How to pay for home improvements

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

Compare tradespeople and set a budget

Why?

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

How?

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

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

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 ensure you can really afford it.

How?

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

Choose the right type of finance

Why?

Choosing the wrong way to pay for home improvements can prove costly, but choose the right type and you could find yourself with an interest-free loan or credit card.

How?

Apply for the Green Homes Grant

From September 2020, homeowners and landlords in England can apply for a financial voucher to make energy efficient home improvements under the Green Homes Grant scheme.

The improvements will help you save money on your energy bills.

As part of the grant:

  • The government will provide a voucher that covers two thirds of the cost of home energy efficiency saving work: up to a maximum of £5,000. This voucher is 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 can 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.
  • The voucher must be redeemed and improvements completed by 31 March 2022

How do I apply for the Green Homes Grant?

Before applying you should check:

  • If you’re eligible for a voucher
  • What energy efficient improvements are suitable for your home
  • Of those improvements, which ones would you like and how much they’ll roughly cost
  • If you can get quotes from accredited tradespeople to carry out the work
To check your eligibility and 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 apply for the 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 how much difference it should make.

If you don’t know if you have an EPC or can’t find it, you can register on the EPC website and look up your property’s EPC.

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

Unfortunately 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 be eligible you must have owned or privately rented your home for at least a year and must be receiving certain benefits. To find out more and apply see the Warmer Homes Scotland website.

If you’re not eligible for the Warmer Homes Scheme, you might be able to apply for an interest-free loan instead to pay for the improvements. To find out more and apply, see the Home Energy Loan Scotland scheme website.

Some local authorities in Scotland also run their own schemes. To find out more visit the Energy Saving Trust website.

Wales

The Nest scheme offers free advice on ways you can make your home more energy efficient. If you’re eligible, you can also apply for free boilers or insulation. To find out more and apply visit the Nest website.

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, if your household income is less than £40,000 a year. Find out more and apply from the Boiler Replacement Scheme website.

If you own your home or rent it from a private landlord and have a total household income of less than £20,000, you may be able to get grants of up to £7,500 to make improvements such as insulation, heating and window glazing. Find out more and apply at the Affordable Warmth Scheme website.

Watch out for Green Homes Grant scams

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

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

If you’re worried you can contact Action Fraudopens in new window by phone (0300 123 2040) or online for advice. With your permission it will share anonymous details of the scam with the police.

For more help spotting scams, see our guide to the types of scam to look out for.

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