Seven in 10 Britons would rather buy a home that needs work than one that is ready to move into, a survey has found.
With property prices continuing to increase and a lack of choice of homes available for buyers in some parts of the country, property website Zoopla found 70% of Britons would rather take on a "project" that they can do up than buy one in perfect condition.
The research among nearly 1,600 people, of whom nearly 1,300 are home owners, found that on average people would be prepared to spend £17,765 on getting a property up to scratch.
Across the country, home improvers in London and the South East of England would be prepared to set aside the most to add their personal touch to a property, with averages of £22,413 and £20,047 respectively.
People in Wales would put the least aside, budgeting an average of £7,705.
The research also suggests that many people would do up their home in order to sell up and move up the property ladder, rather than enjoying it themselves.
The potential re-sale value of a home is one of the key motivations for doing it up, the research found, with six in 10 (61%) people saying they would try to calculate the value that a renovation would add before carrying out any work on a property.
Those surveyed generally believed that a wow factor kitchen could add the most value to a property, followed by a new bathroom and extending the property to include a loft conversion or a conservatory.
Two thirds of Britons (63%) also felt it was important to keep the style of a house neutral to appeal to a wider pool of buyers.
But improving a property might be easier said than done - as nearly two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed said no matter how many improvements they make there are always more to do.
One in four (24%) people confessed to starting DIY projects and leaving them unfinished.
Lawrence Hall, a spokesman for Zoopla said: "Buying a property that needs work can be an excellent way of both adding value and improving the living space of a home."
Here are the average amounts that people said they would be prepared to set aside for home improvements, according to Zoopla:
- East Midlands, £15,709
- East of England, £18,885
- London, £22,413
- North East England, £11,224
- North West England, £13,346
- Scotland, £13,572
- South East England, £20,047
- South West England, £18,798
- Wales, £7,705
- West Midlands, £17,789
- Yorkshire and the Humber, £14,987
The ten most valuable home improvements
Zoopla survey finds 70% of Britons prefer to buy home needing work
If you have the cash (and the planning permission) by far the best way to add value is to increase the floor space, by either converting the attic or extending into the garden. Work that adds an extra bedroom will typically add 12% to the value of the property, so a £20,000 outlay will easily add at least this much value.
If this is beyond your budget, you should focus on increasing the space through clever storage solutions. In a bedroom, for example, by investing in clever under-bed storage, adding high shelves, and investing in taller wardrobes, you can turn a cramped single room into a spacious one - or convert a single into a double.
This is a surprisingly cost-effective way to boost the value. Admittedly you'll have an outlay of anywhere between £5,000 and £30,000, but if you choose a style that complements the architecture of your home, match the flooring to the rest of the downstairs, and make sure the conservatory feels like part of the rest of the house, you can add 7% to the value of the property.
If you live in an area where parking is in high demand, then by turning the front garden into a drive you can add as much as £40,000 to the value of the property. You may need planning permission, and you will have to apply to the council to have the curb lowered, but the time and money will be repaid several times over. Rather than chucking down tarmac, it's worth looking at a garden that incorporates greenery, which will mean you're not contributing to the flood risks in the area.
If you are selling in the near future, this is important, because you need to entice people in. At the very least paint the front door and touch up painting on the windows. You should also fix any guttering and give it all a good clean. Your home should stand out for the right reasons.
This is where most people will spend a good chunk of their time at home, so not only will you add value, you'll also benefit from any changes most. If you can stretch to a new kitchen you could add 5% to the value of your property. However, if you don't have the thousands of pounds required for that kind of change, just by replacing the doors for something more modern, putting down stylish flooring, and investing in fashionable appliances, you can add significant value.
You don't need to spend much. If you already have serviceable white suite, you can add a chrome heated towel rail, glass screen instead of a shower curtain, new mirror, or even a power shower, and you can add value to the property without the disruption and expense of a new bathroom.
This isn't cheap, but if the house is short of bathrooms, building one can add 10% to the value of the home. Increasingly buyers will come to expect them, so you'll dramatically add to the number of potential buyers by being able to tick that box.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that if you upgrade from an old gas heavyweight boiler to a new condenser boiler, someone living in the average three bed-room semi could save around £500 a year. The costs involved mean that it could take just over three years before you start seeing a financial return, but from then on you're in the money.
In a poorly insulated attic, around 30% of all the heat in your house is going straight upstairs to escape out of the roof. This simple DIY job will save you £200 a year or more on your heating bills - so will pay you back almost immediately.