Home Improvements – Are they worth it?

Home Improvements are on the increase, according to a recent survey by the Insurers, Hiscox. In 2013, only 3% reported doing work whilst by 2018, this had increased to 15%.

One of the main drivers behind this increase is that it is more economic to improve or extend the current residence, considering the high selling and moving costs. Plus, there is the added bonus of getting what is actually wanted; whereas by moving, further work is normally considered necessary to make it the “new owner`s home”.

Today, the cost of moving is too high and in some cases just prohibitive; meaning other options have to be considered.

Improving certainly is a better choice if the area is desirable and suits the requirements of the home owner – it could be good schooling, local services or nearby public transport – under these circumstances, if more space is needed, then it is likely to be cheaper to extend. A loft extension is often an easy option, normally giving an extra Bedroom and Bathroom.

Before thinking about the work, make sure that checks have been undertaken for:

  • Any Planning Permission requirements, in which case detailed drawings of the work to be done will probably need to be submitted to the local council.
  • Onerous Covenants, preventing an extension or limiting the size – a lot of new build properties have very strict leasehold covenants, governing what can and cannot be done; there is also a cost attached to the consent to the work.
  • Any hidden Building Regulation costs – normally negligible but if additional work is required to protect a sewer, then this can add to the build cost.
  • Make sure at least two estimates are obtained from certified builders (obtain references on the quality and speed of the work), and check if other specialists are required – Architect or Building Surveyor. Talk to a reputable estate agent to get an idea of the property`s value before and after the proposed work.
  • Check what the added value will be; or what is advised to make it cost effective.
  • Lastly, assess if the work will improve the overall sale appeal for a later date or limit it to a specific sector of the market.

Be sensible and objective – don`t let the heart rule the head!