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.

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

10 top ways to add value to your home