It’s that DIY time of the year again

The first Bank Holiday weekend of the year has been and gone, so for many of us it will be ideal time to get down the garden centre and out to the DIY stores.

Spring traditionally marks the start of DIY season and if you want to enjoy the summer sun then now is the time to start planning the necessary home improvements.

Doing up your home and garden can be an expensive task and if you want to get value for money then it’s important to think about how you are going to finance it. MoneyExpert.com is on hand to offer impartial advice.

Soaking up the sun

When the summer arrives we all want to make the most of it. Many people migrate to their gardens to soak up the sun, but these days we all want to do it in style. Not content with a simple deck chair many of us are investing in sets of garden furniture, and even outdoor heat lamps. A top of the range furniture set could set you back as much £1,500. So you might want to check your home insurance covers property in your garden and garage.

Many of us are spending considerable sums of money on construction projects in our gardens. Patios are proving popular but they don’t come cheaply. The paving and materials for a 30 metre squared area could set you back well over £1,000. Once you take into account the cost of labour this figure could grow to make a large hole in your wallet.

For some people these days, a patio just isn’t enough. Years of celebrity gardeners has left the British public with a thirst for big projects such as garden ponds or water features. Perhaps the biggest summer project a large number of people will be taking on this year is a conservatory. A basic conservatory can cost in the region of £5,000. None of these additions are a cheap option but adding them to your house could significantly increase its value if they are done well.

Soaking up your cash

Home improvements don’t come cheap. If you’re going to embark on something like this then consider how you’re going to pay for it. Whatever your circumstances, it might be that spreading the cost with a loan could work out better for you.

There are many types of loans out there so it’s important to get the right one for you. The basic distinction with loans is between a secured loan and unsecured loan. Unless you intend to build a conservatory of Taj Mahal type proportions then it’s unlikely you’re going to need a loan which you secure against your home or another valuable asset. It’s more likely you’ll need an unsecured loan.

Unsecured loans allow you to borrow reasonably large sums of money at an affordable rate, often from around five to six per cent. This can work out much cheaper than paying by credit card, and give you more peace of mind than going into your overdraft. Moneyback Bank for example offers a rate of 5.8% for a loan of £5,000 over five years, meaning you end up paying £5, 771, with monthly repayments from as little as £96. The Unity Trust Bank offers a rate of 7.2% for the same loan, meaning you will pay back £5,968, still a relatively small rate in comparison to the 15% APR most credit cards offer.

There are literally thousands of lenders out there, many of which you will never have heard of before. For this reason it’s important to do your homework. The best lender for you won’t necessarily be one of the big High Street names. Although the size of a financial organisation can be an indicator of its success and competitiveness there are always going to be smaller organisations offering great value. These smaller organisations need to undercut their larger rival’s prices, so will in many cases offer a great rate of repayment.

There are a couple of golden rules you should bear in mind before committing to borrow any sum of money. No matter how good the rates are, think about whether you can afford to meet the repayments. Think about how your current out-goings will be affected by taking on the debt. The second basic rule is to ensure you understand the terms of the loan. Read the small print, just because you’re not taking on a secured loan doesn’t mean the loan company won’t have ways of getting their money back if you fail to make repayments.

Enjoy your summer

Taking on these types of project now will mean you can enjoy this and future summers to the full. They can be an expensive business so think about how you’re going to pay for it at an early stage. MoneyExpert.com suggests that a loan will often be a sensible idea for these kinds of investments. Be sure to survey the market carefully before you sign up. Click to compare loans now!

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