Should I be thinking about extending or moving house?

By accessibleproperty

July 13, 2022

With so many people working from home for months during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, lots of property owners started to wonder about making improvements to their houses or flats. One of the most popular ideas across the UK has been to invest in an extension, creating a new room or multiple rooms that expand a home’s square footage and might increase its value.

But home extensions and renovations can be rife with problems according to DIY Week, including costs that can quickly escalate, the danger of causing significant damage at your house if you try to do all of the work on your own to save money, and a number of other important concerns.

If your primary goal is having more space in your home, it’s important to take time and fully consider the pros and cons of a home extension. You might find that after weighing all of these factors that it might make more sense to instead start looking at moving house.

Focusing on selling your existing home and finding a new property can have a number of benefits compared to building an extension. You won’t have to spend time and money on the work, you have free rein to consider virtually any type of house or flat that’s within your budget, and it might be a much less stressful way to achieve the extra space that you’re seeking.

We spoke with the experts at fast home buying company LDN Properties about the advantages and disadvantages of the two approaches, and they offered some important tips to consider when making this very important decision.

You might need to get permission for extending your property

A home extension can cover many different types of projects. It might be the complete renovation of an existing bathroom or kitchen that enlarges the space, or it could be knocking down walls inside the property to make a larger room. Another method of extending a home is to expand the overall size, for example by building a new second or third bedroom.

As you consider the potential for an extension, it’s important to know that some types of property extensions will require planning permission whilst other projects will not. Planning permission is formal approval from the local authority for building works, and obtaining it can sometimes be a very lengthy and complicated process that you might not want to endure.

Certain extensions sometimes do not need planning permission, including if it’s a single-storey addition no higher than six metres to the back of a semi-detached or terrace home. For detached houses, the same waiver applies but the total height of the extension can by eight meters.

All other types of extensions will usually likely require planning permission, although if you can get this approval then you can be more ambitious with the scope of the addition. But note that you are typically only allowed to cover up to half of the original home’s land with an extension.

Extensions can be a lot of work – but also potentially good value

Perhaps the biggest factors to consider when weighing the possibility of an extension at your property is the amount of money and time that you will have to invest in the work.

If you are desperate for extra space as fast as possible, buying a new home might be easier than waiting however many months it will take for the extension work to be completed. And you will also have to put up with a lot of construction mess and noise at your property whilst the addition is being built, which can be very stressful if you are working from home.

And the financial costs of building an extension can also be overwhelming. If you have a limited budget, you might have to go into debt in order to fund an extension. This could be a very bad decision as it’s typically advisable to not incur more debt if possible. You can expect to pay anywhere from £1,800 to £2,500 or more per square meter of the home extension.

There’s also the potential for accidents and other mistakes to occur during the construction work that could require money to fix, which means your expenses could quickly pile up.

Still, the investment of funds and times can often be worth it, with additions to properties adding sometimes anything from 5 percent to 20 percent or more to a home’s market value. The exact amount by which an extension could increase your property’s potential sale price will depend on the project, such as a loft conversion, kitchen expansion, additional bedroom, and other work.

Selling your property and moving to a dream home could be easier

If you have a limited budget or a strict deadline for when you would like to be living in a home with significantly more room, you might want to consider selling your existing property. This can sometimes be a quicker and smoother process than trying to build an extension.

Searching for a new home, instead of trying to reconstruct your current house or flat, makes it more likely that you’ll ultimately be able to find a dream property that has all the space you want. And it means you won’t have to spend any time or money to work on your existing home.

Of course, there can be potential complications involved with selling your property. If you use and estate agent or auctioneer, you’ll have to pay them commission for finding a buyer for the existing property. And estate agents in particular could take many months or even potentially more than a full year to sell your home, delaying your goal of living in a bigger space.

But there are ways to overcome these hurdles, for example using a quick home buyer that can complete the purchase of your current property in just a few weeks without charging any fees.

Weigh the pros and cons carefully and decide what’s right for you

Although the comments offered above highlights the general pros of cons from extending a property versus moving to a new home, your final decision will be a highly personal one.

Take some time to carefully create competing projected budgets for an extension compared to buying a new home, and be honest with yourself about the ability to provide the time and funding necessary for both options. Having such comprehensive information will make it far easier for you to choose the method that will best achieve your dream of a larger home.