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A new year brings new uncertainties for most people, but even with 12 new months on the horizon homeowners still have to think more long-term than the rest of us. After all, owning a property is not just about having a roof over your head; you also need to ask yourself how much your home might be worth in the future and whether it will still be able to meet your needs down the line.

Unfortunately, the current state of the property market has made it so that many homeowners cannot afford to simply move on to larger properties when the time comes. They may want more space or simply a newer home, but with property prices on the rise more and more of us are instead choosing to settle for building on what we already have.

In other words, the trick to navigating the UK property market is now: ‘Don’t move, improve!’

Improving the property that you have offers several advantages. Even if all you do is give a few rooms a fresh coat of paint it can still help your home to stand out in a competitive market, making it more likely to find interested buyers and potentially even boosting its overall value. Alternatively, you might simply want your home to better suit your requirements, such as having a garden for children to play in or smart technology.

The latest research from home improvement service marketplace Plentific.com looks at exactly what improvements homeowners are planning to spend money on in 2018 compared to 2017.

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What will homeowners be spending money on in 2018?

Interior decor will be one of the most popular areas for home improvements this year, with 19% of respondents claiming they would be investing more on it compared to 2017. This is certainly an important part of any home; it is no secret that a fresh coat of paint or roll of wallpaper can reinvent a room or even make it seem brand new.

The second highest scoring areas for increased investment were bedrooms and gardens with 17% each. Living rooms came in third with 16%, while kitchens and bathrooms reached joint-fourth with 15%. This is somewhat surprising, as kitchens and bathrooms tend to be two of the most important rooms in an average property for impressing potential buyers and renters. As such, they can be two of the most worthwhile areas to invest in.

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It seems that most respondents are planning to spend the same amount this year as they did in 2017. A whopping 63% plan to spend the same amount on smart appliances, though a paltry 9% claimed they would be spending more. Conservatories had similar results, with 62% of respondents saying they would spend the same amount, 5% saying they would spend more and 32% admitting they would be spending less. While this may not be surprising for conservatories, smart technology is usually seen as a worthwhile investment, simplifying home management and even helping homeowners to save money on their energy bills.

Homeowners were also consistent with their spending on lighting and gardens, with 61% saying they would spend the same amount on these areas as last year. Bathrooms came in fourth with 60%, while living rooms, bedrooms and interior decor each earned 59%.

When it came to spending less in 2018 than last year, you may not be surprised to hear that conservatories earned the highest score of 32%. Smart appliances and flooring also scored high among homeowners planning to spend less, each earning a score of 28%. Kitchens and lighting came in third at 27%, followed by living rooms with 26%.

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As a whole, it seems that gardens and interior decor will be the largest targets for investment in 2018. Nearly 80% of respondents said that they would be spending either the same amount or more on these parts of the home compared to 2017, even beating more potentially valuable rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Plentific spokesperson Stephen Jury said: “It’s no surprise that people want to improve their homes - it’s one of the most sought after perks of owning, after all! Still, with the market the way it is, homeowners need to think seriously about their reasons for investing in different parts of their property. Will the £1000 you spend on your bedroom add as much to your home’s value as it would it you invested it in the kitchen?

“If you need help deciding on the most beneficial ways to invest in your home, it can help to speak with a local estate agent who knows what people in your area are after. That being said, the most important thing is to make sure that whenever you invest in a major home improvement project you take the time to choose a top quality local Pro to carry out the work. Do this, and you are far more likely to reap the full benefits!”