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How to make a house a home

There is no place like home

Since the first lockdown in March 2020, we have spent more and more time at home, working, exercising and socialising via Zoom.

All the extra time at home, made people realise that there might be more they need from the place they call home, sparking a rise in home improvements and building works across the country.

Some had decided that the place they live in was not the right property and decided to move, tempted by the stamp duty holidays. Some just decided that decorating and gardening is the way forward.

Buying a home

After buying a new home you want to put your stamp on things. You will most likely have a wishlist as long as your arm but limited finances to complete everything. If you are a keen DIYer you might be happy to roll up your sleeves and spend evenings and weekends to do up as much as you can yourself. If you don’t have time or skills, you might want to hire someone to do the job for you.

Get back to basic

Moving to a new home might bring some surprises. Unless it is a new build property, you might need to first do a deep clean. So before you unpack, spend few days properly cleaning your home. You might notice wear and tear that you previously didn’t see. Spend some time to give it a fresh lick of paint to remove smells and dirt.

Give things a facelift

If your kitchen or bathroom is a bit outdated, try to give it a facelift. Replacing it straight away might be expensive but with a bit of imagination, you can transform it on a budget. Sand and paint the cupboards door, change the handles or knobs, add some stick-on tiles. Little extra work can make all the difference.

Restore original features

Original features are incredibly desirable so restoring them to their former glory can be a huge selling point. The previous owners of your home may have covered up some original detail and uncovering this character could add both interest and value. But sometimes it is too damaged or does not serve the purpose so use your judgment if it’s worth it.

Look outside

Do you have a garden or balcony? Even the smallest space can be inviting and add character to your home. Outside log cabin for the gym or office? Hot tub or outdoor sofa and heater? Get some inspiration from Pinterest or Instagram to design the place you want to spend time and unwind.

Protecting your new home

When you move in, remember that most lenders require home insurance as a condition for your mortgage. Make sure the policy you arrange protects every aspect of your home. Building insurance will cover the property itself, in the case of fire, flood, storm or other damage. You can usually add cover for accidental damage, such as drilling into a pipe, or putting your foot through a ceiling while in the loft.

Improving

If you decided to improve rather than move, it can be challenging to stick to the budget. Keep a spreadsheet to record the estimated and actual cost. If you go over the budget in one place, see where can you spend less.

Planning permission

Check out our blog post on the things you can do without planning permission. If you need planning permission, speak to the specialist company first or you risk significant fines or your whole project being demolished.

Do your research on contractors

It is good to ask for recommendations first. You can ask your neighbours, colleagues or your local Facebook group. There is nothing worse than getting the contractors in to botch the job. Always have a contract in place with the details of the job, what exactly you expect them to do and in what timeframe. It is good to try to negotiate the price for the whole project rather than a daily rate as those jobs tend to last longer than anticipated!

Keep your insurer up to date

At this point, you should have all the building and content insurance in place. If you make major changes, make sure you inform your home insurer as the policy might not cover the additional work. Doing a loft conversion or house extension can increase the value of your home so make sure the policy covers the work done. Extensive building work can also create accidental damage so make sure that the insurer is aware of the works.

How much insurance cover do I need?

The amount of cover will depend on your need. Talk to us and we will analyse your circumstances and help you decide on the right amount. It is important to take into consideration the following:

  • The reinstatement value of your home, have you extended your property?
  • The valuables you own, including TV, furniture, sports equipment, clothes
  • The value of the fittings and fixtures – a new kitchen can be more expensive to replace
  • Have you got a new extension with expensive windows?

Once you have a policy in place, it is a good practice to review your insurance needs every time you make changes to your home. We can schedule an annual review with you and remind you to speak to an adviser to check if your cover is sufficient.

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