First-time buyer, 33, who had no DIY experience reveals how she renovated her run-down property in just four weeks on a £5,000 budget – adding up to £20,000 in value
- Lisa Allison, 33, overhauled her home in Blidworth, Nottinghamshire in four weeks
- She bought budget decorations online and hired a professional to fit her kitchen, costing £1,500
- Digital content specialist said renovations added £15,000 to £20,000 to value to the property
A first-time homeowner who had no experience in DIY has unveiled a stunning makeover of her entire house that she completed within just four weeks.
Lisa Allison, 33, challenged herself to overhaul her rundown two-bedroom property in Blidworth, Nottinghamshire on a modest £5,000 budget after purchasing it for £113,000.
The media and digital content specialist bought the property in October 2020 and turned it around within a month. Not only did she smash her goal, but she tripled her £5,000 investment, with the house now valued at around £15-20,000 more than what she bought it for.
‘I bought my home for a good price due to all the work it needed, so I knew that by doing it up I would add some value, but I was surprised by how much,’ Lisa told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.
Lisa Allison, 33, overhauled her run-down property in Blidworth, Nottinghamshire on a modest £5,000 budget. Pictured: The bedroom, after
Having purchased the property in October 2020, Lisa said her 4 weeks spent renovating her home increased its value by around £15,000 -£20,000. Pictured: The bedroom, before
The budget breakdown
Here’s what Lisa allocated to each room upgrade (include the cost of new radiators, sockets, lights, blinds and decorations where appropriate)…
- Bathroom, £150
- Living room, £250
- Master bedroom, £130
- Spare room, £100
- Landing, £80
- Garden, £300
- New front door and decorative accents such as mirrors, • prints and shelves, £890
- Tradespeople including plumbers and plasterers (not including kitchen fitting), £700
- Flooring and fittings (minus the bathroom), £1,000
- New kitchen (including fitting), £1,500
- TOTAL: £5,000
‘I thought that I may just cover my costs, but an estate agent has informed me that the renovations have added around £15 to £20,000 to the property’s value.
‘I’m over the moon with the result. It means that down the line, when I do sell up, I will have that extra money, my deposit and any equity I have built up in the home as my reward.’
Lisa said when she was searching for houses in September 2020 the idea to renovate a property hadn’t even crossed her mind.
She said: ‘I’d been saving for a house for a long time and while I was in no hurry to buy, I was on the lookout for properties.
‘I didn’t mind a bit of painting, but I certainly wasn’t looking for a whole house renovation.
Then, this house popped up in the perfect area and for a great price. I saw it the day it went on sale, immediately put in an offer and after viewing the home another three times my offer was accepted.
Lisa’s excitement soon turned to nerves when she came to terms with the amount of work that would be involved to make the property suitable to live.
‘It wasn’t a house you could just move into,’ she said.
‘I knew it would take a lot of work, but I had fallen in love with the property and started thinking about all the things I could do to turn it into a home.
‘I thought it would be easy, but I was so wrong. I don’t regret it though.’
Lisa said she put in an offer for the house the day it went on sale and had three viewings before being accepted. Pictured: The garden, after
Lisa admits she was nervous about the amount of work that would be involved in making the house suitable to live. Pictured: The garden, before
Lisa said she thought renovating the house would be easy, but it wasn’t. Pictured: The kitchen, before
Lisa revealed she set herself a target to finish renovations in four weeks, but could only take two weeks’ leave from work. Pictured: The kitchen, after being renovated at a cost of £1,500
Lisa (pictured) who is ‘over the moon’ with the results, said renovating a property hadn’t crossed her mind when she began looking for houses in September
Lisa looked at colour schemes as a starting point.
She continued: ‘Originally, I wanted to use grey with ochre or mustard, but I soon fell in love with rose gold accents. Yellows don’t blend with rose gold, however, so I was stuck for a way to move forward.
‘The turning point was when I popped into Homesense for some kitchen inspiration and spotted some stunning scallop shaped blush pink breakfast bar chairs. Even though I’m not usually a fan of pink, I bought them there and then and that’s how the pink, grey, rose gold theme was set.’
Lisa decided to carry on the theme throughout the whole house.
‘I needed to get the whole house turned around in four weeks to get it ready in time for Christmas, but I could only take two weeks’ leave from my job, so most of the work happened then,’ she said.
‘I wanted to do as much of it as possible myself in order to keep down costs.’
For the first two weeks of the project, Lisa could only work at weekends.
‘On the first weekend I knocked down the dividing kitchen wall and ripped out the kitchen,’ she said.
‘The plasterer came to do the kitchen not long after. The second weekend was spent taking all the rubbish to the tip, ripping up the flooring, and removing the radiators.’
Lisa’s two weeks off work were used to finish the new kitchen and decorate all the different spaces throughout the house: the master bedroom, the living room, kitchen, dressing room/office, conservatory, and garden.
Most days, she was working from 7am to 10pm, which Lisa says was tough at times, but she was determined to stick to the plan.
Lisa spent her first weekend knocking down the dividing kitchen wall and had a plasterer come not long after. Pictured: The living room, before
Lisa said she shopped around for tradespeople, before settling on a recommendation who could do all the necessary work for a good price: The living room, after
Calling in the professionals and the cost of the new kitchen ate up most of her budget.
‘I shopped around for tradespeople and, in the end, I went with a recommendation from a friend who could do the jobs I needed for a good price,’ she said.
‘They fitted the kitchen, but I helped with certain parts, such as building the cabinets, which saved me around £400. I also paid professionals to fit new radiators, do the plastering and fit some flooring.’
A friend helped Lisa with the painting while her dad helped with some trickier jobs, such as replacing the electrical sockets.
All the items were found cheaply online, or bought in the sales where possible. Lisa tackled the tiling herself and fitted lino flooring in the kitchen and bathroom.
‘I also changed the shower door and the sanitary ware in the bathroom, which was my first time using a drill,’ she said.
Lisa bought a secondhand fireplace from Facebook Marketplace and new light fittings, painting them to match her colour scheme. Pictured: Living room, after
‘I bought a cheap secondhand fireplace from Facebook Marketplace for the living room and painted it grey to match the colour scheme. I also added all the new light fittings, filled any holes and cracks in the ceilings and walls, sanded and painted them, and did all the wallpapering and glossing.’
Speaking about the main rooms, Lisa said: ‘The kitchen was such a wreck.
‘It was falling to pieces so I knew I needed to replace it immediately. Plus, I wanted to knock down the wall to create more space that flowed through to the floating breakfast bar.’
Once the wall came down, Lisa removed the wall tiles and ripped out the cabinets. She also removed a radiator to make way for more cabinet and worktop space. She then took up the floor and Ievelled it with cement before putting lino down.
Lisa was keen to recreate a grey and marble kitchen she’d seen on Pinterest and found a similar design in B&Q for £1k, which she had a discount code for through her work’s perks scheme.
‘The room is an odd size and shape, so buying cabinets secondhand wasn’t an option, but I kept the cost down by opting for a streamlined layout, choosing just nine units with clever internal storage. I also picked a laminate worktop over granite or marble.
Lisa revealed her colour scheme was influenced by designs she had seen on Pinterest. Pictured: The office, before
Lisa said the cost of fittings would’ve cost double if she hadn’t helped to build the cabinets herself. Pictured: The office, after
‘The fitting costs came in at around £500, but would have been around double that if I didn’t help out and build the cabinets myself. I also finished off the little bits of the kitchen like doing the silicone, finishing the splashback and kickboards to keep the cost down.
‘My favourite part of the kitchen is the breakfast bar. I’m so happy with the marble and rose gold design teamed with the pink chairs.
She continued: ‘I knew a brand new bathroom suite would be way out of my budget so I had to think about how I could make it all look new on a budget.
‘The bath, sink and toilet came with the house, but I changed the bath panel for a new one. I also bought a new, mirrored shower door to replace the curtain – it helps the bathroom look bigger.
‘I bought a new cheap wall unit and an under-the-sink cabinet from B&M, and got a great deal on a grey designer style radiator for the bathroom. All the sanitary ware was changed, too.
‘The best bit is the flooring. It cost me £30 for the lino and I fitted it myself. It was fiddly but totally worth it. There were also tiles going around the middle of the room that had been badly painted with white paint, so I repainted them properly with grey tile paint. I used a grout pen to freshen up the grout and replaced all the silicone.’
Lisa revealed the garden was equally important to her renovations, saying: ‘I love spending time in the garden and knew I needed a good decking area to unwind on. I like having BBQs, so I wanted an entertaining space – even though I’m yet to host due to the pandemic.’
Lisa extended the existing wooden decking area with the help of her dad and was gifted a secondhand wooden dining table and chairs by her parents.
‘They were green and brown and looked awful when I got them, but I gave them a lick of paint with Cuprinol Garden Shades, which is especially for outdoor furniture. The rattan sofa was secondhand from Facebook Marketplace, the rug was cheap from Aldi and the egg chair was the most expensive item at £150 from B&M.’
Lisa said she managed to complete renovations without splurging her entire £5,000 budget. Pictured: Bathroom, before
Lisa advised others who want to renovate on a budget to upcycle where possible and purchase secondhand. Pictured: The bathroom, after
The shed, also donated for free, was painted in a pink shade of Cuprinol. all the fence panels were repainted too, and Lisa built some raised sleeper beds in the garden to fill with plants.
‘The screens on the fence are from Screen With Envy, which I got in the sale,’ she said. ‘I have loved them for years and couldn’t wait to get them in my garden.’
‘I had a £5k budget but I managed to come in under that, so I used the extra to pay for a new front door. Sometimes, I can’t believe that this is my house and that I put all the work in to create my perfect first home. I feel so proud – especially as most of the upgrades were done in two weeks.
‘When my dad saw the house before I bought it, he said it was a wreck that would take too much work, but I already had a vision of how it could look. Some days were hard and I would just sit on the floor and cry, thinking I wouldn’t get it finished, but the work was well worth it.
‘I used to look at the amazing homes on Instagram and think I would never have that, but I love my home so much. I’ve had so many compliments from friends and family, and even strangers who’ve commented on photos I have posted on social media. I’m waiting to have more people over after the pandemic so that I can show them all the hard work I’ve done.’
Sharing her advice, Lisa said: ‘Do as much yourself as possible. I knew I could decorate, but I never thought I’d be able to tile, lay floors, remove radiators, take down walls and change sockets. There are so many tutorials online that you can teach yourself anything.
‘Look on secondhand selling sites such as Facebook Marketplace for cheap or free items and try to upcycle where possible.
‘Buy items you know you want when you see them on sale. I bought my wallpaper when it was reduced and hung onto it for two months until I was ready to use it.
‘When it comes to hiring tradespeople, try and find a friend of a friend who can do you a good deal, or someone who has been recommended. Cheapest isn’t always best so go with your gut feeling when deciding who to work with. Also, don’t be afraid to ask if they will drop the price if you assist them. This is how I saved £500 on fitting my kitchen.’
Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk added: ‘Lisa’s £5,000 home reno has netted her a fantastic £15,000 profit in the space of a few months.
‘It goes to show that you can achieve anything on a budget when you put your mind to it.
‘Her resolve to do as much of the work as possible and to shop around for the best deals has been crucial to staying on budget and her efforts have been well worth it.’
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