Three quarters of homeowners delay home improvement jobs

Three quarters of homeowners delay home improvement jobs

New research from find-a-tradesperson platform, Rated People, has revealed just how daunting homeowners find renovation projects.

  • 72% of homeowners have delayed a home improvement project once or on multiple occasions
  • Spiralling costs are the biggest worry (58%) for homeowners planning a home improvement project

Strikingly, homeowners find renovations so unnerving that almost three quarters (72%) have delayed a home improvement job, with all but half (47%) doing so on multiple occasions. There are a number of reasons as to why home renovations keep us up at night, but spiralling costs are seen to be the biggest worry (58%) playing into whether a project goes ahead.

A lack of knowledge and DIY skills is also a big contributor to our home improvement dreams falling by the wayside. 50% of homeowners stated that this was the reason they failed to pick up a hammer and screwdriver themselves.

Some renovations are more likely to make us break out in a cold sweat than others. Topping the list of these home renovations is a house extension (58%), closely followed by a loft conversion (50%), new kitchen (45) and bathroom installation (40%)[1]. 

However, while it can be a daunting challenge, sprucing up our homes can be a real source of pride and joy. 64% of respondents indicated they were extremely happy with the result of their renovation and there is no doubt that there has been a home improvement boom over the last year as national lockdowns led to people spending more time at home and nearly half of homeowners improving their homes.

Top 5 scariest home improvement projects, according to homeowners 


Home Improvement Project

Percentage of homeowners who deem the home improvement task extremely daunting and stressful


House Extension, e.g. side or back extension



Loft Extension



Kitchen Installation



Bathroom Installation


= 5.

Garage Conversion


= 5.

Solar Panel Installation


As spiralling costs are the biggest worry for homeowners, Rated People has teamed up with one of their home renovation specialists, Mateusz Zuraszek from Ziggy Construction, to provide top tips for keeping your improvement works on track –   

  1. Put the budget at the top of your wish list.
  2. Choose designers (this can be you) who understand costs – choosing a tradesperson who thinks in costs as well as design can help you understand what is possible within your budget, what costs you might have not considered and what extra features you might get if you can stretch just a little bit further.
  3. Keep budgeting throughout the project – keeping on track of your budget is paramount to a successful home improvement project. Work will often happen in stages and so ensuring you keep a close eye on costs and materials during each phase will help ensure that costs don’t spiral.
  4. Always add a contingency – there are always unforeseen costs on a building project, so we like to say allow 10% of your total budget as a contingency fund. This will mean that when unexpected costs crop up, you won’t be out of pocket. 
  5. Get definitive costs – a big home improvement project can require expertise from electricians, plumbers, plasterers etc. If you are consulting with a construction company, make sure all of the costs from each trade are included in the headline price.
  6. Be flexible to design – sometimes considering materials and design choices that you hadn’t previously can mean you get more for your money and even give your project that extra wow-factor. Always be sure to ask your tradesperson’s advice, they’re often more than willing to lend some pearls of wisdom.

Adrienne Minster, CEO of Rated People, comments:

“Getting an extension, or fitting a new bathroom or kitchen, is a great way to make a home that you’ve lived in for years feel brand new. But it can be a big undertaking in terms of money, time and energy so it’s understandable that it might be a scary prospect. This is where working with a skilled tradesperson can make all the difference. Tradespeople complete home improvement works day in, day out, so if you get them onboard at an early stage, they’ll be able to offer guidance about how to best approach your project. That can involve everything from how to keep costs down to what can be done to minimise any disruption.” 

For help planning improvement projects, visit the Rated People Homeowner Advice Centre

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