22 January, 2018
It’s a dilemma many households find themselves facing; the house you’ve called home for years no longer has the space or amenities you need. It could be that you need another bedroom for your growing family, it’s time to set up that home office you’ve always wanted, or maybe you need more kitchen or entertaining space. But is it better to extend your current home or sell up and move onto somewhere new?
It’s a big decision that usually involves a number of significant factors, not least considerable time and expense, so it’s worth weighing up your options. If you’re trying to decide between moving house or creating more room with an extension, here are some of the most important things to consider.
The ins and outs of extending your home
When done well, building an extension can add substantial value to your property. Plus, if you love where you live, extending can breathe new life into the home you originally fell for.
Having said that, before you can think about planning an extension, you need to know whether or not it’s possible. Some properties may be subject to restrictions that prevent them from being extended or converted, such as listed buildings or those in conservation areas. The cost of an extension may limit its viability too; depending on the type and location of your home and what you want to do, you may find that building expenses, on top of potential fees associated with architects, structural engineers and building regulations checks, make extending unrealistic. A reputable builder will be able to give you a no-obligation idea of what could be achievable and the sort of budget you would need.
You’ll also need to check whether or not you will need planning permission for an extension. Many smaller extensions don’t require it, but if you plan to extend more than three metres beyond the existing rear wall or by more than one storey, you may need planning permission first, as well as the approval of your neighbours. The official Planning Portal website from the government can help you determine any permissions you may require.
Don’t forget to consider the practicalities and long-term appeal of your planned extension too. An extra bedroom may seem like a great idea, but will you need more communal space to allow for it? Will your extension fit with the style of your property from the outside? If you hope to sell your home one day, it’s vital to make changes that will suit future owners as well as you and your family.
Finally, think about how long your extension is likely to take and the impact it will have on your day-to-day life. Unless you have somewhere else to go, you’ll have to live in your home while building is underway, so it’s important that you and your family are prepared for the inevitable upheaval. Extensions involving kitchens and bathrooms can be especially inconvenient if they make these rooms off-limits!
Moving house to find extra space
If extending your home isn’t possible, the disruption would be too great or the cost of an extension would be more than the potential increase in value, selling your house and moving on may be the answer. What’s more, if you’re not planning on staying in your current home for more than a couple of years longer, you may not get the full benefits of your extension anyway. Plus, moving house doesn’t have to mean a completely fresh start - you don’t have to go far if you’re settled in your local area, and the step up the property ladder can be more than worth it.
Getting a no-obligation valuation on your property can be a good first step; we can advise you what homes similar to yours have sold for recently in the local area as well as the current market conditions to give you an accurate estimate.
Of course, there are costs attached to moving house too, such as solicitor’s fees and removal costs. Local knowledge can go a long way here, so don’t hesitate to ask us for a recommendation for good solicitors and/or removal companies.
You may also need a bigger mortgage, so check to see if your current one is portable to a new property and what the rates would be if you needed to borrow more from your existing lender. Remember, it may be better value to re-mortgage with a new lender, although be aware that you may be liable to pay a fee for exiting your present deal early.
Much like extending your property, moving home can also be a long process, but with the right support it needn’t be an ordeal. We pride ourselves on the comprehensive service we provide in buying and selling, and while we hope to help you secure your new home as swiftly as possible, we won’t leave you to face a longer search single-handed either. Talk to us today if you’re considering putting your house on the market or if you’d like some free advice about whether it’s worth extending your existing home, we’d love to help you.