Home Improvements, Tradesmen, and Getting a Loan

Michelle Tuvey Michelle Tuvey | Loan Underwriter

It should be no surprise that UK homeowners have been more likely to look into home improvements than move up the property ladder since the June 23rd (2016) Brexit referendum. That much was expected regardless of how the vote turned out. But something else has happened in the interim, something that is surprising a lot of experts: property owners seriously looking at home improvements are holding back out of reluctance to hire a tradesman.

As experts in the secured loan arena, we have known for a long time that getting a secured loan is a source of anxiety for property owners who want to make improvements. We never realised that hiring tradesmen was also an issue. In this post, we will deal with both issues and hopefully put some of our readers' minds at ease. Let us start by talking about tradesmen.

High-Quality Work Demanded

A recent survey from Plentific.com, designed to gauge consumer perceptions of home improvement related topics, revealed some surprising statistics about property owners and tradesmen. Roughly 87% of the homeowners surveyed said they fear hiring a tradesman to complete home improvements for them. When that statistic is extrapolated and applied across the UK, Plentific.com suggests as many as 13 million property owners are reluctant to hire tradesman despite having projects that need to be done.

Among the most often mentioned reasons for this reluctance is a fear of not being able to find a tradesman who will complete the job to their satisfaction. Some 51% of the respondents said that they have very high standards they expect to be met. They wondered if a tradesman could meet those standards.

It's interesting to note that 59% were not sure they could even find a tradesman to do the work while 19% of the respondents were afraid that their jobs would not be completed on schedule.

While these are all valid concerns in the arena of home improvements, there are certain remedies. For example, property owners can contact industry trade groups and ask for the names and contact information of recommended contractors. There are a modest number of comparison and review websites that can help as well. And finally, property owners should never underestimate the power of references. Asking for references and then following up on them goes a long way toward weeding out undesirables.

Getting a Good Secured Loan

The other source of anxiety for property owners is related to getting a good deal on a secured loan. Home improvements are expensive, and property owners are afraid that the only loans they will be able to get will be too expensive to make home improvements worthwhile.

Again, this is a valid concern. But with the number of lenders available, getting a good deal on a secured loan is not as hard as it sounds. Property owners can start with a reputable comparison site and go from there. Comparison sites provide a lot of good introductory information including APRs, LTVs, and so on.

Like finding a good tradesman, customer reviews are very helpful for secured loans. People are more than happy to share their opinions based on their experiences, both online and in person. So property owners can check review sites as well as asking their friends and relatives about their loan experiences.

If you are thinking about doing home improvements yourself, don't let anxieties about tradesmen and secured loans prevent you from doing what you want to do. Invest the time in researching your options and you should be able to find both a tradesman and secured loan you'll be happy with.


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