How nailing those DIY jobs could add value to your home

Written by

Kate Faulkner OBE

Kate Faulkner OBE is one of the UK’s leading property experts. She is passionate that most of the problems in the residential property market can be solved if the media, industry and government worked together to educate consumers on how to carry out property projects. Kate regularly features on BBC TV and radio including You and Yours and Moneybox. She has also appeared on ITV’s This Morning and co-hosted LBC’s Property Hour.

Wednesday 3rd April 2024

How handy are you? With the rise of social media, and increasing popularity around ‘how-to’ content, there’s never been more opportunity for aspiring DIYers to nail it.

But according to new research from Novuna Personal Finance, while most homeowners are happy to tackle flat-pack furniture and simple painting and decorating tasks, more than half feel they lack the skills to complete DIY home improvement jobs. And less than a third consider themselves experienced DIYers.

Despite this, the research reveals a big incentive for those who can, to do it themselves. Over one third (37%) of homeowners say they are saving from £1,000 to £10,000 or more by carrying out improvements themselves.

Loving where you live is particularly important at a time when many of us have had to cut back on other costs, like going out or taking holidays. But it can also boost the value of your home. Property prices are floundering a little, it’s encouraging to know that you can help ensure your property is worth as much as possible.

The value of improvements

Making improvements can sometimes help minimise the impact of higher mortgage costs. If the value of your home versus the amount you’re borrowing reduces, you could secure a better mortgage rate thanks to a lower ‘loan to value’.

With inflation on track to reach its long-term average of 2% in the next few months[1] and the Bank of England base rate likely to fall in response, mortgage rates should also come down. So investing some time and a little money in boosting your home’s value right now could help ensure you’re in the best possible position to reduce your borrowing costs later this year.

Simple changes could mean sales

The current state of your home can have a big bearing on its value. We know that today’s buyers generally want either a ‘wreck’ that they can do up themselves or a ‘show home’ that doesn’t need any work at all. Properties that are half lovely and half needing some TLC don’t tend to appeal strongly to either type of buyer, so can sell for less than you might expect.

At the same time, getting home improvements wrong can negatively impact the value, so it’s important to be confident in what you can do yourself and know when you need to seek expert advice.

If you plan to remortgage or sell within the next year or so, start with a fresh lick of paint. Try shades of blues to bring about calm, greys for a Scandinavian influence, or shades of cream or white to make rooms feel more spacious. Redecorating can be done simply and cheaply, with lots of great deals on paint usually available at this time of year. Look out for Bank Holiday events to make savings and help your decorating budget go further. An interior refresh can make you feel happier at home, and will also help the property be more appealing to others when you choose to sell.

For the latest trends, take a look at interior style magazines, pop onto Pinterest or investigate on Instagram. Or, if you prefer seeing things in person, visiting new-build show homes can also give you some great ideas for how to redecorate your property.

Reap rewards from renovations

If you’re in a position to invest some money – whether that’s from your own savings or funding via a personal loan – it’s worth considering whether the bathroom or kitchen could benefit from an upgrade. These renovations topped Novuna’s research as two of the top three most desirable renovations for homeowners.

Although you will need to ensure the plumbing and electrics are professionally installed and meet Building Regulations, you should be able to make savings by doing other less complex jobs yourself. This could include cabinetry, tiling or flooring.

Before embarking on any larger works like this, it’s worth taking advice from local estate agents on how much value the improvements could add to your property. Depending on market performance, the property’s location and its condition, painting and decorating is usually the best value and can increase your property’s value by 2%, whereas adding a loft conversion, especially if it adds an extra bedroom, could be 10% or more[2]. Getting a valuation from an estate agent or surveyor is a good place to start.

Flawless flooring is a great foundation

Updating flooring across your home, wood flooring in particular, could add extra value to your home.

It’s worth identifying first what type of material or finish would work in each room - for instance, kitchens and bathrooms need to have flooring that can withstand high levels of moisture and water spillage. Although flooring can be expensive, the good news is that even relatively low-cost vinyl has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years.

That means you don’t necessarily have to compromise on style because you can still get a wood or tiled look from something that’s easy to lay, easy to clean and good value. Fitting vinyl or some of the ‘easy click’ laminate-type flooring isn’t too difficult, however, carpet can be a bit trickier, and is probably a job for an expert.

So, if you are looking at upgrading your home now or in the near future, those DIY jobs could make all the difference, and pay off in the longer term.

Redecorating and installing new flooring are certainly jobs you can undertake yourself - as long as you’re good at measuring and have the patience for painting!