House extensions: Should you extend or move?

Choosing to extend your house or move

Extend or move? It’s a question presented to countless Brits each year as they begin to feel like they’re outgrowing their home in its current state. It’s an understandable predicament that requires serious thought. Fortunately, we’ve highlighted the benefits and considerations you should be making, to make your decision a little easier.

Choose to extend

Adding to your current home comes with numerous benefits, not least an improved layout. But you should also be careful not to fall into the trap of pushing through changes that will have a harmful impact on the value of your home or make it harder to sell in the future.

Understanding how to extend your house

To maintain and, ideally, improve your home’s market value, it’s important to undertake appropriate extensions. Any exterior work is simply building onto land you already own, so you should treat it as a balancing act between what you’re losing and what you’re gaining.

On the other hand, you can capitalise on your available land by making savvy decisions. For instance, extending your home to accommodate an extra bedroom can see the value rocket by 15%, while an interior loft conversion that combines bedroom and bathroom can see you net an additional 21%. If you’re city based and struggling to build outwards, consider excavating and building a basement to boost your property price by up to 15%.

It’s easy to let your dreams run away with you, so be sure to think about whether your extension fantasy offers realistic value.

Will you benefit from an extension?

If your present abode isn’t in your long-term plans, you should really think hard about whether an extension is even a worthwhile avenue. Put into context and answering the common query: ‘How much is a single storey extension?’, the average cost to build at the lower layer of your home can be anywhere between £1200-2000+ per square metre, depending on your location.

This, when combined with the cost of planning permission, which can come in at over £200, and unforeseen extras, can eventually leave you out of pocket when it comes to putting your house on the market.

Will an extension make a future sale more difficult?

A crucial factor in choosing whether to extend or not is whether any proposed plans will hinder the future sale of your home. Even if you’re not considering uprooting just yet, it’s always worth taking a step back and thinking about whether your ideas are future proof. While your big extension might improve your property superficially, and you’ll be within your right to demand a greater asking price, the work done might appeal to a much smaller band of buyers so take longer to find a suitor.

Making the move

If you’re beginning to outgrow your property, entering the market may seem to be the logical next step. After all, scaling up lets you enjoy the spacious gain without going through building site pain. Right? While this is often the case, it’s not always the most financially sound decision. If you’re considering a move, establish your budget based on the equivalent value of your current property plus the proposed hypothetical cost of an equivalent extension.

This is a straightforward practice, but lets you explore the market with a clear point of comparison. If your dream property comes in over budget, it might be worth investing in an extension, instead.

Can you get planning permission before buying a house?

If your main motivation for moving is with a view to taking on an extension project with a new property, you might be wondering whether your grand plans will be permissible according to planning laws. Generally, without the need for planning permission, a single storey rear extension cannot stretch more than three metres beyond a house’s original footprint, or four metres if a property is detached.

For anything on a greater scale, however, it’s encouraged to check with the local council if your plans will pass regulations before completing a purchase. They will also point you in the direction of any other past permissions requested on the property, as well as any structural changes already made.

Funding your new home or extension

Whether you extend or move, it’s no secret that improving your current living situation costs money. A lot of money, in fact. And unless you have considerable savings, you should have a plan in place to finance your decision.

What is the cheapest way to build an extension?

The cheapest way to build an extension is to get involved yourself, whether completely or partially. Learning the ropes for basic construction is achievable, but, if your building work requires structural engineering competency, you should always consult a professional. There are a couple of ways to draw capital for your project:

  • Re-mortgage you home

Most lenders will allow you to re-mortgage your home to undertake extension work. However, this naturally depends on the amount of work required and the proposed cost to extend house boundaries. Additionally, be prepared for your lender to ask you for a working schedule that gives them assurances of completion.

  • Bank loan or credit card

If re-mortgaging your property isn’t a possibility, taking out a bank loan or credit card payment might be your only option. Be aware, though, that interest rates on these loans will be much higher than re-mortgaging, because the agreement isn’t explicitly tied to your home.

Deliberating over whether to extend or move can be challenging, with so many factors to consider. If you find somewhere more spacious within budget, improve your hand as a buyer and get a cash offer on your current home so you can enter the market chain free. For even more insight in the property world, discover the latest from us.

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