House extensions offer a brilliant solution to households that are a little stuck for space. Whether you’re not quite ready to move house altogether but need more room to get you through the next few years, or if you want to turn your house into your forever home by maxing out its potential, you’re in the right place for advice on where to start and for inspiring house extension ideas too.
What’s great about a house extension is that it comes with options. Whether you’re considering an orangery or a simple rear home extension to keep costs down, there is a multitude of routes to take to help achieve your desired result and to make the best use of your budget too. Whether you are on a tight budget or not, look at our advice piece on extending a house for a complete guide to budgeting, planning and designing your house extension. And, keep scrolling to see what you could achieve in your home, by specific price bracket if you wish.
Tips on How to Extend Your House Cheaply on a Budget
Simplicity Saves Money
Not every complicated detail is vitally important to implement into your house extension design. Keeping it simple is the way to go, and it doesn’t mean the finished project will be boring just because you built it smartly and saved money. Elaborate, dream room additions seem impressive, but you can get a lot of extra room on a budget when you keep your extension designs plan. Simplicity is just beauty without chaos and clutter. Some may even call it minimalism, which is a popular way of life.
Focusing on simple designs does not mean you have to forfeit style. It merely means you will stretch your home extension designs budget to its maximum potential so you can focus on the interior design elements without worrying about going over budget. At Home Builders, we have the best dual occupancy selection to make your house a dream come true.
For instance, a square house extension design with a simple pitched roof is the least expensive way to go instead of designing custom angles or curves or adding unnecessary building and design components. Also, choose construction materials that are available and do not require special orders. You can often still get the look you want without spending a fortune. For instance, if you’re enjoying the look of dormer windows on a loft extension, opt for roof lights instead. For kitchen extensions, you can open up an exterior wall with a bi-fold door that will bring in a lot of natural lighting and fold up out of the way when you want to extend your indoor kitchen, eating, and cooking space to the outdoors.
Do It Yourself Wherever Possible
Do-It-Yourself projects can save you a bundle when you’re building home extensions. Some of the best DIY house extensions money-saving projects include painting, tile work, some flooring installation, adding a window bench seat, cabinet installation and refinishing work.
Whatever you are handy at, give it a try. The main thing to keep in mind with DIY work is to never tackle anything above and beyond your skills and ability, especially when it comes to major structural work, live electricity, or extensive plumbing work. DIY will require some amount of research ahead of time, so you don’t run into trouble with discovering your home addition doesn’t comply with local building regulations after spending time and money trying to save on the work. Of course, some areas of adding onto your home that you will not want to scrimp on. Do what you can yourself, and save the expenses for sizes you need an expert to complete.
Know Before You Build
Before you start any DIY work or hire someone to work on your home extension, the best cost-saving step you can take is to plan appropriately. Do a little local research to make sure you understand and abide by any building regulations or planning permissions for your home and property. If you share a wall with your neighbour, you will need to comply with the Party Wall Act.
Save yourself time and problems which could bring your home extension project to a grinding halt in a hurry by simply discussing your plans with those living nearby. Your best step is to talk with your neighbours before doing any work on adding to your home since it may interfere with their natural lighting or infringe upon their property. Save yourself an expensive headache later down the road by knowing everything expected to follow legal requirements for your build and planning well.
Be Careful Who You Hire
While there are plenty of reputable builders able and available to help you with your house extensions, be careful. Many disreputable contractors are waiting to take advantage of any willing victim. Avoid being ripped off by constantly asking for and following through by checking references for accuracy and credibility. Whatever you do, never pay in advance for the promised work for the cost of extension. The time to pay is after you have been invoiced for work and only if you are delighted. If the home extension requires lengthy work, make arrangements to make payments in stages as each phase of the work is complete. Go over every detail of your extension designs, including the extension’s written cost, before any work begins.
How can you plan for a ground-level extension?
Ground floor extensions are typically more affordable than converting the loft or excavating basement space. A same-level extension typically costs anywhere between $70,000+, depending on where you live, the project specifications, your choice of materials, including cladding, labour and project management. Adding more windows and internal walls contribute to cost too.
Be aware that more minor renovations can work out slightly more expensive per square metre than more extensive renovations as many of the overheads, such as getting a DA from the council, are a fixed cost. We advise getting a fixed price from your renovation consultant before the project starts to ensure your renovation comes in on a budget. If your budget is tight, focus on the things you need rather than want to start with. You can always upgrade finishes, fixtures and fittings in years to come.
Early estimates from your renovation consultant are usually a guide based on a series of assumptions. Even when you get the actual quote, plan in a contingency budget of at least 15% for unforeseen extras or problems. This will help you cover expenses, such as repairing leaks or taking care of structural issues without jeopardising your project.
Your builders will work from architectural plans. Major building work typically requires a planning permit from your local council as well as a building permit from a registered building surveyor. You can organise these yourself or employ someone else, such as your renovation consultant, to do it on your behalf.
Once the council accepts the drawings for your project, it can be challenging to make changes, and this is one reason why Concept Drawings of a renovation are so helpful. They may be more expensive than line drawings. Still, they show you exactly what your finished renovation will look like, which means it’s easier to identify any misunderstandings or problems earlier in the process.
Cost-Effective Ideas To Use When Extending Your Home
Think About Existing Space
Before considering building an extension, take some time to evaluate the current space you have. You might find that you have a barely-used garage or a loft full of old things. It would be very cost-effective to use these existing spaces to add an extra room or bathroom instead of building from scratch. A great idea would be turning your garage into a living room or turning your loft into a guest bedroom.
Single Storey Extensions
If you’re looking to add more space, a single story extension would be the most cost-effective idea. You can build a 20m2 space within a reasonable budget to extend a room, kitchen, or living area. A rear extension will be ideal if you want a more open-plan style. The best thing about a single-story addition is that it can be simple and add character to your home with the proper lighting and painting. Are you looking for dual occupancy? Look no further! Home Builders has you covered.
Don’t have space for an extension in your house? Outdoor extensions are a great way to have extra space without breaking the bank. A garden room would be an ideal guest room, home office, gym, or play area for kids. It could also be a space to entertain guests when the weather is perfect for a barbeque or an outdoor lunch. If you want to take it a step further, make it an annex connecting to your house, and it can be a bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom.
The materials you use in a home extension can go a long way in saving money and effort. Make sure you don’t over-order material or make any special requests. Having a remodelling team that understands the value of materials and works in your best financial interest is hard to come by. Still, many award-winning home remodelling companies put your needs first. Your remodelling team should help by giving you all the material options and make the best affordable choice.
Make It Eco-Friendly
Do you know what you can use in your home extension utterly free of charge? The sun! That’s right, having a solar design can save you a lot of money spent on heating, gas, and electricity bills in the long run. It’ll be a source of warmth on the cold winter nights and shield you from the heat during the summer. This won’t only be wallet and environment-friendly, it also adds high value to your house in the market.
Add a Conservatory
A conservatory is a classic choice for a home extension that doesn’t break the bank. It works great as a rear extension bringing natural light into your home. Polycarbonate conservatories are an even cheaper choice than glass, but adding glass sliding doors can make the rest of your garden area look more prominent. The best thing about them is how versatile their styles are, from period-style to modern designs.
Things to Know Before Extending Your Home
The first thing to figure out is your budget. You might have a lot of ideas for your extension, but you need to know how much money you’ve got to play with before you start planning any grand designs.
Set yourself a sensible budget. Be realistic about how much the project will cost, but draw the line at what you can afford. You won’t be able to enjoy your home extension as much if it’s left you in a financial struggle.
It’s worth accounting for any unexpected costs that may arise in your budget so that if any obstacles present themselves during the build, you’re able to overcome them, hiring any necessary tradesmen to deal with the problem.
Once you’ve set yourself a budget, you’ll want to go about getting quotes. It’s essential to know how much your extension project will cost before you start progressing with the build.
To work out the overall cost, you’ll need to look into who you’ll need to hire to help you build. For example, builders, electricians, maybe even an architect if you’ll affect the house’s main structure. You’ll also need to think about the cost of building materials and the cost of decorating the finished extension.
If your budget doesn’t cover the proposed cost, it may be worth waiting a while to save up some extra cash for the project. This way you’ll be able to go ahead with the extension of your dreams. Or, if you need to bring the quoted cost down a bit, it’s worth enquiring about the different building material options so that you can build the perfect extension for an excellent price.
Hopefully, though, the quotes you receive will be well within your budget, and you’ll be able to go ahead with designing your perfect extension, knowing what to expect in terms of expenses. At Home Builders, we offer a wide range of duplex build.
What’s the purpose of your extension?
Before you go ahead with building your extension, have a plan for what you’ll use it for. Whether that be a spare bedroom, a home office, a home gym or even just another living room, having a clear idea of what it will be used for will help you design your extension to best suit its purpose.
Without knowing your extension’s purpose, it can be challenging to know exactly how big or small to build it. You might end up spending more money than you need to on an unnecessarily large space, or you might end up with an extension that’s too small for specific ideas. So make sure you know why you’re extending your home before starting the build.
How long will your home extension take to build?
It’s important to know roughly how long your extension will take to build, not only because you’ll be dying to start using it but because having your home as an ongoing building site can be pretty disruptive to your everyday life, especially if you’ve got young children.
You might also find that you’ll end up paying more than planned if the project overruns. Often you’ll be paying for people’s time, rather than just for the job, so you don’t want any unnecessary delays.
If you’re required to move out of your home during the build, it’s essential to know how long the build will take so that you can make other living arrangements for the duration of the build.
For these reasons, set a firm but reasonable completion date with your builders. Even if the project overruns slightly, your builders will do their best to complete the extension as close to your proposed deadline as possible.
Will your builders need you out of the way?
If you’re only having a small, single-storey extension, you might be able to stay in your home throughout the build without it disrupting your days too much. For more significant extensions that mean renovating vast areas of the house, it may be best to move out for the project’s duration.
It can be challenging to go about your regular everyday routine when there are building works in your home, so it’s often easier to find somewhere else to stay until the completion date. This would also mean your builders can quickly get on with their work without worrying about bothering you.
So before any building begins, ask your builders whether they would recommend you stay at home or not, and if not, allow yourself some time to find other temporary living arrangements.
How to seek approval for your extension
Some extension projects will require approval from the council, so it’s important to seek permission before beginning any project work.
First, you’ll need to contact your local council. They can help you understand the assessment and approval processes and any fees that they might require.
The process for approval will differ from state to state, and depending on whether or not your home is a pre-1946 home, but basically, you’ll need a few certificates to give you the go-ahead.
Usually, you’ll need a Complying Development Certificate (CDC), which you can get by having detailed plans drawn up by a professional and showing them to a building certifier. You’ll also need a Construction Certificate, which lets the council authorities know that your extension will stick to Australia’s Building Code. This is another certificate that a building certifier can grant.
After that, you’ll need to tick a couple more boxes by showing that you’ve stuck to the proposed and approved building plans, and if you plan on using your extension as a bedroom, you’ll need to have someone check that it meets the guidelines for living quarters.
Will your plan impact your neighbours?
You’ll need to consider your neighbours when planning your extension, as more significant extensions can block light from their property, and they will have the right to object to your plans.
Often councils will encourage you to talk about any possible issues with your neighbour personally, rather than allowing it to reach the point of a formal complaint. So to avoid unnecessary hassle, speak to your neighbour about your plans, ask if they have any objections, and perhaps think of alternative ideas if your current goal for extension is likely to cause an argument.
Sometimes you’ll need your neighbour’s permission to obtain a planning permit, especially if you’re building a double-storey extension that overshadows their property, so it’s better to get them on your side.
Maybe work out an agreement with them about hours of building work, as sometimes building jobs can be particularly noisy.
Do you need insurance?
It’s a good idea to look into your home insurance and know what it covers and what it doesn’t, as the chances are that it won’t obscure the construction of your extension, and it might not even cover the completed extension.
So look into getting construction insurance for the duration of the build so that if anything goes wrong before your extension is completed, you’ll be covered for any loss and won’t be out of pocket with a half-finished extension. Check out our range of dual occupancy builder for your dream house.
Also, contact your home insurance provider and ask whether they can extend your policy to cover the completed extension. Depending on your policy, you may already be covered, but it’s worth letting them know and spreading the policy if need be. If they can’t hide any extensions, you may need to look for another home insurance provider who will cover it.
The most important thing to remember while extending your home is always to keep it simple. Whether it’s the design, material, or interior, there’s no need to go overboard and drain your bank account. It’s also crucial that you have a clear vision and plan throughout the process to avoid being distracted or buying things you don’t need.