Grand Designs? No thanks, we can't be bothered

B8K4TG Man working on drywall, sheetrock

We might be happy to sit on a comfy sofa and watch people pushed to the limit to create their perfect home, but personally we can't be bothered with a Grand Design. A new study has revealed that 81% of us would only ever consider buying a home that's ready to move into.

And almost a third said they couldn't bear the hassle of anything other than a new-build.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
The survey, commissioned by home insurance, questioned over 2,000 people about what they would look for in a new home, and overwhelmingly discovered that most people want somewhere that doesn't require any work.

Ben Wilson, from home insurance, commented: "While many people enjoy watching home make-over and renovation programmes on TV, our research suggests that most aren't that keen on undertaking their own 'grand design' or restoration project."


However, there's a good chance that we're not being enormously realistic. When asked if they preferred new properties or period homes, 63% went for something a bit older. Some 48% said older homes were better because the rooms were bigger, 35% said they had more character, and 15% didn't want to live on a housing estate.

It's questionable whether it's realistic to expect an older property to be in perfect condition. The wear and tear is part of the price you pay for a property's age, and there's no point saying you like a home with original features if you're not prepared to deal with a spot of damp in those ornate cornices or to update the bathroom which was last replaced when the owner brought the toilet indoors.

It's also worth considering how your desire to live in a new home is going to evolve over time. Will you continually sell up after around five years - when the property will start to need some work in order to keep it in good condition? Can you afford to move so often, and pay the premium of moving into a new-build? Or are you destined to end up doing some work in any case?


On the flip side, the survey showed that of the few who could bear the thought of a little hard graft, some 39% said they would consider a project like an extension or loft conversion, and 24% said they would consider somewhere that needed major renovations.

It's worth bearing in mind that undertaking a major project will increase the value of your property. An extension or loft conversion that adds space to the property will typically increase the value of the property by more than your outlay - unless it's a particularly problematic build. Adding an extra room will increase your property value by an average of 11% - which is ample reward for your investment.

Bringing a property back to life may also pay. If you keep the budget under control and transform a wreck, then you could add anything up to £100,000 to the value of your property for as little as £20,000. Of course, if you let things get out of hand and don't take sensible advice on the design and build, then you could just as easily add £20,000 to the value of the property for a cost of £100,000.

But what do you think? Would you take on a Grand Design? or would you rather sit on the comfy sofa in your new-build and let someone else do the hard work?

10 top ways to add value to your home
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Grand Designs? No thanks, we can't be bothered

Of course with all these things, the value it adds depends on the property you have to start with, and the kinds of improvements you make, but Which? estimates the cost of a new kitchen at £8,000 and HSBC calculates the added value to your property at £4,500 - which is a clear loss.

This has been done by 41% of people in the last three years, and 29% of people plan it in the next three. It's cheaper than a kitchen, and Which? estimates the cost at £3,000. This is roughly the same value that HSBC says it will add to your property - so you'll break-even.

It may be difficult, but getting your property ready for sale means depersonalising it. 

Clutter can distract viewers and more than half (60%) of the property valuers who took part in the 2012 HSBC Home Improvement Survey said that the number one way to increase a property's chance of selling quickly, and for a good price, was to de-clutter.

This has been installed by 31% of us in the last three years, and 15% plan it in the next three. Installing central heating is a disruptive job, and according to WhatPrice it will cost you around £3,235. However, this is the first of the top ten to actually pay off. Property expert Phil Spencer says it will add £5,000 to the value.

A quick splash of paint can work wonders on tired-looking walls, and sticking to neutral tones is the safest bet.

Keeping the colour scheme simple, fresh and inviting will help potential buyers to see themselves living in your home.

Some 18% have added one in the last three years, and 30% will in the next three. This is another huge job, but with more people struggling to move and deciding to improve instead, it's increasingly popular. The amount it costs will depend on an enormous number of things, from the area you have to work with, to the size of the extension. However, assuming you add a single room you could spend around £20,000. HSBC estimates it will add around £15,500 to the value of the property, so you are unlikely to gain as much as you spend.

According to Halifax valuers, loft conversions - which require lofts with a roof height of at least 2.4 metres - are a good way to increase the potential sale price of your home.

Be sure to stick to your budget, though. The average loft conversion will cost between £10,000 and £30,000, while HSBC's figures show that they typically add £20,876 to the value of a property.

Putting in new windows adds around £5,265 to the value of the average property and can reap big rewards when it comes to energy efficiency.

It is, however, sensible to ensure that your new windows are in line with the style of your property to maximise the added value - particularly as putting them in can set you back about £5,000.

Off road parking or a garage can be especially advantageous in areas where parked cars line both sides on the street.

Nationwide's figures show that adding a garage, which can cost anything between £8,000 and £25,000, can increase the value of your property by 11%.

Outside space is just as important as inside - especially when people are seeing your home for the first time.

While 63% of the HSBC survey expert respondents said that repainting or varnishing a front door would make a difference, only 23% of homeowners recognised this. Peter Dockar at HSBC said: "It is often the smaller jobs like painting the front door that can make all the difference when looking for a sale."
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