It’s one thing to renovate a home; it’s another to maintain. Keeping up with house improvements and repairs is crucial to keep a house maintained, organised, practical and an overall happy place to live in.
A house renovation involves creating significant changes, alterations and remodelling of a property, while house improvements refer to the changes or upgrades to a house’s functionality, aesthetics or comfort, usually through home repairs.
There’s nothing worse than a beautifully decorated home where none of the lights work! In the UK, the average homeowner will spend 1% to 4% of their home value per year on maintenance and repairs.
These improvements could range from changing boilers and improving heating systems to building a pond in their garden to creating storage solutions in the home office loft conversion.
This article will cover how you can fund and carry out home repairs, contact tradespeople, organise the workflow, and much more!
If you’re looking for something specific, then please check out our interactive menu below:
- What Is A House Improvement?
- What Home Improvements & Repairs Can You Do?
- What Are The Benefits Of Regular Home Maintenance And Repairs?
- Do You Need To Contact Anyone Regarding Repairs At Home?
- How Do Home Improvements Work?
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What Is A House Improvement?
A house improvement involves undertaking projects or modifications that aim to improve aspects of the exterior and interior of the property.
They can range from minor repairs to significant improvements like interior design changes, functional upgrades, minor renovations, maintenance and repair.
A house improvement could be the visual improvement of a property, like painting walls, refinishing floors, replacing mixers, updating the gardening or adding decorative elements.
House improvements don’t have to be just aesthetic; they could tackle functional changes like adding smart home features, updating the plumbing systems, installing insulation, or getting double-glazed windows.
In some cases, house improvements could also include renovations that structurally improve the property, like removing or adding walls to reconfigure the property’s layout.
But, most often than not, a house improvement will be the routine maintenance and repair of a property, ensuring no leaky roof tiles, damaged walls, or worn-out flooring.
How Do You Fund Your House Improvements?
We would recommend that you seek the advice of a financial advisor before you make any drastic decisions; however, if you are looking to repair your home but do not have the funds widely available, then you may want to consider the following:
- Remortgage your home.
- Increase your existing mortgage.
- Take out a secured or unsecured loan.
- Use a 0% or low-level interest rate credit card.
- Use your savings.
- Release equity tied to your home.
It’s essential that when you go to pay for house improvements, you ensure that you have the finances to do so and that the improvements will add value to your home when you decide to sell. Otherwise, you won’t earn a decent return on your investment.
What Is Support For Mortgage Interest (SMI)?
If you live in Wales, own your home and have taken out a loan to make home improvements, you may be eligible for a government loan to help with interest payments.
You may be eligible for Support For Mortgage Interest, if:
- You’re on universal credit.
- You’re on pension credit.
- You’re on income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
- You’re on income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
- You’re on Income Support.
But you will also have to ensure that SMI covers the house improvements you wish to complete:
- Fixing your heating system.
- Install an oven or hob to cook food, a bath, shower, washbasin, sink or toilet.
- Installing electric lights is a way to store fuel or rubbish.
- Installing drainage.
- Fixing an unsafe structure like your roof.
- Damp-proofing or insulating your home.
- Providing fresh air or natural light.
- Adapting your home for a disabled person.
What Is The Green Home Grant Scheme 2023?
The Green Home Grant closed its applications in 2021, but luckily there is the ECO+ Scheme (Energy Company Obligation) or the Great British Insulation Scheme, which provides funding for households to become more energy efficient.
ECO mandates that all energy suppliers support people in low-income households and extends it to energy-efficient households in lower Council Tax Bands.
What Tools Do You Need For DIY House Improvements?
If you are looking to carry out some minor repairs around the home, you may find that having the following items to hand very handy:
- Set of screwdrivers.
- A claw hammer.
- A multi-purpose medium-toothed saw.
- Steel measuring ruler.
- Spirit level.
- An adjustable spanner.
- A nail set.
- Craft knife.
- Electric drill.
- Painting set.
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What House Improvements & Repairs Can You Do Yourself?
You can do several house improvements and repairs yourself, even with limited experience or qualifications.
Painting walls, installing shelving or replacing cabinets can be accomplished with essential tools and little research. These home improvement projects don’t involve complex processes or potential safety hazards, which makes them suitable for DIY enthusiasts.
However, we always recommend leaving any electric wiring or plumbing to a qualified professional or tradesman.
While minor house improvements can be completed by DIY enthusiasts, when dealing with electrics and plumbing, it’s better to invest in professional services as it will save you money in the long run.
Average professional cost
Average DIY cost
£325 per day
£50 per window
£45 per hour
Replacing Damaged Tiles
£110 per metre
£2.50 per tile
Carrying out these DIY house improvements will save you a significant amount of money compared to hiring contractors, as you won’t have to pay for labour costs which can amount to substantial portions of the overall project expenses.
A massive perk to carrying out the work yourself is that it allows you to carry out the projects on your timeline and not have the stress of contractors constantly on site.
But, constant house improvements can be time-consuming, especially for more significant properties, and it could be physically demanding.
If you are a landlord, consider using a letting agent or property manager to conduct routine inspections to ensure the property is maintained to its full potential.
What Are The Benefits Of Regular Home Maintenance And Repairs?
Regular house improvements and repairs offer numerous short-term and long-term benefits:
Regular house improvements allow you to identify and address potential issues before they escalate into costly emergencies, like burst pipes, major leaks, or electrical failures.
Property Value Increase
Consistent house improvements can help maintain or increase the value of your property, as regular maintenance ensures your home remains in good condition and doesn’t deteriorate due to neglect.
When the time comes to sell your home, a well-maintained home typically attracts more buyers and sells faster on the market.
Regular house improvements and repairs can contribute to a safer living environment as the improvements address electrical issues, maintain smoke detectors and check carbon monoxide readers.
These should be checked often to reduce the risk of accidents, injuries and potentially life-threatening situations.
Improved Energy Efficiency
Consistent house improvements can help make your home more energy efficient, leading to long-term savings on utility bills.
This could be from replacing old windows with double glazing, introducing solar panels or smart home hubs, and adding proper insulation to your home.
Regular maintenance will prolong the lifespan of various aspects of the home; for example, consistently caring for appliances like fridges, dishwashers, and washing machines can prevent premature failure and the need for costly replacements.
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Do You Need To Contact Anyone Regarding Repairs?
For routine repairs or maintenance tasks that you can handle on your own, such as fixing leaky mixers or patching small holes in the wall, you won’t need to contact anyone as these are within the scope of regular homeowner responsibilities.
But, if you are carrying out more extensive or complicated repairs, consulting with professionals may be beneficial.
You will, however, need to contact local governing authorities if you:
Need Planning Permission
If you are carrying out significant home repairs or improvements, you may need to contact your Local Authority Planning and Building Control Departments about whether or not you need planning permission.
Have Shared Boundaries
If your property shares any adjoining or shared boundaries with next-door neighbours, you may need to issue a Party Wall Notice, which gives them prior notice (2 months to a year) of the works you wish to carry out.
Are Doing Structural Changes
If your home improvement project involves making significant structural changes, you may need the assistance of a structural engineer to enable you to obtain Building Control Approval.
Live In A Conservation Area
If you live within a conservation area or in a listed building, you will need to check with the Local Authority if there are any restrictions on your property.
Looking To Add Value
If you want to make house improvements for selling, check with a local estate agent to assess whether you will see a return on investment.
Worried About Home Insurance
Before you begin your house improvement or renovation project, you should ensure that any building works won’t affect your property’s cover.
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How Do Carry Out House Improvements?
We recommend leaving any electrical wiring or plumbing work to a contractor, as electrical wiring and plumbing systems are intricate and can pose significant risks if mishandled.
Improperly installed wiring can lead to electrical shocks, short circuits or fire hazards, while faulty plumbing connections can result in leaks, water damage or contamination.
Licensed electricians and plumbers have the expertise, knowledge and tools to handle these specialised tasks safely and effectively. They should be regulated and trained to comply with building regulations, ensuring the work meets the required standards.
The first step to organising any house improvement work is to create a schedule of work, which is a list of tasks with deadlines and materials.
We recommend you shop around first if you are hiring external contractors to help you with home repairs and improvements. You should approach multiple contracting firms and obtain quotes using the work schedule.
Once you have received multiple quotes and compared them against their online reviews, you can pick which contractor is right for you.
The work schedule will allow you to ensure that all the work is on time for completion and that the work is carried out to a professional standard. Although it is not legally binding, it will hold up in small claims court.