How to pay for home improvements

Follow the steps below to make sure you get your house in order when paying for home improvements.

Set a budget and compare tradespeople

Why?

This will stop the cost of your renovations spiralling out of control by avoiding the ‘extras’ you hadn’t planned for.

How?

List all the things you want done – and ask for written quotes rather than estimates.

Make sure you get at least three quotes and compare them in detail, and try to find reviews from previous customers.

When you choose a tradesperson, make sure you get a written costed agreement. If they tell you they need to do work after the job has started, ask for a written estimate and another costed work schedule. Do this before agreeing to spend any more.

Decide on the best way to pay for your improvements

Why?

Taking the time to work out the full cost of any borrowing is a good way to make sure you can really afford it.

How?

As a rule of thumb, use savings instead of borrowing if you can.

Here are some tips:

Choose the right type of finance

Why?

Choosing the wrong way to pay for home improvements could be expensive.

It’s important to not take out debt that you can’t afford to pay back. And don’t forget that any application for a loan or credit card may have a negative effect on your credit score.

How?

Green Homes Grant Scheme

Until 31 March 2021, homeowners and landlords in England could apply for a financial voucher to make energy efficient home improvements under the Green Homes Grant scheme.

If you missed the deadline you can’t apply for a voucher. If you have a voucher then you must redeem it by the expiry date shown. This will be three months after the voucher is issued.

The voucher:

  • Covered two thirds of the cost of home energy efficiency saving work: up to a maximum of £5,000. This voucher was available to homeowners and landlords.
  • For eligible low income homeowners (this excludes landlords) where one household member claims a qualifying benefit, the full cost of home improvements could be covered up to a maximum of £10,000.
  • Your local authority will also be able to provide additional support if your household income is low. Contact them for more information.

Find out more by contacting the Green Homes Grant Scheme website

How do I redeem a Green Homes Grant voucher?

To find out what home improvements you might be able to make, take the government’s Simple Energy Advice questionnaire

The Simple Energy Advice website also has a search function to find tradespeople in your local area. Remember that lots of people will be using their Green Homes Grant so it might take longer than usual to get a quote from an accredited tradesperson.

It’s worth noting if you check your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) it should give you ways to improve your home efficiently and show how much difference it should make.

What help is available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

The Green Homes Grant is only available if you live in England. However, there is help available in other parts of the UK.

Scotland

The Warmer Homes Scheme can cover the costs of energy-saving improvements such as draught proofing or loft insulation.

To qualify, you must have owned or privately rented your home for at least a year – and you must be receiving certain benefits.

If you don’t qualify for the Warmer Homes Scheme, you might be able to apply for an interest-free loan instead to pay for the improvements.

Some local councils in Scotland also run their own schemes.

Wales

The Nest scheme offers free advice on ways you can make your home more energy efficient. If you qualify, you can also apply for free boilers or insulation.

Northern Ireland

If your boiler is inefficient and more than 15 years old, you might be able to get a grant of up to £1,000 to replace it. This is if your household income is less than £40,000 a year.

Do you own your home or rent it from a private landlord, and have a total household income of less than £20,000? Then you might be able to get grants of up to £7,500 to make improvements such as insulation, heating and window glazing.

Watch out for Green Homes Grant scams

If you get a phone call, email or text message out of the blue that claims you qualify for the Green Homes Grant, it might be a scam.

Don’t reply – and if it’s a phone call hang up immediately. Take the time to check the individual or company is genuine.

If you’re worried, you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or go to the Action Fraud website for advice.

With your permission, they’ll share anonymous details of the scam with the police.

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Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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