For a lot of households, there comes a time when your home becomes a bit of a squeeze. Maybe growing children are filling the house with their friends, toys and noise and making the rooms seem smaller than they used to be. Or perhaps a burgeoning business means a home office would be preferable to the kitchen table if only to keep butter off the paperwork.
So should you move somewhere bigger, or extend your house to make it large enough for you and your activities?
In some situations, the decision is, of course, made for you. If you live in a flat with no garden, there is little chance of making it bigger. But if you have a house with outside space or a loft with enough headroom, extending your property becomes a real possibility.
Whether it makes more sense to move or to extend depends on a number of different factors – the costs involved, your plans, how emotionally attached you are to your house, the area you live in and the type of house you have.
Maybe you need room for a home office, or the family is growing, and you need an extra bedroom, or perhaps you’re dreaming of a spacious kitchen dining room. In some cases, for example, if you live in a first floor flat and you want a garden, there is no alternative but to move. However, if your property offers the potential for an extension or has a loft, garage or cellar suitable for conversion, the decision won’t be as clear-cut. If you weigh up whether it’s better to sell up and move or extend and improve your current home, here are some key factors to consider:
Unlock Your Property’s Potential By Extending
With house prices have soared out of the reach of many, high stamp duty and a lack of suitable housing stock, we see a boom in house extensions as growing families seek more space. At a time when house prices are fairly static, building an extension makes good financial sense: figures from the BBC show that the number of house moves has fallen by half in the past decade as people extend their homes instead. Previously, homeowners were likely to move four times after their first house purchase, but a first-time buyer today is probably only going to move house no more than twice.
Your home is about so much more than the actual property: if you love the location, if you have great neighbours or your children are settled at a good local school, extending and improving your house is an attractive option. Suppose your home has a loft or cellar suitable for conversion or an outside space such as a side return with potential for an extension. In that case, a renovation project will not only provide you with more space. It also brings the bonus of adding value to your property: upgrading a two-bedroom house with a third bedroom will increase its selling price considerably. To help you work out how much a typical extension will cost on a property in your location, you can get a quick quote here. Planning for a new look for your house? Look no further! Home Builders is here to help in your dual occupancy builder Melbourne.
Increase The Value Of Your Property
Some extensions will add more value than others, so it pays to do the maths carefully. A loft conversion that provides you with another bedroom and bathroom will add up to 20% to the value of the property while adding another bedroom will add 10%. Today’s house buyers tend to expect a second bathroom as standard so that an additional bathroom will increase your property’s value by just 5%. One of the quickest ways to gain more space is to add a conservatory, according to estate agents Savills, a conservatory that complements the architecture of the house could see its value increase by around 10%.
Future Proof Your Extension
When planning an extension, think about its practicality and appeal to future purchasers. A three or four-bedroom house without the equivalent space downstairs will be harder to sell in the future. It’s also inadvisable to over-improve: you are unlikely to recoup the costs of upgrading a house by adding extra bedrooms if it’s located on a street of small two-bedroom properties. Other factors to take into consideration are whether you need planning permission and how likely this is to be granted. It will be more difficult to obtain permission for alterations to listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas. Finally, you should never underestimate the length of time necessary and general disruption associated with renovation projects. A conversion of your garage might cause minimal disruption to family life, but a basement or loft extension will have a considerable impact on your daily routine for several months. Kitchen and bathroom renovations can be particularly difficult as these areas will be out of bounds for days at a time.
The Pros And Cons Of Building An Extension
Extending your house could be an affordable way to add more space to your property. And with the new changes in planning legislation and specifically in the Permitted Development regulations since last year, you may be able to build, say, a large rear extension, providing you’ve got the space. And that’s not all, and you can now exercise your Permitted Development Rights and not have the need to apply for planning permission, in order to commence your building or renovation project. On the other hand, any building work can turn into a little nightmare, where the result is not exactly what you’ve expected. So, let’s have a look now at the pros and cons of extending your property.
Advantages Of Extending
For starters, more often than not, building an extension is more affordable than moving houses, which will involve selling up, placing a deposit on your new house, paying Stamp Duty in certain circumstances, and last but not least, allocating funds for the actual removal process. Add the fact that you could be buying possibly a more expensive property than your old one, and you get the picture.
The cost per sq. m. for a quality extension at the moment can be anything from £1,500 and £2,500, depending on whether you go for a single-storey or two-storey addition to your property. Of course, you’ve got some other expenditures, too, such as the architect’s fee (could reach £4,000), as well as the fees for a property survey, planning permission (if you need one), building regulation checks, etc. Many folks will remortgage their house in order to achieve their dream of adding an extension. As you’ll see further down, the cost of relocating from your legally owned property to a new one can be far higher than if you were extending.
Whether you are building a porch in your front garden (extension under Class D), or you’ve opted for a kitchen extension at the rear of your property (class A), you can achieve this without planning permission, providing your house is not located, say, in a Conservation Area, for instance.
Increased property value
This can apply especially if you live in a crowded city, where small properties with an added extension become attractive to potential buyers in an instance. There are also always some real estate investors on the lookout of getting the most out of their investment when it comes to turning the newly-purchased property into a long-term or short-term rental.
Adding more space without relocating
This is no brainer. Who wouldn’t want to have extra living space minus the long and stressful process of selling, buying and moving?
No need to make significant changes to your life
Unless this is what you’re after. But if you’re happy with where you are, then extending will save you from having to change schools for your kids, change jobs or adding daily travel time if you’re moving further from your workplace. Let’s not forget the possibility of parting with family and friends if your new home is going to be some significant distance away. Home Builders has the best range of dual occupancy builder services to help you create your dream house.
Drawbacks Of Extending
There are, of course, two sides of the same coin with everything and going down the road of extending your home is no exception. Here are some of the challenges you may get confronted with.
Well, suppose your permitted development rights are restricted for whatever reason. In that case, you’ll need to apply for planning permission to improve your living conditions and get that extra space for your family. Not only can the process of approval take up to 13 weeks, but the stress of dealing with paperwork and various planning and building regulation authorities can get to you to the extent of regretting your decision of extending in the first place.
Overestimated hopes for adding value to your property
Yep, you can spend heaps of money on extending your property, remortgage your house and so on, and still add nothing to its value, just because of “location, location, location” or due to an unexpected bottom-out in the housing market, as we see this happening right now.
Troubles with stubborn neighbours
Under the permitted development scheme, you will need to inform your neighbours of your extension plans, in most cases. They can come up with objections, although your local planning authorities will have the final say. Still, your neighbours can easily protract consciously or inadvertently your building project, so keep this in mind.
Of course, we are not saying that any building regulations and safety aspects will be compromised during the construction and extension process. However, you can still end up with a somewhat sub-standard addition to your property as an end result.
Coping with a building site of a house for months
Well, even if you prepare for this mentally, there is nothing like going through it for real. Imagine, building materials everywhere, noise and dust, strangers in your house – and all this, while trying to run a home, take care of the kids, work and so on.
These can arise naturally during the building process, regardless of the fact that you’ve been given a quote for the work and the materials. And that’s not all. You may feel like moving your brood, say, in an Airbnb flat for a few days as the construction work has become unbearable for you all.
The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Moving House
Moving to a bigger house can also be a viable option of gaining more living space, of course. And depending on where you intend to relocate and your situation, it could be more cost-effective for you than trying to build an extension. Post-lockdown in the UK, we see a surge in people looking to sell up and move, in the hope of improving their quality of life, escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city and expand their interior living space and recreational outdoors.
The Pros Of Relocating
The advantages of moving to a bigger house (in 2020) are dictated, in a way, by the global health crisis, we’ve been all living through for months. And although the housing market is heading for uncertainty, for some sellers and buyers, there could be a window of opportunity to make that important move smooth with a bit of luck. For instance, you can leave the overcrowded capital city and move to picturesque Canterbury, which is not only still close by if you need to commute but also the larger properties there are much more affordable in comparison. You can get a 3-bedroom semi-detached house for under £300,000 in the cathedral city, whereas an average asking price for a similar property in London is around £630,000.
Financially more viable
This is, of course, very subjective, and it will depend on your property situation. An extension can easily burn a hole in your pocket or tie you to some stressful monthly payments if you remortgage your house. In contrast, if you move to a cheaper location, this can prove more cost-effective for you or even help you make a profit. Also, first-time buyers (say, your son is ready to leave the nest) are often eligible for first-buyer relief.
No stressful building work
We doubt very much that turning your place into a building site for months is your dream idea of how to expand your living space. On that note, if you play your cards right, do your research and choose your new home and location wisely, you can sell, buy and move into the ideal property and this way, avoid the experience of dealing with builders and renovators.
There have been quite a few relocation hotspots registered recently in the country, with regards to the increased interest of homeowners who want to improve their quality of life. By moving, post lockdown, to a nice suburb or town with cheaper properties, say, near London, folks aim to get that peace and quiet, as well as provide a safer environment for their children. After all, we all got used to the new normal of working from home, (if the job allows it), so why not enjoy a better work-life balance in a bigger house with a larger garden further away from the city?
The Disadvantages Of Moving
The biggest drawback of moving is mainly related to cost and time. Again, this is strictly individual, so we cannot generalise too much here. In short, you may have to budget for a housing deposit (if you’re buying a more expensive property), survey fees, conveyancing fees, (in some cases, pay stamp duty), estate agent fees and removals expenses. Timewise, especially if you’re selling up first, the process of going through viewings, signing up a deal, buying and moving may take a while. In other words, you’ll need to plan well, pick a good estate agent and hope for the best. Here are a few more disadvantages of making such a big step in your life.
Parting with friends and extended family
This will, of course, apply if you move further away and across counties to start a new life with your family. Plenty of Londoners are looking into moving to Cornwall or Devon, by the sea, these days, which will be a significant change for you if you’re considering making a similar decision.
Allowing time for packing and moving
Packing your possessions and moving can also add to the stress. So, it’s best to organise your relocation well in advance, take the advice of professionals on how to pack your kitchen appliances, furniture and personal belongings, as well as do your homework when picking a reputable removals company to help you in the process.
The risk of not adapting well and missing your “old life”
Yes, there’s no way of knowing how well you and your family will adjust to your new life in a location that you’re not so familiar with. Imagine, your children having to deal with adapting to their new school, the strange neighbours you’ll have to get used to, the lack of certain shops or takeaways that you’ve been going for years and now miss… Our best advice is to learn to embrace the positive and see the move as a new adventure.
Should You Extend Or Move?
How much does an extension cost?
This decision is usually quite personal and depends on your particular circumstances. Some people find it more convenient to move into a new house, while others would rather not move. Here are some reasons why you should consider home extension:
You don’t have to move
Moving is a long, harrowing process that involves placing your current home on the market, looking for a new home, looking for financial assistance, making arrangements for school transfer, utility transfer, arranging for the physical move, etc.
The entire process can be quite stressful. You don’t need to endure so much trouble if you choose an extension because you won’t have to change your property. You can get financial assistance to add a new room and remodel your existing home.
You can modify your property according to your preferences
With a new home, you’ll have to settle for the existing design and adjust accordingly. However, if you choose an extension, you can easily create a design that appeals to you personally and add it to your home.
For example, you can choose the size of the room, bathrooms, the design, the material and other such factors. You don’t need to settle for the closest match to your preferences.
It’s more affordable
In most cases, an extension is more affordable than a move, particularly when you take into account real estate fees and stamp duty. If you have equity on your home, consider refinancing your mortgage to finance the extension. Finding the right duplex build is an important decision. Check out our range of the best home design constructions at Home Builders.
You could tailor your extension according to your preferences and budget. You might get more value for money if you invest in extension and a remodel as well.
Most homeowners are emotionally attached to their home and don’t want to move unless they have to. If you choose an extension, you won’t have to move and can easily modify your current home to suit your needs. There’s no need to force yourself to leave.
As you can see, an extension has several advantages. There are some advantages of moving as well, especially if you’re not particularly attached to your home or neighbourhood.
One thing is certain: the option of extending rather than moving to a bigger property is one which homeowners need to take seriously, particularly at a time of static house prices.
So, find a good architect, use your imagination, do your sums – and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results. You might have bought yourself some extra time in the property you love, too.