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Splash the cash to improve your home - or move?

swimming poolLike most Britons, my most valuable possession is my home. Since I bought it seven years ago, it’s gone up in value by about 60% - which sounds great, but had we stayed in our London house then it would be far higher. I did spend money on it when we moved in – the artex had to (expensively) go and the windows were rotting. And the bathroom suite was pink...

But since then I’ve spent very little on it. As there are only two of us in a four bedroom house, we don’t need to find extra space in a loft or basement extension. However, it’s starting to look a bit shabby around the edges now. And junior has been eyeing up the largely-unused garage – it’s a dumping ground really, I’ve never put the car in it – for a hangout/gym/place to escape from me. While I’ve no immediate plans to move, I don’t want to waste money on expensive alterations – but adding value would be nice. Maybe I should turn the garage into a teenager hang out or gym. Or would that put off any future buyers?

I was interested in this piece which sets out what’s worth doing to your home and what’s a waste of money. Given that Kirstie Allsop seems to spend a lot of time on TV telling homeowners to stay put in their homes but do a lot of expensive work, this was interesting: basically, the way to get the most for your home is just to make sure it’s clean and tidy. What’s particularly interesting is the things which will actually reduce the value of your home. Having a swimming pool would cost £35,000 – but would add just £2,000 to the value of your home which is a massive loss. But a new boiler, costing less than £2,000, would add £8,000 to the price you could ask for your home.

I suppose, though, what’s important is to have the things which suit you and your lifestyle. A friend of mine is having a hot tub installed soon: her kids were obsessed by one on a recent holiday and for a few thousand pounds it’s an easy way to entertain them and is much cheaper than a swimming pool. And I seem to remember Kirstie Allsop suggesting someone fit one in their garden for that very reason. A hot tub may be cool after all in a retro kind of way. Sadly, I can’t imagine artex or pink baths ever coming back..

See our guide to getting a mortgage here

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Thursday, 13 December 2018