Home improvement – is it worth it for you?

Selling a house can be one of the most stressful times in an adult’s life, but it can also be highly profitable. 

From decorating to small fixes around the property, there are many ways that you make your house or flat more appealing than your neighbours’ and add value to it in the process, helping to ensure that your home serves as both a great place to reside and make a return on your investment.

Whether you are planning on selling or just want a nicer place to live, there are lots of ways to add value to your home without breaking the bank, as there are so many low-cost, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects that you can do. But unfortunately, many homeowners choose to abandon a DIY scheme after starting.

Recent research by Halifax Home Insurance found that more than more than a third of homeowners in the UK that embarked on a DIY project have failed to complete, and a further 10 per cent have acquired the necessary equipment but never even started the job.

The study suggests a lack of confidence in skills could be to blame as one in five respondents to the survey admitted that they cannot even change a light bulb, while well over half would not know how to put up shelves and more than a quarter are not confident enough to paint their own home.

This may be due to a past bad experience, as almost a third admitted to a previous DIY botch, which may explain why so many DIY related incidents, such as spilling paint or drilling through pipes, were among the 16,500 or so accidental damage claims recorded by Halifax Home Insurance last year. So are home improvement projects worth it?

While homeowners should always call for a professional for jobs involving gas, electrical or plumbing work, it may also be worth appointing a professional tradesman to make general repairs and improvements around the home if you feel that these jobs are beyond your capabilities, as this could still prove profitable – if you budget correctly.

A separate study by peer to peer lending firm Zopa, based on home owner’s estimates, found that the average home improvement in the UK would add a healthy 10% to the value of a property.

This works out at just under £30,000 whilst the average return on investment was estimated to be 80%, based on the total amount spent by home owners.

The new research, which asked homeowners who have taken out a home improvement loan across the UK how much value their renovation added to their property, shows that the top improvement is a conservatory costing an average of £5,300 and giving a 108% return on investment.

Next is improvement to the garden – costing an average of £4,550 giving an 88% return followed by exterior work costing an average of £6,000 with a return on investment of 75%.

An extension is much more costly, averaging £19,750 but only offering a 71% return on investment while a new roof costs £4,150 with just 63% return and a loft costing an average of £24,600 but comes with a lower return of 50%.

Kitchen and bathrooms are often the rooms homeowners want to change the most but the study suggests that they offer the least in terms of returns. A bathroom renovation costing an average of £4,900 is bottom with a return of just 48%, closely followed by a kitchen costing an average of £9,600 with a return of 49%.

“With record low rates on borrowing, home improvements can be a cost effective way to add value to your property for the long term,” said Zopa chief executive officer Giles Andrews.