Build or move? the pros and cons of a home extension

UK Home Improvement

Build or Move? The Pros and Cons of a Home Extension

When you first buy a home, you normally take into account the space you currently need, with perhaps some forethought into the future with an extra bedroom as a consideration.

However the unpredictability of the future can mean that space requirements change and you may find yourself needing more room than you have.

When this happens you have 3 choices; Muddle on and cram things in, move to a bigger property or extend your home. Choice one isn’t really a remedy to the issue, so for the purposes of this article we’ll put that to one side, which leaves us with moving or extending.

Moving Home

Moving home may seem the harder option, and a much larger hassle, but that isn’t necessarily true. As simple as extending your home sounds, it can be a long process with a lot of pitfalls along the way, and so buying a new home may actually be the better choice, but that can depend on a lot of factors.

The pluses of moving home include a fresh new start, the option of finding your ideal home with exactly the space you need and the option of moving to a whole new area. Other benefits can include a larger garden or better access to local amenities such as schools or day nurseries, doctors, shops or transport routes.

Of course there are a lot of downsides to moving home as well.

To start there is the fact you are going to have to sell your current home. That means advertising it, signing up with estate agents, house viewings, legal costs, stamp duty, house viewings, housing chains and that’s just to name a few. Then there is the fact your house may be worth less than it was a year or two ago due to changes in the economy, or the ideal house you want may be financially out of your reach.

Then take into account mortgage repayments, the cost of hiring a removals company (or simply van hire if you are doing it yourself) and the stress of the move, and the cost of redecorating and possibly even refurnishing your new home and moving home may not be ideal for you after all.

Extending Your Home

There are several things to consider when deciding whether to go for a home extension (as opposed to moving home as mentioned earlier) or not.

The very first hurdle is whether or not you have the required space to actually have a house extension in the first place. Many people build over a garage, but some will place a top and bottom floor extension on the side or rear of their home, so make sure there is enough room (get someone out to measure up!).

Next you need to find out if you are allowed to build the extension. So get in touch with the local council to see if you can even get the plan of the ground. This is not the green light, merely confirming you would more than likely be allowed to build depending on finished plans.

Once you know that the council consider the option of an extension viable you need to approach an architect to draw up the plans (many home extension contractors can provide you with this service as a part of an overall package). The plans then need to submitted to the council for planning permission and building regulation approval; both of these services require a fee.

Once you have the go ahead then you are going to be paying for the construction of the extension, which means, if you are going for the DIY approach, materials and equipment. If you are using building contractors then most of this would be all part of the cost, along with labour charges, which is more expensive but means a professional job.

Other costs can include structural engineers, quantity surveyors and architects (if for any reason the plans have to change). Also not that a quote can change if for example a structural engineer finds there are more complications that builders would not have been able to see from an external survey of the premises.

Other costs can include the decorating and furnishing the new space, and even landscaping your garden after all the work is complete; also let’s not forget the fact that your home will feel and look like a construction site while the work is being undertaken.

So as you can see a home extension is not necessarily the easier option to moving, but taking into account the pitfalls and expenses of buying a whole new home, it may be the right option for you. The important thing is to way up all the options, and make as informed a decision as you possibly can.


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