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Avoid devaluing your home with shoddy DIY

Experts have been sending out warnings to homeowners with bags of enthusiasm but very little skill when it comes to DIY – don't carry out any work over the holidays or you could shave thousands off the value of your home! With the Easter holidays well underway, and with the summer holidays only a few months away, many homeowners may have embarked upon or may be planning to embark upon various DIY projects around the home. This is all well and good if you have the skills, resources, and confidence to make a good job of it. However, if all you have is an impressive toolbox and a bagful of enthusiasm then it is simply not worth taking the risk.

DIYWhilst DIY that reaches high standards can add value to the home, poor DIY can not only scupper your chances of a sale but can also see the value of your home plummet – not something that most homeowners want to risk given that house prices are on the way down anyway. One property developer recently stated: 'DIY is a British obsession, but when it comes to selling a property a new floor or wallpaper is the last thing on a buyer's mind. Plus you can do so much damage to the value of your home with poor DIY.'

Of course, those who are willing to pay the professional to carry out improvements and those that do actually have the skills to carry out DIY could benefit from increased values. One industry professional said: 'People have scrimped and saved to afford high prices and want to make sure their investments pay off. If they get back several times what they spend on improvements, this can make the difference between buying, say, a two or a three bedroom property second time around. If house price growth slows, this may be the best way to buck the trend.'

However, bungled DIY will have the complete opposite effect, and for many homeowners it is best to leave the work to the experts. It is not just poor workmanship that can reduce your chances of a sale – it is also dependant on the type of home improvement that you make. For example, if you are adding more space to the home, converting unused space, adding double glazing and improved heating, or fitting a new bathroom or kitchen this could prove to be a selling point. If on the other hand you are simply decorating or adding unnecessary things such as a swimming pool this could actually put some buyers off – for example, families with younger children could be put off by a swimming pool.

Finally, for those that do intend to carry out some DIY around the house over the holidays it is important to consider the importance of insurance cover to compensate for any mishaps that might occur along the way – and also to bear in mind that some jobs that you take on could actually invalidate your cover. One insurance official stated: 'Trying to tackle certain areas you are not qualified for, such as electricals or plumbing, could invalidate your home insurance policy, leaving you liable for any subsequent damage.' He added: 'While breakage of some fittings - such as baths and glass in doors - is covered by most standard buildings insurance policies, you might need extra accidental damage cover to protect against DIY disasters such as drilling through pipes or spilling paint on carpets.'

Tom Smith
2nd April 2008

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