Moving and Packing Tips

What Is Better – to Extend Your House or Move in 2024?

Baby on the way? Or maybe, your elderly parent is about to move in with you? There could be various reasons for you to need a bigger place to accommodate your new living space needs. And we all know that when it comes to the above, there are two ways of resolving that crowdy feeling at home – to extend or move.

So, with this post, we’ll try to look in more detail at whether it’s better to sell up and move to a new larger house or go down the path of building an extension. We’ll explore the challenges of extending in the UK, especially if you live in a city like London, and we’ll look at the current housing market trends and see if either option can be a feasible solution to your dilemma.

Right then, if you:

  • wonder about whether to put your property on the market, so you can relocate to a bigger place;
  • are considering extending your property and wish to know what your options are;
  • you want to improve your life-work balance through enhancing your living space but can’t decide how;

You better read on.

Is extending your house worth it?

A house extension is typically an investment that will pay off in future if you decide to sell your home. Considering the financial aspect of the situation, extending in one form or another is often a sensible course of action. However, your property’s location and demand for it are the most common factors determining whether building a house extension will add value to your property or not.

And when deciding whether or not you should extend your home, consider if the extension is suitable for your property. Building an inappropriate house extension can reduce your home’s value instead of raising it.

Be sure you hire the best professionals if you decide to extend.

Types of house extensions

Depending on what type of property you have and the size of your outdoor space, as well as on quite a few other factors (location, local building restrictions and so on), you could go for one or more types of extensions that we list below.

Side extension

Detached and semi-detached houses can be extended sideways, especially if you consider that the space on the left or right of your property is rarely utilised properly. Get inspiration from house owners in your area if they’ve gone down this path! Remember, however, that side extensions require planning permission, so check with your local council what you need to get a permit.

Rear extension

As mentioned earlier, rear extensions can usually go ahead under the new rules of the permitted development scheme. As long as you have a decent-sized backyard, you can add to your living space by building an extension at the rear of your home.

Quite often, kitchens face the back garden, so you can turn the heart of your home into a nice open-space dining room with a modern kitchenette. Add some gorgeous French windows, and you’ll end up instantly with a light and spacious room for the whole family to gather.

Front extension

Front extensions are also possible by building a porch. Usually, you don’t need to apply for a permit with your local planning authorities. Additional storage space, if you have a tiny entry hall, not only gives you more space to hang coats and store shoes, but it can also improve the insulation of your home, as well as enhance its security.

Roof extension

If your budget allows it, you can build a second floor once you go through the challenging process of getting planning permission. “Shop around” for a good architect, though, as a two-storey extension is not that straightforward.

Depending on your property’s initial design and structure, you can even incorporate a roof garden or terrace and achieve better functionality of the available space this exterior feature of your home can offer.

Conservatory

Conservatories are a rather easy-to-install and affordable extension option, and many folks in the UK take advantage of increasing their living space this way. The glass structure improves insulation, as well as it can give you the opportunity to enjoy your garden view no matter the weather.

Mezzanine

Not many properties have a high ceiling, but if you’re lucky enough to live in a Victorian or Edwardian house with a ceiling that is over 3,5 -4m in height, then you can add to your living space by building a mezzanine level, say, in your living room. This can be turned into a bedroom, a home office space or a workshop area.

As a mezzanine would be in effect an internal modification to your home, you won’t face heavy regulations in terms of the ‘go-ahead’ with the construction process, providing the property is not classed as a listed building.

Ceiling extension

By removing ceilings, you can utilise the loft space to either open up the room and allow more light by installing a skylight or to create additional storage space. With this sort of interior alteration, most likely, you won’t need to apply for a permit with your local council unless your property falls under some kind of restrictions.

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The pros and cons of building an extension

Extending your house could be an affordable way to add more space to your property. And with the new changes in planning legislation and specifically in the Permitted Development regulations, you may be able to build, say, a large rear extension, providing you’ve got the space. And that’s not all, you can now exercise your Permitted Development Rights and not actually have the need to apply for planning permission, in order to commence your building or renovation project.

On the other hand, any type of building work can turn into a little nightmare, where the result is not exactly what you’ve expected. So, let’s have a look now at the pros and cons of extending your property.

Advantages of extending

For starters, more often than not, building an extension is more affordable than moving houses, which will involve selling up, placing a deposit on your new house, paying Stamp Duty in certain circumstances, and last but not least, allocating funds for the actual removal process. Add the fact that you could be buying possibly a more expensive property than your old one, and you get the picture.

  • Cost-effective option – The cost per sq. m. for a quality extension at the moment can be anything from £1,500 and £2,500, depending on whether you go for a single-storey or two-storey addition to your property. Of course, you’ve got some other expenditures, too, such as the architect’s fee (could reach £4,000), as well as the fees for a property survey, planning permission (if you need one), building regulation checks, etc. Many folks will remortgage their house in order to achieve their dream of adding an extension. As you’ll see further down, the cost of relocating from your legally owned property to a new one can be far higher than if you were extending.
  • Permitted development – Whether you are building a porch in your front garden (extension under Class D) or you’ve opted for a kitchen extension at the rear of your property (class A), you can achieve this without planning permission, providing your house is not located, say, in a Conservation Area, for instance.
  • Increased property value – This can apply especially if you live in a crowded city, where small properties with an added extension become attractive to potential buyers in an instance. There are also always some real estate investors on the lookout to get the most out of their investment when it comes to turning the newly-purchased property into a long-term or short-term rental.
  • Adding more space without relocating – This is a brainer. Who wouldn’t want to have extra living space minus the long and stressful process of selling, buying and moving?
  • No need to make significant changes to your life – Unless this is what you’re actually after. But if you’re happy with where you are, then extending will save you from having to change schools for your kids, change jobs or add daily travel time if you’re moving further from your workplace. Let’s not forget the possibility of parting with family and friends if your new home is going to be some significant distance away.

Drawbacks of extending

There are, of course, two sides of the same coin with everything and going down the road of extending your home is no exception. Here are some of the challenges you may get confronted with.

  • Planning permission – Well, if it happens that your permitted development rights are restricted for whatever reason, then you’ll need to apply for planning permission to improve your living conditions and get that extra space for your family. Not only can the process of approval take up to 13 weeks, but the stress of dealing with paperwork and various planning and building regulation authorities can get to you to the extent of regretting your decision to extend in the first place.
  • Overestimated hopes for adding value to your property – Yep, you can spend heaps of money on extending your property, remortgaging your house and so on, and still add nothing to its value just because of “location, location, location” or due to an unexpected bottom-out in the housing market, as we see this happening right now.
  • Troubles with stubborn neighbours – Under the permitted development scheme, you will need to inform your neighbours of your extension plans in most cases. They can come up with objections, although your local planning authorities will have the final say. Still, your neighbours can easily protract consciously or inadvertently your building project, so keep this in mind.
  • Rogue builders – Of course, we are not saying that any building regulations and safety aspects will be compromised during the construction and extension process, but you can still end up with a somewhat sub-standard addition to your property as an end result.
  • Coping with a building site of a house for months – Well, even if you prepare for this mentally, there is nothing like going through it for real. Imagine building materials everywhere, noise and dust, strangers in your house – and all this while trying to run a home, take care of the kids, work and so on.
  • Unforeseen costs – Even though you’ve been given a quote for the work and the materials, house extension costs can arise naturally during the building process. And that’s not all. You may feel like moving your brood, say, in an Airbnb flat for a few days as the construction work has become unbearable for you all.
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The benefits and drawbacks of moving house

Moving to a bigger house can also be a viable option for gaining more living space. And depending on where you intend to relocate and your personal situation, it could be actually more cost-effective for you than trying to build an extension.

Post-lockdown in the UK, we actually see a surge in people looking to sell up and move in the hope of improving their quality of life, escaping from the hustle and bustle of the big city and expanding their interior living space and recreational outdoors.

The pros of relocating

The advantages of moving to a bigger house are dictated, in a way, by the global health crisis we’ve all been living through for months. And although the housing market is heading for uncertainty, for some sellers and buyers, there could be a window of opportunity to make that important move smooth with a bit of luck.

For instance, you can leave the overcrowded capital city and move to picturesque Canterbury, which is not only still close by if you need to commute but also the larger properties there are much more affordable in comparison. You can get a 3-bedroom semi-detached house for under £300,000 in the cathedral city, whereas an average asking price for a similar property in London is around £630,000. Some additional benefits of moving house vs building extension include:

  • Financially more viable – This is, of course, very subjective, and it will depend on your individual property situation. An extension can easily burn a hole in your pocket or tie you to some stressful monthly payments if you remortgage your house. In contrast, if you move to a cheaper location, this can actually prove more cost-effective for you or even help you make a profit. Also, first-time buyers (say, your son is ready to leave the nest) are often eligible for first-buyer relief.
  • No stressful building work – We doubt very much that turning your place into a building site for months is your dream idea of how to expand your living space. On that note, if you play your cards right, do your research and choose your new home and location wisely, you can sell, buy and move into the ideal property and, this way, avoid the experience of dealing with builders and renovators.
  • Enhancing lifestyle – There have been quite a few relocation hotspots registered recently in the country with regard to the increased interest of homeowners who want to improve their quality of life. By moving to a nice suburb or town with cheaper properties, say, near London, folks aim to get that peace and quiet, as well as provide a safer environment for their children. After all, we all got used to the new normal of working from home (if the job allows it), so why not enjoy a better work-life balance in a bigger house with a larger garden further away from the city?

House moving can be stressful, but the experienced professionals of Fantastic Services can handle every job and assist you with the relocation.

The disadvantages of moving

The biggest drawback of moving is mainly related to cost and time. Again, this is strictly individual, so we cannot generalise too much here. In short, you may have to budget for a housing deposit (if you’re buying a more expensive property), survey fees, conveyancing fees, (in some cases, pay stamp duty), estate agent fees and removals expenses.

Timewise, especially if you’re selling up first, the process of going through viewings, signing up a deal, buying and moving may take a while. In other words, you’ll need to plan well, pick a good estate agent and hope for the best. Here are a few more disadvantages of making such a big step in your life. Here are a few more disadvantages of the choice to move house instead of adding an extension.

  • Parting with friends and extended family – This will apply if you move further away and across counties to start a new life with your family. These days, many Londoners are looking into moving to Cornwall or Devon by sea, which will be a significant change for you if you’re considering making a similar decision.
  • Allowing time for packing and moving – Packing your possessions and moving can also add to the stress. So, it’s best to organise your relocation well in advance, take the advice of professionals on how to pack your kitchen appliances, furniture and personal belongings, as well as do your homework when picking a reputable removals company to help you in the process.
  • The risk of not adapting well and missing your “old life” – Yes, there’s no way of knowing how well you and your family will adjust to your new life in a location that you’re not so familiar with. Imagine your children having to deal with adapting to their new school, the strange neighbours you’ll have to get used to, the lack of certain shops or takeaways that you’ve been going for years and now miss… Our best advice is to learn to embrace the positive and see the move as a new adventure.
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Should I extend my home or move?

No matter if you decide to extend or move, you need to be well prepared for both options. There is no right or wrong answer as far as which is better. It all depends on what is more important to you in terms of personal preference as well as your financial resources.

Moving is time-consuming and stressful. It can be difficult to fund, and separating your family from friends and familiar neighbourhood can have long-term adverse effects. However, it will be less stressful if you move to a larger home in the same area. And in some cases, based on what you are looking for, a new home may be more cost-effective and more suitable than extending your house.

On the other hand, extending is a better choice in the areas where it is difficult to buy a property, especially if you love your neighbourhood or your children attend a good school. So, if you get the necessary space, building a house extension will be worth it, despite the financial investment.

As you see, there are a lot of pros and cons to each of these decisions, so if you aren’t sure which is the better option for you, then it’s important to take the time to weigh up all the benefits and drawbacks of what you are going to lose and gain choosing to extend or move.

Just purchased a new house and need help moving?

Are you making the move of opening a new chapter in your life any time soon? Then, why not choose Fantastic Services to assist you? We provide all-in-one removals services performed by experienced moving experts who are equipped with modern Luton or Transit vans.

We can help you with various tasks, from decluttering your home, cleaning it and clearing unnecessary furniture to providing moving boxes, packing all your stuff carefully and transporting it securely to your new home.

Whatever your moving needs are, we can customise the service to meet them to the last detail. And if you wish to temporarily place something in storage, we’ll organise this for you. Just contact us online or via phone, and we’ll take it from there!

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Takeaways

  • Extending your home to increase your living space is a feasible option if you’ve got the space outdoors or indoors and your property is not under some specific building restrictions.
  • Building an extension has its drawbacks, such as dealing with local planning authorities, so think twice if this is the path for you!
  • Moving to a new house has its advantages and disadvantages, too, depending on your individual situation.
  • Always choose a trusted building company to complete your house extension project!
  • Shop around and hire reputable removal specialists who can meet every aspect of your relocation!

Disclaimer: Every piece of information here is meant for informational and educational purposes only. So please, do not use this as a definitive legal basis. Fantastic Services encourages you to seek authority professional counsel before you decide to act upon what you have read. For more information, check our disclaimer.

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Did you find this article helpful? Are you confronted with the dilemma of moving or extending? Please, tell us more in the comments below!

Image source: Shutterstock/Paul Maguire

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