Home Improvement Hell – Don’t get caught out

Home Improvements 2020-1-31
Home Improvement Hell.jpg

From injecting too much of a personal touch, to changing the fundamentals of the house such as the number of bedrooms, these ‘home improvements’ can actually decrease the value of your property.

It’s easy to get carried away when renovating your home, but if increasing the value is top on your list of priorities, there are some things that are better left untouched.

We spoke to some experienced estate agents and some people who have made some costly mistakes themselves to get the low down.

Open plan living isn’t for everyone.

Open plan living is really on trend at the moment, but trends pass so if you're hoping to make money on your home in the future, this may be one to hold back on.

That wall you just knocked down to convert your bedroom into a bigger space may just have knocked £££’s off your property value. The number of bedrooms that your house has can have a big impact on the selling price. A three bedroom semi-detached is going to sell for more than a two bedroom.

Bola Ranson, founder of commercial property estate agency explains: “Homebuyers see extra rooms as a way of separating the functions of the house, so avoid converting two bedrooms into one larger room. The new larger bedroom might feel more spacious and airy, but it will affect the value of your home. Consider adding rooms by converting a very large bedroom into two smaller rooms. This will immediately add value to your home. Be careful not to overdo it though, as nobody wants boxy bedrooms.”

Make sure you have your business head on.

Before making any big renovation decisions, it’s worth doing your homework and investigating what demographic your neighbourhood attracts. Try asking yourself some key questions such as ‘Are there a lot of families here or are they working professionals?’ This will help you understand who your target market is when it comes to selling and what they are looking for in a property. Most home buyers who are looking to move into a £400,000 house won’t want to live on a street where all the other properties have a value of £200,000 regardless of how well you think you may have renovated it. Be smart!

Aly Johnson, Blogger and House Sale Enthusiast at Property Solvers found out the hard way: "My Husband and I had our small house in West Hempstead valued last summer and proceeded to work with an interior designer to modernise it. After spending £30,000 renovating our home, we got it revalued in January of this year only to discover it's now £30,000 less than the original valuation! The property was put on the market and received offers for £50,000 less than our asking price. We still haven't sold it, so decided to rent it out for the time being. Even though we never had that money to begin with, I still feel absolutely robbed!"

Be conscious of the 'ceiling price'.

It can be really easy to get carried away when you're renovating your home, especially if you have the money to hand. But you should always be conscious of the maximum value your property will ever have, to ensure you don't end up spending over that and making losses. For example, if a 3 bed semi on your particular street has a ceiling price of £250k and yours is already worth £225k, spending more than £25k to do extra renovation could leave you out of pocket in the long run.

Be careful when putting your ‘own stamp’ on it.

Not everyone will share your taste in décor and what you might feel is elegant and avant-garde is another person’s tacky and tasteless. The key here is to keep it as neutral as possible with colour schemes – yes that means no bold colours, adventurous patterns or quirky textiles. All of these things can put off potential buyers and prevent them from envisaging living in your home and therefore no sale.

Trends come and go, so what might be fashionable now may be seen as outdated in ten years’ time. Personalising your home might suit your current lifestyle right now, but if you’re planning on selling in the near future, be careful not to make costly changes before it goes on the market.

If you must personalise your home then do it with accessories such as throw cushions, pictures, and accessories. All of these can be removed and put away during viewings and put back out after with minimal effort.

Bola Ranson commented: “We took on a property last year where the owners had spent a lot of money creating a very bespoke living space. The house felt very gothic, dark and almost sinister. Conceptually it worked very well, however, when they came to selling, they struggled to generate interest and it became clear that their home’s value had been impacted by the extent of their personalisation. Personal styling can be fun but it's important to understand the impact that it might have on your homes marketability.”

Don’t forget the legalities.

Many homeowners are under the impression that because they own their house, they can make whatever modifications they want such as converting the loft into a living space or building an extension but this simply isn’t true. This misconception can cost you a lot of money when it comes to selling.

When converting your loft, remember that you need to follow building regulations which includes being able to evidence that all walls, slope of the ceiling and the above ceiling are insulated. The catch is that this needs to be made accessible to the surveyors for them to be able to sign off and approve the work.

Wendy Porter, 46, from Bradford converted her loft space without the appropriate certification and lost a lot of money in the process: “A few years ago I made the decision to convert my loft space into an additional bedroom, which I thought would go a long way in adding value to my home. After months of hard work and thousands of pounds spent, we learnt when it came to selling that we couldn’t actually class it as a “bedroom” as we didn’t have the appropriate certification. As we needed to sell fairly quickly, we didn’t have the time to rectify the situation, meaning that when all was said and done we were significantly out of pocket. Moral of the story: triple check you have all the right checks and paperwork carried out before investing in any home improvements!”

Of course, there are plenty of home improvements that you can make that will add value to your home such as updating your kitchen and bathroom without breaking the bank.

If you do need a helping hand with spreading the cost of your home improvements, then check out our low cost home improvement loans starting from just 3.3% APR Representative between £7,500 and £25,000.




Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.


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