Lifestyle

Property: How to add value to your home without causing problems with the neighbours

Homeowners will be looking for the best price when it comes to selling their home. In order to add value to a property, sellers can make several renovations, with home extensions one of the most popular changes house owners in the UK opt for. Sellhousefast.uk recently revealed that homeowners could increase the value of their home by £126,000 in value if specific renovations are made, which would increase the average UK house price from £226,798 to £352,798. Sellhousefast.uk said: “Due to current economic uncertainty, it comes as no surprise that many homeowners are opting to add value to their current home instead of moving.”

However, with renovations comes issues, as homes essentially become a building site, which can cause serious issues with the neighbours, such as putting a hold on their own renovation plans.

The Institution of Structural Egineers has shared their tips on how to go about renovating your property without disturbing the neighbours.

Although pricey – householdquotes.co.uk estimated a two-storey extension in London at approximately £77,000 – most homeowners choose to make this change, as it increases the square footage of the property, which therefore ups the price.

However, if neighbours are deciding to do the same thing to their property, it can cause issues for both sides.

Rick Mallet, Associate at Thomasons explained: “Walls are often removed to create large open spaces, but this can increase the stress on perimeter walls under wind loading and increase pressures on existing footings, which can settle and cause alarming cracks to develop within remaining walls.

“If the rear wall of a semi-detached property is taken out, it cannot be simply propped. If the neighbours do the same thing, the rear of both properties can become unstable unless one or both properties introduce a stiff steel ‘box’ or ‘portal’ framework.”

Rick warned that homeowners should first check whether their neighbour is planning an extension on their home, or looking to remove their chimney breast – which is another way to add value to a property by increasing the floor space.

He continued: “Removing chimney breasts is often a good way to increase floor space, but planning restrictions often mean that they must be retained above the roof line.

“When removed within, rooms below those on party wall line will become eccentrically loaded and you cannot simply rely on the chimney next door having sufficient strength to resist the overturning effects in case the neighbour does the same thing at a future date.

“Removing chimneys from adjacent properties leaves a section teetering at a high level, which needs to be securely supported on both sides.”

In order to avoid causing problems with the neighbours, Rick advises homeowners to seek the help of a professional structural engineer – who will make sure renovations are made without affecting direct neighbours.

Lastly, homeowners must ensure any renovations don’t “trespass” on their neighbour’s property. He added: “Extending accommodation hard against a site boundary or below an existing property has to bear in mind that new foundations should not ‘trespass’ onto the neighbours property.

“In other words, you can’t simply dig up part of your neighbours land, restricting them from doing their own similar extension at a later date.

“Similarly if new basement walls need to be piled, the design needs to account for building tolerances and allow sufficient space for the piles being placed incorrectly on plan or being bored at an angle towards the neighbour.”

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