Home ImprovementsPosted on: 25 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
The phenomenal success of TV DIY and home makeover programmes such as House Doctor, Property Ladder and Changing Rooms is well documented.
The Halifax Home Improvements Survey reveals that only one in ten homeowners in England and Wales, who have undertaken home improvements, have done so with the pure intention of adding value to their property. The survey polled homeowners asking why improvements had been carried out. Some 31% said it was to improve their standard of living and 35% indicated that they were carried out to improve the look or design of their home.
"2003 Top Of The Pops"
The Way We Were - 1992
Almost ten years ago the picture was quite different, signalling a shift in home decoration trends. For example, 'new flooring' now tops the chart of home improvements underlining the rising popularity of the ubiquitous laminate wood floor.
In 1992 the Halifax Home Improvements Survey found that double glazing was the most popular home improvement. This now ranks at third place in this year's survey. A fitted kitchen came in at second place in 1992, it is now the fourth most popular home improvement. Interestingly, garden improvements was at third place in 1992 rising to second place by 2003. This makes it the only home improvement to rise in the last ten years - perhaps evidence of the effect of gardening programmes such as Groundforce, Homefront in the Garden and City Gardener in mainstream TV scheduling.
A new bathroom and central heating were also high on homeowner's list of home improvements in 1992, coming in at fourth and fifth place respectively. By 2003, central heating has dropped out of the top five home improvements completely. A third of homeowners had completed work on a new bathroom when questioned in the 2003 Halifax Home Improvements Survey
Which Improvements Homeowners Believe Add The Most Value
When asked which features in a home would be likely to add the most value, a third chose a fitted kitchen, 15% went for central heating and 13% for double glazing. The current popularity of conservatories influenced 11% who thought they added the most value.
Patrick Sawdon, chief valuer at Halifax, offers some timely advice: "It is heartening to see that adding value to a home is not the sole motivator for undertaking improvements. However, it is important to remember the re-saleability factor when considering any work to be undertaken on your home. The key is to ensure that any alterations are in sympathy with the surroundings. Don't go overboard on the specification. If you carry out a £25,000 kitchen improvement on a £100,000 house, then you are not going to get your money back. It is all about keeping things in proportion.
"Any improvement homeowners make should also be at least in part based on what will improve quality of life. That is especially true when it comes to gardens but also includes changes to bathrooms and kitchens as well. If you live in an area where land is at a premium - in London for instance - then it is worth considering loft conversions and turning a basement or cellar into a living space."
"Make sure you end up with a professional job and remember to get planning permission, the freeholders consent if you lease the property, as well as checking the Building Regulations. When the time comes to sell your property, nothing acts as more of a deterrent to a potential buyer than poor workmanship or cutting corners on the necessary legal consents."
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