baby name otto

baby name otto

Until recently, I had little idea of how people afforded to make any changes to their homes.

I’d eagerly observe other people’s home improvements on Instagram or Facebook, assuming that they must have had to save a substantial amount or take out a second mortgage in order to afford that loft conversion or amazing new open plan kitchen extension.

Equity was a word I’d heard bandied about, similar to other financial words that I don’t quite get, but know are grown up things to know about (I’m one of those people who could’t tell you what a hedge fund is).

And then I bought a house. And subsequently sold that house a few years later. And suddenly, equity became pretty clear to me. It was the amount of ‘profit’ we had accrued in our house – a combination of mortgage repayments and an increase in property value over the time that we had lived there.

When we remortgaged, we had the option of transferring all that profit into our next house purchase. Or releasing some of that equity, giving us a lump sum ‘cash injection’ into our bank account. We did the latter, and used our equity to fund our house renovation and extension.

I’m taking part in the Saga Home Improvement campaign, to show how we added value to our home by releasing equity. Releasing equity for home improvements is something that over 61% of Saga customers have done.

Our new house hadn’t been updated at all since the 1960s. We put new electrics, heating, and plumbing all throughout our house.

We took down all the dated wallpaper and woodchip, and plastered throughout, giving it a sleek modern finish. We treated ourselves to an entire bathroom overhaul, decorating to our own tastes. We knocked through the wall separating dining room and kitchen. We built in a downstairs cloakroom.

And extended three metres into the garden – all of which created our huge dining / kitchen / family space.

This is, without a doubt, our favourite room in the house. It’s the hub of our home life. It’s incredibly light and airy, thanks to all the roof lights and the big bifold doors that we put in. And it’s made such a difference, being able to spend so much time together in one space, without feeling on top of each other all the time. I love our family room, and just a year in, and it’s already been the backdrop to many a happy family scene and occasion.

The money that we released in equity was a significant amount, enough to make significant changes to our house and the way we live in it. But whilst still being a manageable sum. One that won’t hurt our long term mortgage repayment prospects, one that will comfortably be ‘made up’ by increasing property values over the next few years.

Releasing equity  has given us options that I, quite honestly, didn’t know existed until recently. It’s changed the way I think about how people afford to create their dream homes. They are not necessarily ‘lucky’ or ‘ridiculously rich’. If you plan carefully, it’s something that is achievable for any home owner.

black wood floor


Have you released equity from your home? What did you use it for?



Saga are giving away tickets to the Ideal Home Show in Manchester! Simply follow this link to enter.


Thank you to Saga for partnering with Sorry About The Mess.


  1. I’d love to do this for our home to fund a loft conversion, however i have yet to find a company who will agree an equity release for under 55s, may i ask who you used?

    1. Because we were selling our house and buying another one, we released equity when we remortgaged and it was all sorted through the mortgage lenders if I remember correctly!

  2. We did the same as you although released the equity when we remortgages rather than when we bought the house. There is no way we would have been able to afford it otherwise! x

    1. Yes, we couldn’t have done this when we bought our first house either. But by the time we moved and remortgaged, our house had increased significantly in value so it was much more affordable for us to release equity at that stage.

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