10 August 2015

Making major home improvements

Do you love your home but find that it no longer suits your family’s needs? Perhaps you’re a four-person family squeezed into a two-bed home, or you don’t have anywhere you can all sit and eat dinner together.

The obvious answer may be to move into a larger house, but for some people this isn’t an option – they don’t want to leave their local area, don’t have the budget to take on a bigger mortgage or simply can’t face packing up all their belongings.

If this sounds familiar, then making some major home improvements could be the solution to your problems. We’re not talking about giving rooms a lick of paint, but rather structural changes which make a real difference to your home.

Most popular major home improvements

Major home improvements can add space to a property, or make the existing space more usable, making your life easier. But what improvements work best?

According to a recent poll by Gocompare.com, fitting a new bathroom is the most popular major home improvement, with 44% of homeowners who carried out major home improvement in the last 3 years fitting one. This was closely followed by fitting a new kitchen, which was undertaken by 39% of respondents.

In terms of adding space to a property, 16% of respondents added an extension, while 11% knocked through rooms to create open plan living areas. A tenth of people converted the loft, while 7% added an extra bedroom and 6% converted the cellar.

And it seems these changes succeeded in making people’s home more liveable, with almost a quarter of respondents saying they hoped the improvements would mean they didn’t have to move for at least 3 years.

How much will it cost?

The cost of making major home improvements can put some people off.  According to our figures, the average loan taken out to cover structural home improvements between February 2014 and February 2015 was £10,660.93 for single applicants and £12,068.66 for couples.  

 Structural home improvement loans

It might sound like moving is a cheaper option after all. However, the costs of moving house can also add up. According to Rightmove’s Cost of Moving Tracker, buying an average house in the south-west at £209,585  would cost £3,788 in stamp duty, legal fees and other costs such as hiring a removal van, changing locks and other miscellaneous charges. On top of this, there would also be estate agent fees and the legal costs of selling your property, plus any costs associated with transferring or taking out a new mortgage. Your monthly outgoings may also be more in a larger house. Not to mention the stress and time it takes to organise your purchase, sale and move. 

Planning to make some major improvements?

If you’re thinking of ways to cover the cost of making home improvements to your house, and plan to pay the money back within the next 5 years or so, getting a personal loan could be an option. 

Find out more about our personal loans >

Or, if you have a mortgage, you may be able to borrow more to cover the cost of your home improvements. 

Find out more about topping up your Nationwide mortgage >


Adding value

It’s also worth considering the fact that making home improvements can add significant value to your property, if you want to sell it further down the line. According to our data, adding a loft conversion or extension which incorporates a double bedroom or bathroom to the average UK property worth £189.002, can add £40,300 to the value. That’s a 21% rise. The benefits are even more significant in some areas, with the same conversion or extension adding £104,000 to the value of the average London house – a rise of 26%.

major home improvements infographic

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