5 DIY mistakes that could cost you thousands

If you got up to a spot of DIY during the initial lockdown, you weren’t the only one. According to a survey recently reported in the Independent, an impressive 44% of Brits have tried their hand at DIY home improvements this year.

However, while doing DIY correctly can raise the value of your property, not doing a job to a high enough quality can severely affect your property value and require expensive repairs. Here are five costly DIY mistakes to avoid if you’re considering doing a spot of DIY during the new lockdown.

1. Not using good-quality materials

One common mistake that people often make when doing DIY is trying to save money by using substandard materials or tools.

Making sure that you’ve got the right tools for the job will cut down the chance of anything going wrong or needing to be replaced when you’ve finished, which could cost you significantly in terms of both time and money.

For example, if you’re partitioning a room, you might be tempted to use thinner sheets of drywall to save money. However, doing this will greatly reduce the soundproofing of the wall and may require you to pay for expensive wall cavity filling later to fully soundproof it.

The same can be said for saving money by using thin sheets of plywood for flooring, which is poor at soundproofing and can be structurally weak, opening up the possibility of needing expensive repairs in the future.

If you want to only do a job once, it’s important to do it right the first time. That’s why it’s important to spend a little more on good-quality materials when doing DIY, so you don’t have to pay for expensive repairs later.

2. Converting two smaller bedrooms into one larger one

While converting two bedrooms into one larger bedroom might seem like a good idea, it can actually shave a large amount of money off the value of your home.

When searching for a house, many buyers tend to search by the number of bedrooms a property has, with houses with many rooms typically selling for more than houses with fewer rooms. This means that merging two smaller rooms can be counterproductive, even if you might appreciate the extra space in your bedroom.

Having that extra room can also be invaluable in the current market, as it can be used as a home office. Due to the lockdown meaning that more people are now able to work from home, the potential space for a home office could be a good selling point.

3. Failing to get proper planning permission

Making a large change to your property, such as building an extension, can significantly increase the value of your property if it’s done right. Before you begin, however, it’s essential to make sure you’ve received the proper permission from the council.

Even if you manage to build the extension without any issues, not having full approval for it can cause a potential nightmare for a prospective buyer, as the council may demand that the extension be removed.

Even if it does not have to be removed, the buyer would have to file the correct paperwork which can be a costly and time-consuming experience. Not only might this put off prospective buyers from buying your house, but it may also cause them to factor in this expense when negotiating the price.

4. Converting a garage

Garage conversions are a fairly common home improvement, particularly if people don’t have a car or have a driveway for parking their cars instead.

One popular use for them is to convert them into a home gym and this trend has grown in popularity since many gyms were forced to close during the initial lockdown.

However, while converting a garage may feel as though you’re adding value to your property, it can have the opposite effect.

Many houses, especially more recent builds, lack adequate areas for storage, which can make a place like a garage invaluable. Having a source of storage space can also be particularly appealing to prospective buyers who have children, as they will need more space for toys, bikes, and other bits and pieces.

Converting the garage for another purpose can seem like a good idea, but if prospective buyers would prefer an area for storage, they may not see the value in your conversion and this means you may have wasted your money.

5. Not asking for help when you need it

Finally, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make when doing DIY is not knowing when to cut your losses and ask for help. Sometimes, the best thing to do if you’re struggling with DIY is to admit that a particular job is beyond your skill and to speak to a professional.

A recent survey by Draper Tools found that more than half (53%) of Brits have said they’ve gained a new-found appreciation for the skills of tradesmen after attempting a spot of DIY, having discovered how difficult a lot of home improvements can actually be.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, as knowing your limits can prevent you from making costly mistakes.

For example, if you replace a section of flooring but the job is not completed to a high enough standard, it could be potentially unsafe. This could lead to damage to the surrounding floor, requiring expensive repairs, which could have been avoided by having the floor fitted by a professional.

That’s why it’s sometimes better to swallow your pride and seek the help of a tradesman to ensure that a piece of home improvement is high-quality and is less likely to need expensive repairs in the future.

Home improvement can be great for adding value to your house but can also be very costly. If you’d like to raise money to afford some home improvements, you may benefit from speaking to a financial adviser, who can help you raise the funds needed by organising your finances more effectively.

Get in touch

If you’d like help reorganising your finances so you can afford to make home improvements, we can help. Email enquire@london-money.co.uk or call us at (0207) 808 4120 to find out more.

Please note

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loans secured on it.