|photo credit - pixabay|
We’re undoubtedly a nation of home improvers, and although the housing crisis leaves many ordinary people unable to get onto the housing ladder, it makes sense for those of us who are fortunate enough to own to optimise our abodes as much as possible. Whether it’s significant renovations and remodelling, or small odd jobs, home improvements really can add significant value. The key, of course, is to do them right. So, if you’re considering doing something along these lines, here’s a little step-by-step process that should hopefully set you on your way…
Plan, plan, plan!
First things first, make sure that you have a clear idea about what you want to do. What needs to be done exactly? What materials do you need? How much will it cost you? Is it DIY, or will you need a contractor? Have you got planning permission for any extensions? These are all things you should be absolutely clear on before so much as picking up a screwdriver, because the last thing you want is to have to change course on a project midway through.
Be conscious of adding value
Not all improvements have value adding as their main objective, and if you’re planning on staying where you are for a long time, it might matter more that the improvements are for your own benefit, or be aesthetically pleasing for you. But it makes sense to at least ensure that the whole exercise is worth your while financially. So whether it’s fitting double glazing, giving your garden a facelift, doing a loft conversion, adding a wood burner, redoing a bathroom or anything else, be sure to do a cost-benefit analysis so that the investment will, at the very least, wash its face.
After surveying your home from top to bottom, you’ll probably have a wish list as long as your arm, and everything may suddenly seem of pressing importance. But keep your wits about you, and compile a list that prioritises things. What is most urgent, and needs fixing? Is there a long-term job that you want finished before next winter? Which jobs are going to add the most or least value? How much budget is currently available? And which improvements, when completed, will bring you and your family the most joy? Once you have this all figured out, the list should then write itself.
Get hands on
Time is always going to be the biggest hurdle, and often it may be tempting to just get someone in. However, even if your current DIY skillset is pretty limited, you’ll be amazed at what you can learn just from watching explainer videos on YouTube. Alternatively, there are plenty of blogs out there which can help you out if you’re a DIY newbie, or you could get in touch with a not-for-profit home improvement agency for advice. And you might just find that by mucking in yourself, you start to really enjoy it and find it to be a rewarding experience in the end.
Be savvy with finance
Chances are that despite best efforts to cut costs, not everyone will be able to fund home improvements with money in the bank, particularly if it’s a big undertaking and/or if you’re a new homeowner who has just coughed up for the deposit, and all the fees that come with it. Many people instinctively assume that adding finance onto their mortgage is the best way to go. Yet the market for personal loans has become increasingly competitive, and, aside from being more convenient, chances are you might be able to get a better rate of interest elsewhere with an online lender.
Don’t spend a penny more on debt than you need to!