Home Improvements - Are they Worth It
Previous - Planning home improvements
A distinction must be made between improvements and repairs. Repairs, such as pointing, re-wiring, damp coursing and roofing defects, must always be carried out because neglecting them will cause further damage and reduce the value of the property.
Unless carried out carelessly or in poor taste - will nearly always increase the value of your house. There are exceptions to this however, see the table below, and it would be unwise to spend money on home improvements if you intended moving within two years.
One of the reasons why people move house is usually because they need an extra bedroom. If you lived in a road where the average house price was £200,000 and you were faced with the choice of moving or building another bedroom on your house, you would face a difficult decision.
Spending £20,000 on a extension to provide another bedroom would increase the value of your house but owning the most expensive house in the road can be a drawback when it comes to selling it. Prospective buyers seem to judge property values by the general tone of the area as much as the quality of any individual house.
There are other factors in the decision-making process on whether to buy a house or not over which the house seller can have no influence at all. These include the quality of the local schools, the convenience of public transport, the distance to the nearest shops (and pubs!) - can all play a part in deciding whether to buy a particular house.
In this particular case, depending upon family needs, it would probably be better to build an extension and worry about future house values when the need arises. In planning to improve your house, it should be remembered that it is important to maintain a balance in the different types of room uses.
For example, building a second bathroom in a two-bedroom house is extravagant unless, of course, you intend to use the amenity yourself in the long term. Similarly, constructing a fourth bedroom in a house with only one sitting room would be unwise in normal circumstances.
Worthwhile Home Improvements?
The following table shows the percentage of the cost of the improvement work likely to be recovered if the property is sold within two years of the work being carried out. It can be seen that it is the essential items of work that produce the highest return for obvious reasons. There are some projects that can actually reduce the value of house when placed on the market such as swimming pools. Although they look attractive they are a highly specialised item and most prospective buyers could be put off by the danger they present to unsupervised young children and also by the amount of work involved in cleaning and maintaining them.
Type of Home Improvement work %
Central heating 50-75
Double glazing 40-50
Loft conversion 20-40
Basement conversion 20-40
Bedroom extension 20-30
Kitchen extension 20-30
As you can see the best work to carry out if you are worried about whether your home improvements are worthwhile or not is to install central heating and build a garage extension.
Raising the Money for Home Improvements
If you intend to have major improvement works
done to your property, you will have to determine at an early stage how
you are going to pay for them. If you have savings, it would seem the
most straightforward course would be to use them to finance the work.
Before doing so, find out the rate of interest you are receiving on the investment and compare it the cost of borrowing the money. In normal circumstances, the cost of borrowing should always be higher than the return on investment but it is worth checking that this is the fact in your case.