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Home improvements: 8 ways to add value to your home

Top tips from TV’s latest house expert

With the combination of rocketing property prices and expensive moving costs, many UK homeowners are being forced to improve, rather than move home this year.

Indeed, a recent survey from Direct Line Financial Services showed that nine million of us plan to make improvements to our own homes this spring. Not surprisingly, it's becoming increasingly important that we make the right improvement to our homes in order to get the best price if we do eventually come to sell it.

The survey showed that 16% of us are carrying out improvements solely to add value to our home. And with Bank Holidays approaching, it also highlighted how we won't be skimping on spending for home improvements this spring; 19% of us intending to spend up to £2,500, 11% spending between £2,500 - £5,000, 9% shelling out between £5,000 - £10,000 and 8% splashing out over £10,000.

The firm, which sponsors Channel 4's Selling Houses, asked presenter, Andrew Winter to give his expert tips on how to add the most value to our homes:

1. Kitchen and bathrooms

"Putting in a new kitchen or bathroom is always a safe and predictable way to spend money," says Andrew. "Not only will you add considerably to the value of your home - you will also get a lot of pleasure from it!"

2. Loft conversions

"These offer fantastic value for money, but don't be tempted to squeeze two rooms into a loft space. Instead convert the loft into a master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, a guest bedroom, a teenage bedroom or a family games room. What's important is that you keep it as a large room, giving your home instant 'wow' factor."

3. Exteriors

"Many people spend thousands improving the inside of their property without giving any thought to the exterior - big mistake! Spending money on replacing windows and doors with sash uPVC or timber windows together with fixing any loose guttering, down pipes and garden gates can have a big impact on the value of your home."

4. Decorating

"Neutrals always work best - they make your rooms appear bigger and brighter. However, we are in danger of going overboard with the minimalist look. Put neutral colours on walls, floor and fittings, but introduce some colour through paintings, family photographs and soft furnishings to give your home warmth and appeal."

5. Gardens

"There is not a lot you can do with the size of your garden. However, if you have an unsightly garden you need to spend money tidying it up. It will increase the value of your property instantly. Make sure you include a deck or patio area in your garden, smarten up the front garden and replace any fallen boundary fencing."

6. Study

"Nearly 6 out of 10 households now have a computer. This has created an essential need for a study in many homes. Turning an under-stairs cupboard or a section of a conservatory into a study can be a great asset. But make sure it is away from the main living and sleeping areas."

7. Entertainment systems

"Most new homes are now pre-wired for surround sound and broadband points. If you are thinking of having your house re-wired, remember to include this at the same time. It will save you a lot of money in the long term."

8. Swimming pools

"If you have a detached house with a good plot of garden, swimming pools have become in vogue as a major lifestyle enhancement to your home. Heated pools are much cheaper nowadays and you will instantly get your money back on your investment, with profit."

How to pay for it

When it comes to paying for the improvements to our homes, cash savings is still the most popular way to pay. Taking out a personal loan is also a common option (10% of deals use this method), especially if planning a large improvement.


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Please note that articles on this site do not constitute regulated financial advice, which recommends a course of action based upon the specifics of your personal circumstances. The articles are intended to provide general personal financial information. We urge you to consult an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) before making any important decisions about your finances. Call 0800 085 3250 for details of IFAs in your local area. Any statement regarding financial services products and tax liability is based on legislation and tax practices as at 1 January 2004, which is, of course, subject to change.The value of any tax benefits or reliefs depends upon the individual circumstances of the investor.When investment performance is mentioned you should remember that past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Where products have an underlying investment content, in many cases the value of the investment can fall as well as rise. For with-profit based investments, there is no guarantee as to the level of bonuses that will be declared, if any. Where mortgages or secured loans are explained do remember that your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it. All mortgages are subject to underwriting, status and are not available to people under the age of 18.

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Schedule of Articles

property investing
property refurbishment
buying overseas property
moving house
home letting
buy to let
home improvements

top 10 celebrity areas
6 up & comming areas
5 signs that an area is up & comming
city types yearn for the country in town
your place in the sun
equity release
planning permissions & extensions
estate agents
rent or buy
buy to let
mortgage overpayment
mortgage endowments
mortgage protection
stamp duty
self build your home
electrical surveys
the cost of moving in
the perfect neighbourhood
council tax
house price league
good neighbours
stamp duty land tax
top 20 towns 2003
cut the cost of moving
interest rates
buying in scotland
dream homes
first time buyers
the worth of uk homes
bad estate agents
keeping up appearances
home improvements


Please note that articles on this site & any other 'planning-approval' related web site does not constitute professional advice. All articles are intended to provide a general view of many subjects. We suggest you to consult a solicitor before making any important decisions.  The author is not an expert in any given field.

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