Extend or Move: Should We Stay or Should We Go?
For many households, there comes a time when their home becomes a bit of a squeeze. Growing families and all that comes with it: toys, friends and sometimes a large menagerie of pets! Or maybe a home-run business takes off and there’s a need for that extra space, if only to reclaim the kitchen table for the sole purpose of eating at it. Whatever the reason, the question that often comes to mind is, should we stay or should we go?
The scenario is quite a common one and we hear about this dilemma a lot because of the nature of our work, the answer is never a straight forward one and the biggest complication is the emotional aspect.
How do you decide?
The first thing to do for anyone who is considering moving is to write out a list of what you love about your current home, the things you will miss or can’t do without. It might be something about your home like the way it makes you feel, location, convenience, space etc.
Compile a separate list of the things you don’t have that you not only want but more importantly you need. You may want a double garage but if a new property had another feature but not the garage, which would you sacrifice in choosing?
Moving home may seem the harder option, and much more 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, so buying a new home may be the better choice, but that can depend on a lot of factors.
The pros 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 that you are going to have to sell your current home. That means advertising it, signing up with estate agents, legal costs, stamp duty, house viewings, housing chains and that’s just to name a few. In terms of costs, you will need to consider mortgage repayments, hiring a removals company (or simply van hire if you are doing it yourself) redecorating and possibly even refurnishing your new 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 now.
The very first hurdle is whether you have the required space to 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 of 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 can build the extension, so get in touch with the local council to see if you can even get the plan of the grounds. 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 the architect to draw up the plans (many home extension contractors can provide you with this service as part of an overall package). The plans then need to be submitted to the council for planning permission and building regulation approval; both services require a fee.
Once you have the go ahead then you are going to be paying for the construction of the extension, if you are going for the DIY approach this will mean materials and equipment. If you are using building contractors then this would be included in the cost, along with labour charges, which will be costlier but ensures a professional job.
Other costs can include structural engineers, quantity surveyors and architects (if for any reason the plans should change) this will also incur additional charges, if for example a structural engineer finds there are more complications that builders would not have could see from an external survey of the premises.
So, as you can see a home extension is not necessarily the easier option to moving, but considering the pitfalls and expenses of buying a whole new home, it may be the right option for you. The most important this is to weigh up all the options, so you can make the most informed decision possible.