A distinction must be made between improvements and repairs. Repairs, such as pointing, re-wiring, damp coursing, and roof repairs, must always be carried out because neglecting them will cause further damage and reduce the value of the property
Improvements – unless carried out carelessly and in poor taste will generally enhance the property’s worth. In general terms, you should only carry out improvements to your home to improve the quality of your own life. Evidence shows that spending £20 000 on a swimming pool will not increase the value of your house by £20 000 it may even have a negative effect because some prospective buyers may not want the hassle of looking after a pool.
House prices have risen dramatically in recent years so it is sometimes difficult to assess whether the increased value is due to the extra demand for property or the intrinsic value of any improvements that have been carried out. With certain exceptions – they can be identified in the table below it would be unwise to spend money on home improvements if you intend to move within two years.
One of the reasons why people move house is often because they need an extra bedroom. If you lived in a road where the average house price is £120 000 and you were faced with the choice of moving or building another bedroom on your house, you would face a difficult decision. Spending £20 000 on a bedroom would increase the value of your house but owning the most expensive house in the road can be a drawback when HOME IMPROVEMENTS ARE THEY WORTH IT? 31 it comes to selling it
Prospective buyers seem to judge property values by the general tone of the area as much as the quality of any individual house. In this particular case, depending upon family needs, it would probably be better to build an extension and worry about future house values when the need arises.
In planning to improve your house, it should be remembered that it is important to maintain a balance in the different types of room uses. For example, building a second bathroom in a two-bedroom house is extravagant unless, of course, you intend to use the amenity yourself in the long term. Similarly, constructing a fourth bedroom in a house with only one sitting room would be unwise in normal circumstances.
Grants are not available for holiday or second homes. The grant is meanstested to ensure that those most in need of help receive the benefit. The test takes into account the joint incomes of both partners and any savings over £6000. The grant is awarded for difference between the proposed cost of the work and the amount you are, deemed by the council, able to pay.
You will almost certainly require professional advice in determining the cost of the work and in making the application but these fees can be included in the cost of the works. The grant will be awarded provided that you complete the work within twelve months of the grant being approved, and that you use an approved contractor. Any breach of these and other conditions will require that the grant is paid back in full.