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Is it better to extend or move house?

It's natural at this time of year to start thinking ahead to what the next 12 months might bring. What do you want to achieve? What are your big spending priorities for 2022? You might be weighing up the value of extending your home or considering moving house, but which is more cost effective? In this blog, we ask, is it better to extend or move house?


Move house or extend – how much can you afford?

When you're deciding between moving house or extending, consider how much you can afford to spend. If you already have the money saved up then you've got a clear budget to work with, but for those who need to borrow the money, it's worth checking how much your lender is willing to give you first – it could be the deciding factor.

Think about what you are getting for your money and if it's worth it. We recommend getting a quote for an extension, adding this to the current value of your house and looking at what you could buy in this price range if you were to move house.

You might find that house prices have increased so much that the next step up to a bigger house is more than you can afford. There's no doubt that extending can be cheaper than buying a house, particularly, if you're planning to stay there long-term.

When you extend, you'll save money on stamp duty, estate agency fees, conveyancing, removers and then any decorating when you finally arrive. A fresh coat of paint is unlikely to cost the earth, but if you need to replace the bathroom or kitchen, you could be looking at thousands of pounds on top of what you've already paid for the house.

That's not to say there are no costs involved in extending. You may have to pay for architectural drawings, planning permission, and building regulation checks. A reputable builder will go through all of this with you at the outset before they start the work.


Will an extension add value to the property?

The right extension can add between 5 and 15% to the value of your property.
Property experts agree that loft conversions, basement fit-outs, and side and rear extensions are all worthwhile additions to your home that could increase its value.

However, an inappropriate or poorly-built house extension can lower your asking price. Consider the size of your plot when you're deciding on the type of extension for your home – the absence of a driveway or garden can put buyers off. Likewise, a large living space downstairs with tiny bedrooms upstairs is no good for a growing family.

When you're asking, is it better to extend or move house? consider how much similar-sized properties have sold for in your area. It's important to understand the local market, when you're setting a budget for your extension, so you don't overstretch yourself.


What are the rules on house extensions?

If you're thinking about extending, the thought of having to jump through hoops to get planning permission can be off-putting. But we're pleased to say that since the government's changed the planning laws, this is now a lot easier to navigate.

In 2019, the government scrapped the requirement for council permission on some single-storey extensions in a bid to make the process easier for homeowners.

There are some exceptions to these new rules, for example, if you:
• live in a flat or maisonette
• live in a designated area, such as a national park
• are planning an extension bigger than the existing property

Regardless of whether your extension is classed as a 'permitted development', it will still need to meet building regulations. These regulations are enforced by the local authority, and in most cases, you will need an inspector to come out and sign-off the work. A reputable building company, like Total Trades, will organise this on your behalf.

Though there is a fee to have someone inspect the work, most builders will include this in their estimate so you'll know upfront how much it will cost.


Moving house versus extending – timescales

Moving house is renowned for being plagued with delays, and sadly, Covid-19 has only served to make this worse. It can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, from chasing solicitors to waiting for paperwork, and that's after you've found a buyer.

Having an extension is likely to be quicker, but it won't happen overnight. The building industry has never been busier and reputable companies are booked up in advance. If you find a builder who can start straight away, consider why they aren't in demand.

Lots of people ask us, is it better to extend or move house? and of course, we've picked up lots of useful advice after nearly 20 years in the building industry. Our top tip for anyone thinking about extending is to pick the right builder or risk regretting it later.

You can read more on this in our blog '7 tips for finding a reliable builder'.

Talk to your builder about how long the work will take, if your house will be liveable while the work is taking place, and when they can fit you in. These things will help you come up with a realistic plan, and a start and end date that you can all agree on.


So, should I move house or extend?

Ultimately, when it comes to the question, is it better to extend or move house? it really comes down to your own personal circumstances. How much you can afford to spend is often the deciding factor between choosing to stay or go.

Total Trades specialise in house extensions in Doncaster, Scunthorpe and the surrounding areas. If you're looking for a reputable builder you can trust – you've come to the right place. So, is it better to extend or move house? contact us today for help deciding.

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