Anyone who has caught the DIY bug will tell you there are few things more satisfying than completing a project on your home.
Seeing that you’ve created something beautiful and practical is a brilliant feeling. But how much should you look to spend on home improvements, and how much work should you put into it?
Well, this really depends on whether you’re looking to improve your home just to make it more practical to you, or if you’re looking to give yourself more of a chance of selling the property. Some changes will make your house look better, but they won’t necessarily provide a good return on investment, so decide what your motive is before you plan anything.
Improve to move
Research carried out last year by Zopa found that on average, people who took out a home improvement loan to do up their property added £30,000 to the value of their house, so if you’re looking to make your home stand out on the market, it might be something worth considering.
Here are the best value home improvement projects, with costs based on Zopa’s estimates, and how much it could help you sell your property:
1. Adding a conservatory – on average this will cost you around £5,300 (according to Zopa), and could add up to £5,750 to your house price: conservatories could be something that really make your property stand out from the rest, as research* carried out for us last year found that one in four aspire to have one in their dream home. You usually don’t have to apply for planning permission, but check the rules to make sure your development is allowed. You will also have to give up garden space to build one, so you’ll probably only want to consider this if you’ve got quite a bit of space around your property.
2. Making improvements to your garden – Zopa suggest that people spend an average of £4,550 improving their outside space, and could add up to £4,000 to your house price: you need to make sure your garden is tidy and the lawn well-trimmed if you want to sell your property, but if you want to be able to ask for more for your house, you could look at more drastic changes. Think about putting in a drive, a water feature, a deck and adding more planting or some trees, depending on if your garden is big enough to accommodate these. If increasing the value of your property is your only goal, don’t go too overboard. However, some more impressive features could make it more likely that buyers will be interested in your home.
3. Exterior work – the average cost of exterior work is around £6,000, and could add up to £4,500 to your home’s value: having a neat looking house from the outside adds ‘kerb appeal’ to your home, but it may also improve the asking price too. If your window frames are unpainted or broken, it could mean that buyers may view your home as a fixer-upper property that they’ll have to do a lot of work on, so they could try to get a lower price for it. You may only have to do a few little jobs to the outside of your home, meaning you might be able to add more to the value of your house in comparison to what you’ve spent on it.
4. Building an extension – this is a pricier option, costing, on average, £19,750. It could add around £14,000 to your house price: this is another one that you’ll only be able to consider if you have land around your property. It also requires a big cash investment, so if you’re not looking to spend a lot, consider some of the less intensive home improvement projects. You don’t necessarily have to apply for planning permission when you build an extension, but there are strict rules you have to follow. It might be more appropriate for you if you’re thinking of staying in your home for the foreseeable future and could do with having more space.
5. Putting on a new roof – typically the average cost is around £4,150, and could add about £2,600 to the value of your property: if your current roof is leaky or looks dilapidated, buyers could use this as an excuse to get you to reduce your asking price. Fix any bits where the roof tiles have broken or you might want to think about replacing the roof tiles completely, depending on what state they’re in. You might end up spending more on a new roof than it will actually add to your property price, but it could make it more likely that you’ll be able to get a sale.
Do it up to stay put
If you’ve just bought a house or aren’t looking to move for a few years, it is still worth thinking about improving your home. You might want to inject some new life to rejuvenate your property, and this doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. Here are some quick, and relatively low cost, ways you could do up your property if you’re looking to add some personality:
6. Painting your bathroom – changing the colour of your walls can help to bring your bathroom to life, though it’s best to stay with a fairly neutral shade for smaller suites. B&Q have 2.5l bathroom paints available for around £24, as well as a helpful paint calculator, so you can see how much you need to buy. You could also replace your towels and add accessories in a new colour to revive the room. Wilko has a range of towels in a variety of colours, so you can show your personality here by going for something a bit brighter.
7. Get a new front door – buying a new front door might not be the cheapest home improvement project – prices start around £90 – but they do freshen up the front of your property. To save on costs, you could paint your existing door if the wood is still in good condition. You’ll have to sand your door down to get the original paint off, and then paint it with undercoat and the colour you choose. This will cost you about £40 for both.
8. Re-carpet in a room – if your carpet is looking tatty in one room, you could replace it. The cost of carpets can vary quite a lot, but it’s usually around £10 a metre. If you’ve got a big room, this could work out quite expensive, so you could just get a new rug instead for around £50.
9. Install a new fire surround – fireplace surrounds can start to look a bit tired if you’ve not replaced them since you moved in, so you could install a new one to create an interesting focal point in your living room. Prices for a complete fire surround start at about £200.
10. Change the handles on your drawers or built-in cabinets – replacing the handles on your kitchen cabinets can make it look like you’ve bought a whole new set of units, and it’s an easy job you can do yourself. Handles cost £2 or more, depending on the style you want, and they usually only require a screwdriver to install.
Paying for the work
Depending on what DIY projects you take on, it could cost you quite a bit to improve your home. You can cover the cost of this out of your savings if you have any, or you might want to consider taking out a home improvement loan to pay for it. Bear in mind that if you secure a loan against your property, it could be at risk of repossession if you don’t keep up the repayments.
*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 21st November and 28th November 2014, of whom 636 were Scottish residents.
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By Hayley Cox