Once upon a time, increasing house value was all about renovating, extending, and perfecting curb appeal at last. Owners would even desperately redecorate before putting their houses on the market in the hopes that would tip the value scales. But, with modern homeowners now checking energy performance certificates (EPCs) before even booking in to view a property, there’s a new value-adding contender on the block, and it’s fast emerging as the most important of all.
Let’s face it; we’re all a lot more aware of the environment and our impact on it these days. With the damage caused by toxic fumes now plain for everyone to see, most homeowners would avoid paying top whack for a property that didn’t at least try to keep environmental impact to a minimum.
In fact, a recent government report revealed that focusing on energy efficiency before selling can increase home value by as much as 38% in some areas. In the North East particularly, EPC ratings that increase from E to G can add a value of up to 20%, with 13% possible for an EPC that moves from D to B. In London, too, price additions of up to 11% are possible on top of an already steep housing market.
These are high percentages indeed when you consider that expensive additions such as a brand new bedroom can add as little as 23% value onto a market price. When you think about the differing levels of work that go towards each project, focusing on energy saving can quickly seem like a no-brainer.
The trouble is that, when it comes to flipping houses, the energy side of things might be entirely new to you. You know what it takes to create a new room, but how the hell do you improve that all-important EPC rating for the big valuation?
If you’re at a loss, fear not. We’ve got a few simple pointers that could send your EPC soaring and your property prices right along with it.
Don’t Forget Double Glazing
Double glazing is a homeowner staple these days. In fact, an impressive 76% of people have already taken this step towards energy efficiency. If you’re dealing with single panes right now, though, it’s past time you took the plunge.
The simple fact is that double glazing alone can increase house value by as much as 10% in the modern market. That’s nearly double the value increase you can expect to see from extensive kitchen renovations and more!
Sadly, this drastic increase does come at a cost, with average UK prices to double glaze a three-bed property currently at around £10,000. That’s a lot of money to spend in one go and is certainly more than you would fork out for a standard reno project. But, when you consider increasing value, that’s money you pretty get straight back after a sale.
Whether you’re living in a property or just staying there while you do it up, the warmth double glazing brings also begins to reduce the need for heating immediately. In fact, double glazing throughout the house can save you around £110-115 per year, all while making at least several points of difference to EPC.
Energy-saving aside, double glazing can also drastically reduce outside noise, allowing vendors to charge top whack for even roadside property offerings. In other words, it’s past time you got around to this energy hack if you haven’t already!
Insulate Where Possible
Insulation is also a key factor for house value, especially when you consider that solid wall insulation is one of the most significant individual contributors to an improved EPC rating. Even better, insulation improvements come in all shapes and sizes, and each one can help to improve property price overall.
Most often, homeowners focus on loft insulation. This method is probably the most straightforward insulation to install. Given that heat rises, simply lining your attic space with insulated fabric or topping up what’s already there can go a long way towards energy improvements.
The solid wall insulation that’s so efficient for improved EPC is a little more complicated, but many modern homeowners argue that it’s still worthwhile. In the case of new homes, cavities in the wall often make it possible to install insulation inside, and thus drastically improve energy ratings. With older properties that have solid walls, insulation either inside or outside of the wall can largely achieve the same effect. Either of these methods can go a considerable way towards reducing lost heat.
Admittedly, projects like these aren’t for the faint of heart. Depending on the types of walls you’re dealing with, solid insulation installation like this can set you back anywhere between £8,000 to £22,000, and that’s for external insulation alone! That said, savings on offer are also drastic, with applications like these reducing bills by as much as £455. What’s more, solid wall insulation could be solely responsible for the 38% house rise you stand to see from your efforts. As such, there’s definitely an argument for tackling this task regardless.
Ditch the Draughts
Modern homeowners hate draughts enough that sensing a breeze during a viewing could prevent a sale. Bad draughts will even take their toll on house value. The good news is that you can get rid of the worst draughts by tackling double glazing and insulation. The bad news is that you could still experience issues until you fully focus attention here.
Gaps around doors, windows, pipework, and more can all contribute to unpleasant breezes and lost heat in a house. While the impact of improvements here might not be quite as drastic as, say, replacing all your windows, it’s still an issue you need to address.
The worst-case scenario here is that you’ll need to replace external doors so that you can tackle large draughts at their root. Luckily, this should be one of the cheaper tasks you face, with even composite, draught-proof doors rarely exceeding £3,000.
Doors aside, heading around the house and filling gaps, cracks, and potential draught culprits is vital. Even if you’re benefiting from double-glazed windows, poor or deteriorating seals can wreak havoc here, so make sure to check. Be sure, too, to fill any gaps around pipework and more. These are small improvements and, admittedly, their impact on house value alone will be incremental. Yet, paired with all your other energy-saving efforts, they can still help your EPC overall.
Replace Your Boiler
From a small job to a reasonably large one, boiler replacements can also be more than worthwhile in older properties. As well as not always adhering to modern standards, old boilers can lose astounding amounts of heat, and generally, do a great deal more damage to the environment.
By comparison, modern combi boilers are about as energy efficient as heating can get. Without getting too technical, this is because of the way they burn and use fuel. Unlike older boiler models that lose heat through escaped gases and more, combination models have larger heat exchangers, meaning that they can recover more heat and send cooler gases up the flue. That’s good news all around. So good that a simple combi replacement can save as much as £400 on yearly bills in a detached house.
Given that boiler performance certificates also form a large part of any EPC rating, an A-rated boiler can bolster your existing score like you wouldn’t believe. Even better, costs here are less than with the more drastic energy improvements mentioned above. A brand new combi boiler and installation shouldn’t set you back much more than £3,000 in most cases.
As such, this is a positive and relatively affordable step towards improved energy-saving and a higher asking price on the market.
Create Your Own Energy
It doesn’t seem like long ago that home buyers would actively turn away from houses with solar panels. Back then, these were a rarity and, thus, something of an eyesore. Now, though, solar panels and other self-creating energy-saving alternatives can work wonders for home value.
The fact is that most homebuyers are now more than willing to look past the physical appearance of solar panels and focus on the cheap and efficient energy that they provide. In fact, with energy suppliers emerging who actually buy excess solar energy from homeowners, this can even be a nice little earner.
It is still worth noting that things such as appearance can still take their toll, so you’ll want to consider installing solar panels in subtle places to enjoy those energy-saving, price-boosting benefits. Once you’ve considered location, though, solar panels really do have the power to improve your profits.
Even better, this needn’t be the expensive home addition that it was even ten years ago. Studies show that the cost of solar panels has dropped by as much as 10% per year since 1980. And, these decreases don’t look set to slow anytime soon as the technology continues to improve.
As it stands, the average costs here rest at around £6,672. That’s a pretty small price to pay when you consider that this relatively affordable addition can improve your EPC by as many as two grades. That’s enough to enjoy the full benefit of energy-based value increases.
Consider Efficient Lighting
The energy performance of light bulbs might not be something you often consider in the house selling process, but even this can make a fair amount of difference to selling value due to potential savings and efficiency improvements.
As such, it’s always worth considering energy-efficient bulbs in the majority of light fixtures throughout a property. Even if you don’t use these as a selling point as such, the simple fact that they’re in place can help your EPC rating, as well as providing potential savings of as much as £240 a month.
You should also find that the visible presence of LED bulbs throughout a property appeals to most modern homeowners. And, it needn’t cost you anywhere near as much as the other energy-saving tips mentioned, with standard LED bulbs costing as little as £1.70 each.
Switch Your Energy Supplier
With all these more focused energy-saving efforts, it’s all-too-easy to forget that simple steps such as changing energy suppliers can also make a difference. Admittedly, the value benefits on offer here aren’t as apparent, but they are still there if you look for them.
Primarily, seeking energy providers who focus on things like smart meters rather than traditional methods can make a huge difference. As well as saving homeowners money every month, efforts like these in themselves can help towards both improving your energy efficiency, and helping to highlight areas where you should pay more attention.
This, in turn, can guarantee that your EPC is always precisely where it should be. What’s more, you may find that the inclusion of smart meters like these alone is enough to impress the most eco-conscious home buyers out there. While other steps do improve value more, then, this is still an option worth sparing time for, especially given that it doesn’t cost you a penny.
Note that most energy providers do now offer smart options, but a little research can point towards the top contenders who can really take your EPC up a gear.
A Final Word
Energy-saving should be a pressing priority for everyone in the modern age, and the selling process is no exception to that rule. Whether you implement all or a few of the tips mentioned here, you can take huge steps towards improving your profits and helping the environment at the same time.
If you’re working with a limited budget when attempting to tackle improvements like these, simply do the math ahead of time. If you can afford it, you’ll typically find that the more expensive jobs do tend to offer the most substantial value increases by far. That said, even small steps like LED lighting installation can help you to boost value in small ways.
Whatever you do, don’t neglect energy when you’re getting ready to sell. The planet and your bank balance both deserve better!