever you want to live. If you want to sell it immediately, however, then you need to consider its location carefully. Building a huge house to an extremely high specification is all well and good, but if that house’s location is in an industrial area, or an area with higher crime rates, or just an area where property prices are generally low, then you will have lost a lot of that house’s value – this is ‘overdevelopment’.
By contrast, the ‘Waitrose Effect’ essentially means that premium brands are found in premium locations, so nearby houses are more desirable. This does impact the price of plots considerably, though.

2. Overall Design

A key consideration is the simplicity of the shape you’re building. A general rule is that the more complicated the house’s shape, the more it costs to build. An unusual house shape rarely adds much to a house’s value anyway. In fact, the cost of an unusual shape can often outstrip the value it adds. The best advice here is to choose simple shapes (with corners rather than curves) and use the money saved to enhance other elements which will boost the house’s value more considerably.

3. Internal Specification

This just refers to the quality of the interiors. If you’re self building for profit only, and don’t intend to live in the house at all, you might opt for porcelain instead of stone, for example. It still looks nice but is significantly cheaper. Kitchens and bathrooms are where most self builders sink a lot of their interior budgets, but consider whether it’s worth spending upwards of £50k on a bespoke kitchen or bathroom that you will never actually use. If you do intend to live in the home for a period, however, then make sure it is comfortable for you first and foremost.

4. Architectural Features

Going for a simple superstructure design does not mean the inside has to be plain. Create points of interest with chimneys, rooflights, or even carefully placed cladding. Focusing these on the most visible points of the property – the chimney in the middle of an open-plan living area, rooflights over a kitchen island, vertical cladding on a protruding porch – will add value without breaking the bank.
‘Kerb appeal’ is important to consider here. The front of the house is, obviously, the first thing people see. Spending a little more on the front elevation – a high-quality front door, bespoke glazing, interesting cladding or render – will pay dividends later when you come to sell. The front shot of a house is the main one listed on a property website, so if you’re planning on selling your build, you need its front elevation to make a statement.

5. Potential for Development

The good news is that you don’t have to do all the legwork yourself. Including features that could mark a potential for future development will instantly boost your property’s value. One of the best ways to do this is making the loft area viable for conversion. A head height of 2.2 metres is the minimum required, and you could add dormer windows to make the space even more attractive for later conversion. This is also applicable to garages.

6. Maximising Internal Floor Space

When it comes to valuing houses, size matters. Specifically, the internal size – how big the rooms are. Opting for a slim, high-performance wall, as opposed to a thick structure like brick and block with comparatively poor performance, will increase the amount of internal floor space and therefore maximise value. But how much value could a few millimetres really add? Well, quite a lot. Assuming an 8m x 10m, two-storey house, with a slim wall system you’re looking at a cool 9 square metres of extra space. Not bad considering the house footprint hasn’t changed at all – this makes it a great option for people building with a restricted footprint size.

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