With property prices on the rise, many of us are looking for ways to add value to our existing property. A garden room could be the answer as one of the fastest ways to increase value without the need for lengthy planning applications.
It’s no secret that the housing market is heating up. Leading estate agent Savills predicts we will see a 9% increase in 2021, followed by a further 3.5% increase in 2022. Competition for properties is also fierce with lots of buyers and sellers in the market, and current property owners looking to take advantage of the recent boom in house prices.
When it comes to selling your property, achieving the maximum possible value could allow for an increased step up the ladder or leave more funds available for the renovation of a new house. In the past, some of the easiest methods to increase value have included adding a driveway, extension or loft conversion. All of these can be expensive and time-consuming, with planning applications taking many months before the first brick can be laid on an extension.
In a competitive housing market, we need to think out of the box to increase property value by making our listing stand out. Investing in a garden room now could provide the added value future buyers are looking for when it comes to selling. Even if you’re not planning on selling up anytime soon, a garden room can increase enjoyment in your current home and could also provide added time before it’s outgrown.
Let’s take a look at why we think garden rooms are a great investment both financially and for your own enjoyment.
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Does a garden room actually add value?
Put simply, yes a garden room will add value to your property. This can be in terms of both the financial value and the ease of saleability. Most experts agree that a garden room will see a return on investment of between 1.4-1.6x its value. A high return like this seems like a no brainer, especially when considering just having a garden room installed can already attract new buyers.
Calculating exactly how much value a garden room will add can be difficult as there are lots of different variables to the building itself and the housing market at the time. A ballpark figure of 5%-15% is widely used online for a high-quality garden building.
If we take the median amount of 10% added value to a property, a garden room could add £27,500 to the average UK house price. Let’s take a look at that in further detail using the UK house price index in March 2021.
|Region||Average House price||8% increase||10% increase|
|North West||£187, 924||£202,958||£206,716|
As we can see, a five-figure increase in value is easily achievable with a garden room. Areas with strict planning controls could see the biggest benefit from a garden building increasing floor space. Installing a garden room even when you are not planning on selling allows plenty of time for you to enjoy the building yourself, as well as the knowledge of a future increase in property value.
How does a garden room add value?
There are various reasons why a garden building can increase the value of the property, particularly for certain buyers. With the building already in place when the property is purchased, it saves new buyers the time and effort required to complete the work themselves.
The complete project from start to finish usually takes several months and involves a variety of trades including a landscaper to lay the base and an electrician to get the power connected.
Appeal to homeworkers and hobbyists
The last year has seen more of us working from home than ever before. This trend is expected to continue with a permanent change to our work-styles and the flexibility of a hybrid work set-up that most employees are asking for. The result is buyers purchasing properties with this in mind and a home office or extra room now being a top priority on new buyers wish lists.
While a home office is great, we believe a garden room office is even better. Unlike using a spare bedroom, a garden room is completely separated from the house and creates the perfect location for some peace and quiet away from the kids. A garden office also creates a separation between work and home life, with the ability to leave the garden office at the end of the day and step away from your work.
To maximise the value of a garden room, consider turning it into a garden working environment. Being set up as a garden office allows future owners to see the attractiveness of working from inside. An office is just one example and a garden room could be set up to appear to any professional interest or job. Another great example is a garden gym. Many of us started working out from home over the last year and returning to the queues of a public gym is no longer an option for some. A dedicated garden gym on the property could really increase the value for buyers in to their fitness.
Guide: Garden office ideas
Provides the wow factor
One of the challenges homeowners face when coming to sell their existing property is making it stand out, particularly if you don’t wish to lower the price. Let’s face it, the interior designs of most homes in listings follow the same clean and modern look with nothing to really differentiate them.
A garden room could increase the viewings to your listings and result in a faster sale. If buyers are considering your home against a similar property, the addition of a garden room could be the standout feature that makes their decision.
A great looking garden room finished to a high standard is going to work best. For fans of a modern design, the treated wood with anthracite doors and windows design is appealing and contemporary. Some garden room owners turn their building into a garden pub. This could really make your listing attractive and appeal to those who wish to entertain friends and family without the need to leave their homes.
An increase in floor space
The number one way to increase a properties value is to increase the floor space. Additional floor space means more property to sell as buyers see the additional value. Usually, increasing floor space is not a quick job as it will mean a property extension or loft conversion. Both of these take considerable time due to the need for planning permission. The cost can also be incredibly expensive, with the return on investment not being great depending on other properties nearby.
A garden room is one of the easiest ways to increase the floor space of a property. Most garden rooms do not require planning permission, reducing restrictions and the time it takes to complete the project. Most extensions take over 12 months to complete from start to finish. A garden room can go from design to installation within a matter of weeks, with most projects being completed within a few months.
A high-quality garden building can be seen as an additional room for the property. The same features of any in-house room are there including insulated walls and electricity. For smaller properties with large gardens, the increase in floor space can be significant and make the house stand out from surrounding homes.
If you do plan to use the garden room as an annexe with overnight sleeping accommodation, planning permission will be required which can add time to the project. For most uses such as a garden office, it will not be needed if staying within Permitted Development rights.
How to maximise value
Not all garden rooms are created equal, and getting the most value can mean following a few bits of advice. To reduce costs for yourself and increase the value for a future buyer, take a look at our top tips below.
Pre-built save costs
When it comes to designing a garden room, pretty much anything goes. Most garden building manufactures will supply both ready-made and custom-designed buildings. For those with unusual shaped gardens or additional requirements, a custom building can be tailored to their exact needs and specifications.
The thing with custom designs is that they often cost more and all of the extra design work comes at a premium. Where possible we recommend sticking with a ready-made design to maximise your return on investment. Manufacturers existing designs are used regularly by customers and usually result in reduced prices as they are made at scale. The time the project takes to complete is also reduced as they may also have the parts for buildings in stock or with reduced lead times.
Stay within planning regulations
Staying on the right side of planning laws is essential if the garden room is going to add value to your property when the time to sell comes. The good news is that most garden buildings do not require planning permission as they come under Permitted Development rights. But to keep within the scope they must meet a certain specification related to their size, use and location.
Garden rooms, summerhouses and log cabins are considered as ‘outbuildings’ for planning purposes and therefore fall under Permitted Development rights. These are designed to give homeowners the ability to make changes to their property which can increase the value, without the need for lengthy planning applications. Garden building manufactures are fully aware of Permitted Development, just be sure to let them know you wish your building to fall within this scope.
Some of the requirements for Permitted Development include for the outbuilding to be a single story with a maximum height of 4m with a dual pitched roof or 3m with any other roof. When the building is within two metres of a property boundary, the maximum height is reduced to 2.5m. The total space of any outbuildings can also not exceed 50% of the land around the original house. Additional restrictions apply in some areas of the country including conservation areas and areas of outstanding national beauty.
Permitted Development rights are fairly straightforward and won’t cause any issues for most garden rooms. Generally, when the building is particularly large or there are plans for sleeping accommodation, a planning application is required. Further information can be found on the Planning Portal and we recommend checking with your local planning authority before commencing a garden room project.
High-quality & more than a posh shed
To maximise the value of a garden room, the estate agent and any potential buyers need to be convinced that it is more than a posh shed. A shed won’t do much to increase property value but an extra usable room at the property will. Using house quality fittings and fixtures is an easy way to do this, whilst increasing the wow factor of the building.
Using uPVC windows and doors instead of wooden ones is recommended. As well as providing better thermal values, they also require less maintenance as they don’t need varnishing every few years. Installing electricity is also essential for the garden building to be considered as an extra room, as this provides heating and lighting for use throughout the year. For colder months of the year, the building should also be insulated and double glazed. Many garden rooms we see now also have an internet connection. This can easily be achieved by running an ethernet cable from the router inside the house and is essential for a garden office.
How much does a garden room cost?
There is no single answer for how much your garden room is going to cost. Many factors need to be taken into account including size, design and levels of finish. Custom garden rooms often cost more when compared to off the shelf designs. It’s common for a garden room to cost between £15,000-£20,000 for the building.
As well as the garden room itself, additional costs need to be taken into account. Before the building can be installed, a base must be laid. Concrete bases are recommended to provide a solid and stable foundation. An electrician will also be required to install lighting, heating and plug sockets.
How long does a garden room last?
Garden rooms have a longer lifespan compared to most other garden buildings. Outbuildings such as summerhouses and sheds typically last around 10 years. During this time, maintenance is required every few years to the walls and every 5 years to the roof.
The average lifespan of a garden room is around 30 years, with little maintenance required. We recommend looking out for at least a 10-year guarantee when purchasing a garden room for peace of mind to the longevity of the building. Depending on the exterior cladding used, the occasional maintenance may be required every 5 years to keep the exterior wood protected. The uPVC windows & doors on modern garden rooms have a longer lifespan compared to timber framed ones on other garden buildings.
Can I use a garden room during the winter?
Yes, a high-quality garden room can be used throughout all months of the year. Garden rooms use PIR insulation boards in the walls which feature very high insulation values. Double-glazed windows and doors also reduce heat loss to create a comfortable atmosphere, even if it is cold outside. We recommend a 2kw oil-filled radiator to keep a garden room warm and provide background heat.
Our view is that a garden room adds significant value to a property and can provide a healthy return on investment. The exact value will depend on many factors including the quality of the building and the local housing market. An 8%-10% increase is a good assumption from a high-quality garden room.
A garden building adds value in more ways than one, including the wow factor to attract viewers and get your home sold as quick as possible. Appealing to homeworkers and hobbyists is a great idea to demonstrate the value the extra room can provide.
To get the maximum value, be sure to invest in a quality garden room that can provide longevity and the ability to use throughout both the winter and summer. Even if you’re not planning to sell any time soon, a garden room can make a great investment to increase floor space at your current property.