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Buying your first home - is ‘doing up’ worth the saving?

When buying their first home, more and more people decide to go for a home which they can work on and improve to fit their needs: but is it worth the saving?

6 min read

Buying your first home is a huge milestone to reach but the road to getting there is rarely straightforward or easy to navigate. It’s no secret that house prices have hiked up in recent years and people are generally struggling to foot the bill for a first abode independently.

Whether you’re relying on inheritance, counting the pennies or working your socks off to save, it can still be a huge amount of money to store away. Which is why a number of people buy a property with potential to be their dream home, rather than the finished product. In this article, we’ll question whether, when it comes to investing in your first home, ‘doing it up’ is worth the saving?

To do or not ‘do up’?

According to real estate company Zoopla, buying a home that requires work done is a great investment – as long as you can handle the more tricky aspects of renovation. So, what exactly are the pros and cons of spending on a fixer-upper for your first home.


Save to spend

One of the most significant benefits of doing up a dated or run-down property is that you’ll likely be faced with less competition on the market and the price will be lower than snapping up a more recently refurbished home. The amount that you save through seeking out properties that need some work done to them can be directly funneled into carrying out your own works. And, executed properly, it often works out cheaper overall.

Making it your own

If you’re buying your first home with a view for it to be your forever home, a place that requires building and design work is intrinsically a selling point. Unless you come across a beautifully curated home that hits your personal taste on the head, that’s also within your budget, expect to have to invest some energy, time and money into making it ‘you’. We recently conducted a survey that found how ‘you’ your home feels is indicative of how happy you are at home. 70% of those who said their homes most reflected who they were said their homes made them feel proud while only 13% of people who disagreed said their homes made them feel proud. That’s a huge drop and it goes a long way towards demonstrating just how important it is that your individuality is reflected in your home.

For some top tips for how to stray from the pack and find your own interior design path, read our article on ditching the trends.

Do up your first home


Time and disruption

Fixer uppers are no walk in the park. If you’re looking for a blissful transition into your first owned home, the renovation route might not be for you. Depending on the extent of the work that needs completing on your property, you’re looking at at least a degree of disruption.

Expect plenty of noise, dust, delays (sometimes they just can’t be helped!) and getting very familiar with your contractors. If this sounds like something you can handle or grin and bear for the sake of a sleek renovation, go forth! For more insight into what it’s really like to live and work at home during a renovation, take a look at our article on navigating the process.


While we touched above on the potential savings that come with investing in a fixer upper property, the bottom line is that buying a home is hugely expensive. From admin fees to moving costs and necessary fixes, the tally soon stacks up and can be a real stretch on personal finances. Budgeting will be central to how you proceed to make sure your works are within your reach. Our in-house experts have the experience and insight to advise you on realistic costs so, if you’re considering construction, book a free consultation today.

Budgeting for doing up your first home

How to best invest

If you’ve saved money buying a property that requires work and have managed to tuck some savings away, you could be eligible for a big renovation project. But it can be tricky to know which works will have the biggest impact in terms of adding value and improving your day-to-day. Here are some insights into which projects could be the most transformative for you and your household.

Kitchen is king

We recently surveyed people from all over the UK to get a sense of what’s most important to all of us when it comes to our homes. When asked which room in the home people would be most inclined to spend on if they were given £10k, most people would choose their kitchens. On top of this, we also found that three quarters of people who didn’t have open-plan layouts were focused on improving their kitchens. This suggests that open-plan kitchens in particular are highly coveted and could be a huge asset to homes if you’re looking to maximise the space or add value. There are a few ways to achieve an open-plan kitchen layout depending on your budget and the type of property you have. For example, if you have a Victorian terrace with an unused alleyway to its side, a side extension could be a great way of increasing your space and creating room for you to alter your kitchen layout.

Properties without dead space to their side could be candidates for a rear extension. This is when the home is built into some of the garden space to increase the area inside the property. And for lucky owners of homes with available space to both the side and rear could be suitable for wraparound extensions – this type of work makes a huge impact on the space and feel of a room. Opting for it could dramatically open up your kitchen layout.

To find out how much one of these extensions could cost you, try our Quick Quote Calculator.

Improving your kitchen after buying your first home © Matt Gamble

Lofty plans

According to Estate Agent extraordinaires, Zoopla, one of the best ways to boost the value of your home is to invest in a loft conversion. Their research suggests that creating a room out of unused attic space could hike the price of your property up by around 15%. So, if you have the funds, converting your loft could be a sensible investment. And, of course, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to add an extra bedroom, office space or bathroom to your home. Want to learn more? Read our ultimate guide to loft conversions to get an insight into the process, costs and timelines involved.

Adding value to your home with a loft conversion

Revamp that garage

When you’re looking for a property with potential to renovate, look out for garages. Transforming this often overlooked and underused part of your home is a fantastic way of creating more room for you and adding value. Garage conversions are among one of the cheaper types of home renovation so they could be suitable for those with a more strict budget. In recent years, garage conversions have become increasingly popular and it’s suggested by Zoopla that this could be reflective of more people working from home and looking for innovative ways to create office space. A more hybrid approach to working looks set to stick around so adding this onto your home could serve you and any potential future owner very well. To find out more about which types of extensions are suitable for different types of properties, and to get an idea of what may be possible for the future of your first home, don’t hesitate to book a free consultation with one of our experts.

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