As the housing market stagnates people start to look towards the British age-old obsession of increasing the value of their bricks and mortar with a few tasteful amendments to their home.
These proposed changes can vary. From a quick and cheap redecoration to a total structural overhaul. The hope here though is to add several thousand pounds to the value of their property. The argument goes along the lines of a couple of thousand spent here will reap the benefits of adding five or ten thousand on to the eventual sale price. Homeowners then splash out on making their house the dream home that will pull in that dream buyer.
But research by Liverpool Victoria (LV=) has shown that many DIY efforts far from adding value or even being value neutral, actually end up dropping the value of the house. This coupled with the cost of the transformation can cost the budding home improver dear.
It turns out that some 27% of homeowners have tried their hands at electrical work, 22% have done some plumbing work and nearly one in ten (9%) have even chanced their arms with structural work.
Many of these jobs can, if done incorrectly, not only reduce the worth of the house by about 5% but even be dangerous if not fatal.
Many people think that a redecorative facelift would add value. Some said a new kitchen or bathroom would raise the value and some would landscape the garden to attract a better price.
But estate agents disagree, saying that many of these would cost more than any value they add, if any value was in fact added.
And if you are considering the added cost of using a professional then the sums usually make even less sense.
Before you go down to the DIY store with that list of paints and tiles with a grand plan in your head, just ask yourself how many houses you’ve ever been in and agreed with the owner’s choice of decor. A buyer viewing your house probably has totally different tastes and requirements to you.
When people view houses they generally look at it as a blank canvas. They imagine what it will be like when they have stamped their personality on it. That choice of burnt orange with purple spots for the loo may be someone’s idea of taste but not be what someone else would want to sit down and look at.
Your idea of a well planned garden may not suit a couple with four active children.
Something you spent thousands of pounds and tens if not hundreds of hours on may be viewed by someone else as an eyesore. They are probably mentally working out how much it will cost to remove or change it. And then take that off of the offer they make!
This is without considering the added stress of the upheaval and inconvenience of the whole exercise as well as the cost of all those expensive tools.
The only reason you should consider these changes is if you are going to stay in your home and it adds value to your life and how you live your life in that house.
If you are considering selling, the best thing you can do is keep a clean and tidy house and garden. The more uncluttered and well lit it is the more spacious it appears, letting the imagination of the potential buyers do the work for you. Much cheaper than purchasing half of the stock of the local home improvement centres.