Does a garden office add value to your property?


With a big rise in remote working over recent years, more people than ever have been finding the best way to tackle their job is from home. It’s not just the self-employed who might want an alternative to the kitchen table, or taking conference calls in bed. But does a garden office add value to your property?

Even if you’re not planning to sell in the near future, home improvements can be a worthwhile investment. Especially if the housing market has slowed due to mortgage rises and economic uncertainty. And if you’ve found somewhere you intend to stay forever, then it makes sense to tailor it to your needs as much as possible.

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How much value can a garden office add to your home?

The cost of a home office will vary depending on the size and specification, but it can be anywhere between around £1,500 to £20,000. A standard small wooden cabin self-built will obviously be a lot cheaper than commissioning a large bespoke building with plumbing and electricity. Cutting costs can be tempting, but good insulation is worthwhile when you’re working through winter. And quality doors and windows will also improve the security of potentially expensive equipment being stored.

If you do need electricity and plumbing, then you may need a trench dug for the cables, along with any landscaping around your new work space.

Investing in quality can pay off. The value it adds will vary depending on demand in the housing market, but it’s estimated a garden office can add 5-15% to the value of your home. If your property is currently valued at £300,000, you could see an increase of between £15,000 to £30,000 depending on the size and specification you’ve chosen. Obviously, you’ll tend to see more gains from a higher quality construction, and you could see more value if there’s another big rise in demand for home working spaces.

Be aware of the maximum ceiling price for properties in your area, as you may have already reached the highest amount that you’re likely to get from selling, due to other factors such as location. You can get an idea of the typical prices for your street by researching property sites, or speaking to local estate agents. But even if a garden office doesn’t add a huge amount to your sale price, it can also help you secure a buyer more quickly. 


Do you need planning permission?

Most garden rooms and offices won’t require planning permission as they are classed as outbuildings under the rules for permitted development rights. But this might not apply if your home is a listed building, or located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, National Park, or a conservation area. Make sure to check with your local planning office if that may be the case.

The allowances apply to houses, not flats or maisonettes. And are based on the house as it was first built, or as it stood on 1st July, 1948. If a previous owner has built multiple sheds and outbuildings, you may need to remove or replace some to avoid using more than 50% of your total land area.

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If permitted development rules do apply, then you just need to follow some simple rules.

  • It’s not built in front of your home.
  • The total area of all extensions, sheds and outbuildings must not cover more than 50% of the total land area around your house.
  • A maximum height of 2.5 metres if it’s located within 2 metres of your boundary. And a maximum height of eaves of 2.5 metres, and overall roof height of three metres (4 metres with a pitched roof) anywhere else.
  • No balconies, verandas or other raised platforms.
  • Building Regulations apply for electrics, and if you ever plan to sleep in it, or use it as a guest room
  • You may need planning permission if you intend to use it for activities which usually take place in your main home, such as showering or cooking. 

Technical guidance is available from the UK Government website, and applies across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Reputable and experienced contractors and specialists will also be able to advise you on whether your plans might need permission.


Can you claim any costs through your business?

If you’re self-employed as a limited company, it’s unlikely you can claim tax relief on the design and build of the structure. But along with furniture and equipment, you may be able to claim for some elements, such as electrical wiring and plumbing. And repair costs can be allowable business expenses alongside your utilities.

With any tax matters, it’s always worth getting specialist advice to make sure you’re getting the maximum relief without any issues. IPSE members can access a tax helpline, and discounted support from our specialist partners (alongside tax investigation cover included with some membership levels).

And don’t forget to update your home and contents insurance provider. Along with potentially invalidating your policy, some companies won’t offer full cover for items in outbuildings under their standard agreements. 


Other benefits to garden offices

Having a private, dedicated work space can be enormously valuable, especially if you need to get away from family members to focus. And being located away from your house can make interruptions less likely than if you’re based in a conservatory or loft extension.

Being outdoors, and able to look at nature, can help lower stress and blood pressure, and boost your creativity. Your office could also be used as somewhere to relax, or as an occasional guest room. Just try and avoid the temptation to dump everything in there as extra storage space.

It's also generally quicker and easier to add an outbuilding to your garden than building an extension. A fairly simple and straightforward construction could be finished in two or three weeks, without any disruption to your home or work.

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