How to add value to your home

Can't move, why not improve? Here are the top ways you can boost the value of your house.

If you've outgrown your home but can't afford to move, why not add space instead?

Get it right and it should boost your property's value.

Let's start at the top with loft conversions. According to HSBC, transforming your attic is the best way to improve property value – on average it can add around £20,000 to your asking price.

Converting loft space is a popular way to extend because it's generally cheaper than other extensions as most of the structure apart from adding a window or skylight, is already there – the walls, a roof and so on – and you don't have to worry about lots of complicated work.

But there are some important practical points to consider for your development to be a success. Think about the layout. Work out if there'll be space for a bed and a wardrobe. Then think about headroom. Anything less than 7ft will feel cramped.

What about access? If your conversion involves sacrificing an existing bedroom to make way for the adjoining stairs, you should reconsider your plans. Maybe your money could be put to better use elsewhere?

What about the kitchen? For lots of people, the kitchen is the heart of the home. And making improvements can add around £6,000 to your property's value.

A good way to give your kitchen a new lease of life is to extend out onto your garden. French doors and a skylight can really add to the sense of space. Storage is also crucial for a well-planned kitchen. And there are all sorts of clever ways to keep everything neat and tidy and make the room feel even bigger such as pull-out units, free-standing shelving – you can even fit little racks in your cupboards or drawers to keep all your pan lids organised. Domestic bliss indeed!

And don't forget the importance of outside space. If you don't have much use of your front garden, why not convert it into off-road parking? Apart from adding a bedroom, this is one of the best ways to add value to your home. It could cost you as little as £650 but add £10,000 to your property's value.

The secret to a successfully extension is budgeting. It's easy to get caught up in a build and spend far more money than you intended to. So before any work gets underway, make sure you really get your head around costs. And remember, the work should be an investment, so don't let the costs outweigh the potential increase in your property's value.

But before you start any work, check with your local authority whether you will need planning permission. The rules vary depending on property type and location but they have been relaxed over the past few years so the process shouldn't be too long-winded.