Harpenden agent explains the hidden value in out-buildings

Don't judge - the outhouse is an added bonus

Don't judge - the outhouse is an added bonus - Credit: Archant

In rural areas such as Harpenden, Radlett and Wheathampstead, properties quite often come with additional extras - such as an outhouse of some description. These are not to be dismissed as a thorn in the side of a new home...

At first glance, outbuildings may not appear to occupy the most glamorous end of the property spectrum, but appearances can be deceptive and their appeal should not be underestimated. After all, Roald Dahl famously chose to write many of his masterpieces in a hut at the bottom of his garden and potting sheds have long been seen as a must-have for those in search of a retreat from the world.

It is difficult to quantify the value that outbuildings add to a property, but even at their most basic they can provide valuable storage space which is often a sought-after commodity. Increasingly we see structures that may be unprepossessing on the outside transformed inside to house impressive gyms or other games and leisure facilities and, subject to any necessary planning permission, they can be converted for all manner of uses. Outbuildings that have particular business use consents are, of course, ideal for those who want to run an enterprise from home.

Additional living accommodation is always popular either for family and friends or in some cases as a source of income. In these financially constrained times, some families may be considering consolidating two households into one and this may be best achieved in a property with a detached annexe, thereby offering a degree of independence.

Finally, while the topic of equestrian property could be an article in its own right, it is worth mentioning that, when moving house, enthusiasts will often ask more questions about the stables and quality of equine accommodation than their own.

Dos and Don’ts

Don’t dismiss outbuildings as a poor relation

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Do keep them in good repair and make sure they are as tidy and presentable as possible for viewings

Do make sure you flag up key benefits such as power or water

If your outbuilding has been converted for a specific use, say as an office, do try to present it as such even if you only use it to store the lawnmower

Do consider development potential

Don’t forget to seek advice on whether planning permission is required for your scheme

Nick Ingle is Head of Savills Harpenden