To extend or not to extend? That’s the question on many homeowners’ minds, especially in a year when we’ve been spending more time in our own homes than ever before. Extending your current property can be a great way to create new living space and transform the look of your home. If done right, an extension can significantly add to the value of your property.
Extensions can be complex projects that take a substantial amount of investment – in terms of time, money and energy. With this in mind, it’s vital that you’ve carefully considered the pros and cons of extending your home. We’ve complied the main house extension advantages and disadvantages to bear in mind, to help you decide whether an extension is the right choice for you, your family and your property.
One of the biggest advantages of home extensions is that you don’t have to go through the expense or hassle of selling your current home and purchasing another. You don’t have to pay commission to estate agents, find mortgages or pay stamp duty, solicitors or movers fees – let alone decorating your new property to your own tastes when you arrive.
Searching for a new house takes a lot of time and emotional energy; you’ll have to show prospective buyers around your existing home, deal with negotiations and pack up all your belongings.
Whilst this may make extending seem like a no-brainer, there are substantial costs involved with renovations. The cost per square metre for any quality extension can range from £1,000 to £2,500-plus, depending on the options, complexity of the build and finish. Other often overlooked expenses include architect’s fees, property surveys, planning permission and building regulation checks.
Once you have a clear idea.
Put your plans out to tender and contact several teams for quotes – thinking about not only costs, but reputation and reviews, interpersonal relationships and timeframe. There are costs associated with both moving and extending, so thinking about what’s right for your lifestyle and your family is key.
Another advantage of extending your home is that it can add a significant amount of value. This is especially the case if you live in an urban area, where smaller properties with extensions become far more attractive to prospective buyers.
Extensions can go down into the basement and up into the loft-space, as well as adding to the overall footprint of the house. Do bear in mind the old adage “location, location, location” however – and make sure that you’ve researched ceiling prices in your area. If you’re thinking of selling your home soon, you don’t want to end up spending more on your extension than the house can ultimately be sold at.
For many homeowners, extensions are the perfect solution if you are thinking of staying put long-term. Comparing the costs and value of moving or extending your house is certainly not easy. To get a good idea though, ask for estimates on building work and research what sort of properties you could purchase for this (plus the current valuation of your home). Make sure to chat with local estate agents not only on valuations, but also on what kind of extension appeals to buyers in your area. This provides a better chance of future-proofing your investment.
This is a tricky one to weigh up, as there are undoubtedly stresses involved in both moving and extending. For many homeowners, extending can be less stressful than moving – but there are issues to consider.
Coping with a building site for months (with the added expense of renting alternative accommodation depending on the scale of the project), as well as dealing with builders, tradespeople, planning, and all the uncertainties such projects necessarily throw up!
If you are willing to invest the time and short-term upheaval, then an extension allows you to create your dream home in an area you’re familiar with. Moving home comes with its own hassles, expenses, waiting period (especially if there is a chain involved), as well as structural surveys on both your existing and new properties. Until contracts are signed and finalised, sales are liable to fall through at any time (in which case, legal fees will often still have to be paid) – an element of stress that many property owners would rather avoid.
You can greatly mitigate the stress of having a house extension by letting EV Architects fully manage the project for you!
A fantastic advantage to extending your home, is the scope for creativity and personalisation. You can make your space truly unique and tailored to you. It’s always a good idea to sit down with an interior designer or architect (depending on the scale of your project), who can help you understand plans, budget and bring that professional flair.
When moving to a new property, you’ll often have to redecorate as well, which can feel counterproductive. So do weigh up the work needed to both your existing home and any prospective purchase. If the layout of your new house doesn’t exactly match your needs, you may end up looking at a building project further down the line anyway.
If you’ve opted for an extension, remember that your current home must still appeal to buyers as well as your own tastes. For instance, a four-bedroom family house should ideally have a decent garden and parking spaces, and it’s a good idea to keep the living rooms and bedrooms roughly in proportion. Even if you plan to stay in your home for a long time, avoid spending money on building work that may please in the short-term, but eventually makes your property harder to sell.
If you’re already in your perfect location, have your home pretty much as you want it, with jobs and friends nearby, moving to a new area might not appeal. If this is the case, an extension could be the ideal solution. This could be just a loft conversion, single-story extension, conservatory or even a complete overhaul of your home.
A big positive.
Permitted development rights allow for a certain amount of work without lengthy planning applications (such as building to the highest point on your existing roof, small side extensions or installing glazed windows on upper elevations), but it is always advisable to check with your local planning department before getting started.
Whatever the scale of your project.
Creating additional space will completely change (for the better) the way you feel about and interact with your current home. There are limitations to consider, for instance if you have a small plot, then the extension you’re dreaming of may simply not be possible.
Taking neighbours and the architectural style of your area into account is also important before committing to any plan. Even under permitted development, you still need to inform neighbours, which can lead to stresses with objections and planning authorities. Despite this, if you’re happy with where you are – then extending can save you both time and money, as well as avoiding the need to drastically change your lifestyle.
Starting any home extension be a time-consuming but incredibly worthwhile task. Getting it right can transform the value and way that you use your home. With so many possibilities and pros and cons to weigh up, making sure that you’re clear on your own budget, goals and motivations will help narrow down the options and either create the extension of your dreams – or move to pastures new. Whatever option you decide, good luck, and happy homemaking.
About EV Architects.
EV Architects is a multi-disciplinary architectural practice that is located in Highams Park, in the London borough of Waltham Forest. We provide a fully comprehensive range of architectural, design and planning services and fully managed design and build solutions.
Visit our House Extensions service page to find out more, or call us on 020 8531 4441 to discuss your house extension requirements with one of our friendly architects today.