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The hidden costs of home improvement

Before you begin your next home improvement project, consider some of the potentially expensive outgoings that could be lurking.

We all want to live in a home that carries our own unique stamp. Whether that means redecorating or extensive renovations, it's every homeowner's dream to turn your individual idea of comfort and style into a reality.

However, planning for home improvements often presents homeowners with a few headaches along the way – financial as well as practical. To avoid saddling yourself with crippling costs in pursuit of the ideal home, take a look at this guide to potential hidden expenses and get prepared.

Unearthing new problems

Finding unforeseen problems with your home as you try to fix it up can be highly frustrating. Replacing a floor then discovering there’s a damp problem, converting the attic only to find the roof needs replacing, or building an extension that reveals you need a full rewire can leave even the most enthusiastic home-improver feeling thoroughly disheartened. Usually, when these issues arise you’ll need to call in some professional help - and that’s where the costs can begin to mount up. One answer is to make a contingency fund available as you plan each new job, giving yourself a buffer against surprise bills.

Inaccurately estimating the cost of materials

Unless you’re a building industry expert, and even if you are, it’s easy to dramatically underestimate how much various materials will cost. As well as this, the price of the products you need may increase even as you’re carrying out the work. To avoid any risk of being caught short, get a handful of professional quotes before setting out on the task and do a little online research to ascertain the most affordable sources for the materials you will need.

Getting planning permission

Sometimes home improvers become so carried away at the thought of their new swimming pool, kitchen extension or conservatory that they simply forget that planning permission comes with a cost. If you’re constructing new buildings or making substantial changes to existing ones, you will need the local planning authority to rubber-stamp the work.

In England, it costs around £172 to put in a planning application for an extension. In Wales the price is slightly lower at £166. Even once these fees are paid, the bills keep coming; before you begin work you may have to pay for ‘planning conditions’, documents that guide you through the do’s and don’ts of your project.

Getting rid of waste

Disposing of all the debris created during major home improvements is an often-overlooked cost. Old household items like boilers and bathroom suites, rubble, rotten floorboards and torn out windows and doors are all bulky and difficult to get rid of. Skip hire is one solution but skips can cost hundreds and somehow fill up very quickly indeed. The other answer is to drive all that waste to the dump yourself - but even this will come with a price tag attached.

Clean-up costs

Having completed the work you wanted done, you may find that the disarray, disorder and dust has spread into every inch of your home. Properly cleaning up the mess isn’t cheap. It may mean hiring carpet cleaners, paying professionals to blast through the chaos or taking time off work to do the job yourself.

To ensure you successfully finish the home improvements you begin and that you’ve sufficient funds to achieve a great finish, it’s wise to plan carefully, research properly and consider taking out a home improvement loan to ensure all bases are covered.


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