Extending your Home or Moving
It’s a problem that many families face: the kids are growing up, you’re getting on top of one another, and your home just doesn’t seem to have the space it once did. Maybe it’s time to up sticks and move on. In some cases that’s the only thing you can do – a flat, for example, doesn’t have the option of adding rooms or converting the loft. But if you’re in a house with a garden or a basement, there is another option available – you could extend.
There are, of course, a lot of factors to consider when making this decision. How attached are you to the property? Is it in a good catchment area for local schools, or near to the train station? What are the financial implications of moving versus those of extending? Here are a few tips that may help you decide which is the best option for you.
On the whole, extending costs less than moving house, but you need to think about what you’re getting for your money. If you live in central London, for example, and want a larger family home, it may prove smarter to move to the outskirts than to dig under the property to create a basement. Look at the value of similar properties in your area before committing to anything, and weigh up the long term benefit against the financial outlay.
If, however, you have a reasonably sized attic, you may find that converting it not only gives you what you need, but also adds enough value to make the project a sound investment. Turning a house from a two bedroom into a three bedroom property instantly makes it more desirable to a wider group of people. On the other hand, making your home worth £500,000 on a street where average prices are £350,000 may mean that when it comes to selling up, it won’t achieve its value.
If moving is a possibility, don’t forget to factor in costs that are often overlooked in the initial excitement of house hunting: stamp duty is a big one, estate agent and solicitors’ fees also need to be added into the mix, as do the costs of a removal company. These can make a big difference to your final decision, so don’t leave them out of the equation.
In terms of extending, remember that 20% VAT is added to construction costs, and that things like building regulations checks and planning permission may need to be paid for. There may also be disruption costs: staying elsewhere for a while during the construction period could mean accommodation fees or even extra petrol costs if your commute is an extra 10 miles each day.
Ultimately, you can only make your decision to remodel or buy a new home once all the aspects of each are weighed up. Ensure you calculate costs carefully and take into account the state of the housing market and the long term gains of each alternative before committing.