Homeowners planning to use the coming bank holiday weekends to increase their chances of a good sale with a spot of home improvement could be wasting time and money - unless they are splashing out on making their home more energy efficient.
Clydesdale Bank's latest Housebuyers Survey has found one in three people (32%) looking to sell their home are planning some DIY before putting it on the market, keen to get the best possible price. But with TV makeover shows now emphasising the importance of 'standard of finish', one in four (25%) homeowners plan to hire a professional to do the work to avoid their handiwork potentially devaluing their property.
However, the Bank's research shows all this time and expense could be in vain. One in three buyers (33%) said they would completely redecorate as soon as they move into their new home to remove all trace of the previous owner's taste. And, irrespective of the colour of the walls, one in eight buyers (12%) said they would avoid a house which is not energy efficient. Among first-time buyers, this rises to one in five (19%).
Fred Sharp, head of third party distribution at Clydesdale Bank, said: "DIY can help present a house in the best possible light when you're trying to sell, but getting in the professionals is a wise move if you're not so handy in the decorating department yourself. Unless you play it safe with neutral colours and simple, stylish fittings, your hard work could go to waste - new owners want to make their own mark.
"An energy efficient home, whether it is motivated by concerns about global warming or the size of future heating bills, is moving higher up the wish-list. New kitchens and bathrooms can add value and keeping the colour schemes simple could help attract buyers as it creates a blank canvas. But practical improvements like cavity wall insulation rather than just cosmetic ones appear to be growing in appeal."
Currently, 12% of homeowners say they would consider improving the energy efficiency of their property before putting it on the market. With Home Information Packs - containing an energy efficiency certificate - due to be introduced from June 1, the importance of a good official energy efficiency rating for a home could become increasingly important to buyers.
Fred Sharp said: "With last week's Budget full of green messages, energy efficiency is increasingly becoming a significant consideration for homeowners. Considering installing double-glazing, cavity wall or loft insulation could well attract more buyers particularly if these methods of energy efficiency are stated as part of the Home Information Pack that all buyers will see.
"You're unlikely to see yourself recouping the costs of installing energy efficiency measures straight away through lower energy bills. But you could achieve a better price or a speedier sale when buyers realise they'll be the ones to save money in the long run thanks to your energy efficient home."
Investing in DIY
Clydesdale Bank's report also found one in seven people (14%) who are looking to do some DIY to their property would prefer to borrow money by re-mortgaging their property and releasing equity rather than taking out a personal loan.
More than two in three homeowners (70%) are also expecting the value of their home to continue to rise over the next 12 months.
Fred Sharp said: "Some DIY projects, like fitting new kitchens and bathrooms or installing double glazing, can be costly. The sensible option for many could be to spread the cost of these projects by releasing equity and adding it on to the total mortgage repayments. And as our research found that a large proportion of people expect the value of their property to rise over the coming 12 months, they could be looking to recover the costs for some home improvements now over the longer-term"