House price gloom is everywhere with experts predicting anything between a 10 per cent and 20 per cent losses on the value of homes over the next year.
The major house price indexes are all pointing downwards whether it’s Government figures or the Nationwide and Halifax reporting their own statistics.
In a falling market it’s difficult to make the next move up the housing ladder if the value of your house is dropping.
If you lose £20,000 or £30,000 off the value of your house it makes it more difficult to afford the next step.
But you can boost your house price yourself if you improve your home. And if you undertake ambitious enough projects then you even remove the need to move house.
And that will be a massive saving in the end if it means you don’t have to pay stamp duty, estate agent and legal fees and removal costs.
MoneyExpert.com shows you the ways to boost your house price even if the market is sliding.
The cost of improvements
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors says the cost of carrying out home improvements has increased by around 20 per cent over the past two years.
A shortage of skilled tradesmen means those who can do the job can charge more and rising transport and raw material costs has also added to the bills.
If you’re planning a basement conversion it will now cost around £10,000 while a loft conversion will set you back around £17,000, according to the Royal Institute.
A conservatory will cost around 22 per cent more than two years ago as has the cost of installing double glazing. Even repair jobs such as replacing cracked bricks or restoring damp walls has increased.
The RICS has produced a guide to around 1,300 types of work and it is worth checking out its Building Cost Information Service at www.bcis.co.uk before you get started.
Cashing in on improvements
Despite the rising costs you can still make money from home improvements. However you need to make sure the work is done well. Bodged repairs and improvements will damage your house and its value.
And you need to pick and choose what sort of improvements – the best ways to add value include a new kitchen, bathroom, conservatory or downstairs loo.
They basically pay for themselves with a kitchen adding around £8,000, a bathroom £4,000, a downstairs loo £4,000 and a conservatory £10,000 to the selling price.
Even a new garden can be worth around £6,000 to the cost of selling your house.
Paying for the improvements
Getting a new mortgage can be difficult at the moment and the interest costs might make it more expensive.
Unsecured loans remain a sensible option with interest rates more or less unchanged since this time last year, particularly for those with good credit records.
It’s still possible to borrow around £10,000 at around seven per cent APR meaning that paying under £200 a month your debt will be cleared in five years.
Check out the loans section of MoneyExpert.com to find the best deals. You can borrow up to £25,000 over terms of up to seven years.
Do it on the house
For really big projects that are going to cost more than £25,000 but which will really transform your house you can look at secured loans.
They are secured on your house so the risk is that if you cannot keep up payments you could put your home at risk.
However the best deals available are now comparable to the best unsecured loans and because you can spread the repayments over longer periods the monthly cost is lower.
That does mean you’ll pay more in interest so work out how much you want to spend before you start.