While home owners in the South West are letting their minds run riot with new kitchens, bathrooms and extensions top the home improvement wish list – many people don't have the first idea how to tackle the project or how much it will cost. So says a recent study from VELUX who are urging home owners to consider the financial consequences before heading to the DIY shop.

New research by VELUX shows that despite almost one quarter (25 per cent) of homeowners in London planning to carry out work to their home next year, almost a third (33 per cent) have not costed the project and 76 per cent admit they do not know how they will pay for it.

Low interest rates and soaring house prices have made borrowing to renovate seem more attractive than moving, but research shows that many people don’t properly plan ahead.

Only 10 per cent of people have spoken to an architect about their renovation plans and three quarters have not yet received a competitive building quote.

The festive period is traditionally the season when homeowners start to think about home improvements and making those essential repairs. It is therefore not surprising that almost a quarter of homeowners (22 per cent) are hoping to start work in the first quarter of the year.

The majority (51 per cent) are planning to paint and decorate, but a high proportion of homeowners hope to carry out major renovations with new kitchens (30 per cent), bathrooms (24 per cent), extensions (19 per cent) and new windows (8 per cent) topping the home improvements wish list.

Grant Sneddon, product manager from VELUX, said: “It’s the time of year when many families start sketching their plans to transform their homes, which can be anything from small projects such as replacing windows to renovating a kitchen or building a large-scale extension.

“What our comprehensive research underlines is that an increasing number of homeowners in the South West are turning to renovations to improve their existing homes rather than move house. This is a great idea as upsizing to a bigger property isn’t easy in today’s climate and tackling a renovation can be a great way to create a unique home.

“Whatever the project, it’s absolutely crucial to bring in a good professional as early as possible. Not only will they steer your project from start to finish, and work within your budget to help you get the space you want, but they’ll also come up with ideas that you might not have considered. One of those considerations which should always come into play at an early stage is the importance of natural daylight in bringing your project to life.”

VELUX wants to help make your projects a little easier with these top tips.

1. Work out your budget

Sounds obvious, but it is vital to look at all aspects of your project and work out how much you have to spend. You should allow a 15% contingency to cover any surprises.

2. Find professional help

Ask friends and family for a recommendation of an architect or builder - you should then check to see whether they have past experience with home extension projects.

3. Planning permission

Ensure you understand the relevant planning rules that apply to your area.

4. Building regulations

You might need to submit drawings to your local Building Control Department to ensure your extension meets building regulations and that it is safe and legal. If you are making any major structural changes to your property, like knocking down a wall, then you may also need to undertake a structural survey.

5. Set a time frame

This will help you manage your expectations and, more importantly, your budget. It will also help the professionals you are dealing with.

For more information or inspiration on how to create your dream home, visit www.velux.co.uk