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5 DIY tasks that could add value to your property – and 4 that could cost you

December 1, 2020

According to a survey published in the Independent, more than half of Brits took on DIY projects during lockdown.

The research found that doing DIY had helped more than two-thirds of people to combat boredom, while another one in three said it meant they would have something to show for their time.

Home improvements can add to the value of your property and, if done properly, can increase the value by far more than they cost.

If you are thinking about selling your house, or even if you simply want a revamp or some extra space, here are five of the best projects you should consider, as well as four that might end up reducing the value of your home.

1. Upgrading your kitchen

Improving your kitchen is one of the best ways to add value to your home. As probably the busiest and most important room in most properties, a nicely laid out and well-equipped kitchen can be a real asset when it comes to selling your property.

Upgrading doesn’t necessarily have to mean a newly fitted kitchen. Even some straightforward cosmetic changes like new cupboard doors, brighter colours, and maximising storage space can make a real difference.

2. Adding floor space – a loft conversion or an extension

Loft conversions can add a lot of value to your property. So, if you have unused loft space, consider converting it to an extra room.

DIY loft conversions don’t need to cost a fortune and the project can be straightforward to undertake. If you aren’t comfortable doing the work yourself, you could always look for help – most people know someone good at DIY.

Make sure you apply for the necessary planning permission – especially if you want to add the improvements to the property deeds – and that you hire professionals to carry out the tasks you can’t comfortably do yourself. You’ll need a qualified electrician to issue an electrical safety certificate.

By adding an extra room to your house – whether through a loft conversion or by building an extension – you can dramatically increase the value of your home. But remember that the finished room should be in excellent condition. Badly done loft conversions can lower the value of a home.

3. Building a conservatory

One step down from a bricks and mortar extension, stand-alone conservatories can be cheaper and easier to build while still adding value to your property. The key is to ensure your conservatory is spacious and provides plenty of light.

You can find many conservatory manufacturers who provide all the materials together with simple instructions, enabling you to build the conservatory without hiring outside help.

4. Increasing your kerb appeal

For many people, the first step when buying a property is to drive around an area looking for the properties with estate agent boards signifying that they are for sale.

So, the initial impact of your property can make a real and early difference to the sales process.

This kind of DIY project can be ongoing rather than involving a big financial cost upfront.

For example, making sure you keep your garden free from clutter and ensuring it is tidy costs little more than time. Likewise, making sure flower beds and borders are well maintained can cost just a few hours work and some plants from the local garden centre.

For the property itself, make sure all the paintwork is in good condition on windows and the front door.

If you want to spend a bit more money, you could consider fixing a new porch around your front door. This creates an extra level of security as well as some storage space – always a consideration for anyone looking to buy. You could also think of upgrading your garden path and any hardstanding areas.

5. Taking care of your bathroom

After the kitchen, buyers often consider bathrooms the next most important room. As with kitchen improvements, it’s possible to give your bathroom a lift with some simple, straightforward DIY jobs.

Make sure tiles and paintwork are in good condition and think about how you can improve the look and layout with simple storage solutions such as shelves and fitted cupboards.

 4 jobs that could damage the value of your home

Not all DIY projects will automatically add value or show a positive return on the financial outlay. Here are examples of four projects that could end up reducing the value of your property.

1. Converting a bedroom

For many buyers, the number of bedrooms will be the first criteria when it comes to deciding what they are looking for. It’s also often the case that a ‘four-bedroom house’ will get more attention than ‘three bedrooms plus a study’.

So, if you are considering converting a bedroom for any reason, you should bear in mind how easy it will be to change it back before you start the selling process.

2. Converting a garage

Adding living space by converting a garage can often seem an attractive option to make more space, but it can result in you reducing the value of your property rather than increasing it.

As well as parking – which can be a real consideration in busy built-up areas near train stations or shopping centres – people often see the garage as key for storage. Very often the freezer and washing machine will go in there, freeing up more space in the kitchen.

3. Adding poor quality extensions

Adding to the overall size of your property – be it with a loft conversion, extension or conservatory – can add value, but only if it’s done properly.

If you’re in any doubt at all about undertaking a big project yourself, it’s probably better to either focus on getting professional help or consider smaller, more straightforward projects that can still add value but maybe not to the same extent as a larger one.

4. Extravagant garden features

Adding a water feature in your garden became popular (as well as a bit of a DIY cliché) in the late 1990s. Sometimes adding a pond can turn off prospective buyers – especially those with young children who could see them as a potential safety hazard.

Likewise, a swimming pool in your back garden can be a real status symbol but might not appeal to people who aren’t at all active. They can also be seen as expensive to maintain and unless they are covered, can only be used for a couple of months each year. Despite global warming, the UK isn’t yet Florida or the Algarve.

Summary

Before you start a specific project, make sure you carefully calculate the potential costs and weigh them against the additional value they’re likely to add. Although DIY projects can add more value, you want to make sure your project doesn’t end up costing you more than you think.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – and always get a professional in if you get to the stage where you aren’t comfortable.

If you’re hoping to fund a renovation project through savings, it may be worth reviewing your assets to understand where you should take the money from. Alternatively, you may want to take out a home loan or borrow more through a mortgage to fund plans. If you’d like to discuss how your assets can help you create your dream home, please get in touch.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

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