You definitely need more space – but what’s the best way to get it? As families grow, businesses develop or jobs shift to working from home, people across the UK are fighting for space to breath inside their own homes. Two obvious ways to find that extra space are to move house or extend your current property but both have their own set backs. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you make your decision.
What’s available nearby in your price range?
Moving to a bigger house may be a pipe dream if the area you live in just doesn’t have anything suitable. This is particularly true if you need working space, such as a garage, workshop or office, and are already in a relatively large property for your area.
How far would you be willing to move?
If you need to stay very local – perhaps to remain in a school catchment area or close to ageing relatives or to make your commute manageable – then you’ll have few options for finding a property that meets your needs. In this case, extending may be your best option.
Does your property have untapped potential?
If your property has an obvious way to create more space, such as a loft that’s ready for conversion or a one-storey extension which could be expanded, then this can save time, money and energy during the extension process. On the flip side, if you’d have to start completely from scratch, don’t have much garden space, live in a conservation area or are the first on your street to alter the profile of your row, then your project is likely to be harder and may be rejected by the planning office.
Does it have to be a full extension?
Obviously, as a construction firm, renovations and extensions are an important part of our day-to-day work. However, we never like to see our clients waste money, and in many cases if you’re looking for a bit more space there may be cheaper and less disruptive alternatives. As an example, if you need more space for the kids to play, a well-built conservatory might do the job while if you need a home office or workshop for your business, converting a free-standing garage or putting up a separate space at the bottom of the garden might be effective – and help keep work and home life separate!
Which will cost more?
You’ll have to do a detailed cost breakdown to get an answer that’s correct for your situation, but as a very rough estimate you can expect to pay around £10,000-20,000 to sell your current home worth about £200,000 and buy a different property worth about the same (expect to pay some or all of: legal fees, agent’s fees, stamp duty, for a survey, mortgaging fees, repairs to your current property, repairs to your new property, removal costs, costs for connecting utilities…). It’s also important to check if you’ll be able to manage the ongoing costs of buying somewhere new (this might include increased mortgage payments, higher council tax, higher utilities costs…). On the other hand, £20,000 might get you a large porch or a well-built conservatory, with a 4x5m single-storey extension typically costing up to twice that. The current rule of thumb – as a very rough guide – is to assume building costs on the first floor to be around £1,500-2,000 per square meter and add 30-50% for associated costs, such as design, surveys, architects reports, planning permission, and, of course VAT. Adding a second storey tends to cost around £750-1,000 per square meter, as much of the costs (foundations, roofing) are already included.