After more than a year of uncertainty, few of us would have predicted a boom in the housing market, yet that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now. According to Rightmove, house sales in March 2021 were the highest they’ve been in a decade and buyers are flocking to the property website. Spending more time at home has forced us to look at the way we live and make some much-needed changes. But is selling your only option? Is it better to move house or extend?

If you don’t want to sell-up, but you’re lacking space, it might be time to consider an extension. In this blog, we break down some of the misunderstandings that still exist around property development and look at some of the advantages to extending the home you love. We’ll look at planning rules, house extension costs in the UK, and how to minimise disruption and keep your neighbours onside.

 

Planning rules

If you’re considering whether to move house or extend, but the thought of applying for planning permission sends you running for the hills, then we have some good news. In 2019, the rules were relaxed so homeowners could extend their property without permission.

You can now build a single-storey rear extension of up to 6 metres for a semi-detached, and 8 metres for a detached house, under new ‘permitted development rights’. There are some exceptions to this though, for example your rights may be restricted if:

• you live in a flat or maisonette
• you live in a designated area like a national park or an area of outstanding beauty
• your plans for an extension are bigger than the existing property

Regardless of whether your extension needs planning permission or not, it must still meet building regulations – the minimum standards for design, construction, and alteration to all buildings.
Don’t let any of this concern you though because professionals are on hand to guide you through everything you need.

 

Investment potential

By choosing to extend rather than move, you’ll save money on stamp duty, estate agency fees, conveyancing, removal fees, and most of all a house deposit. Not to mention the cost of redecorating when you move in, whether that’s a cheap coat of paint or a complete kitchen re-fit.

House extension costs in the UK start from just £1,200 per square metre depending on the size, number of storeys, glazing, and fixtures and fittings. When pricing up your house extension, be sure to include these frequently over-looked costs in your budget.

• Architect fees for drawing up plans
• Planning permission (if required)
• A slight increase in your house insurance
• A party wall surveyor if required – more on this later

A single-storey house extension is a cost-effective way of transforming your living space and adding value to the property.

 

Minimal disruption

It’s common for people to worry about the upheaval of renovating when considering whether to move house or extend. For one thing there’s the mess, then the fact you’ll be sharing your space with strangers. Is the temporary inconvenience worth the long-term gain?

Don’t let these doubts deter you from extending your home with a custom, quality build. The right builder will make the process easy from start to finish, and that includes keeping dirt and noise to a minimum. We, at Total Trades, understand your concerns, and we will care for your home as if it were our own.

We work to a set of company standards, that include:
• clear and transparent communication
• an agreed budget upfront and small staged payments
• hand-picked, reliable sub-contractors (where required)
• project management throughout with regular updates

If you’re looking for a builder to help make your dream a reality, check out our top tips for finding reliable trades people in our blog: ‘Builders – how to spot the good, the bad, and the ugly.’

 

Happy neighbours

You might be wondering how all this will affect your neighbours. If the building work will impact on a shared property boundary, known as a ‘party wall’, then you must inform them early on.
Party walls are owned by two or more people, and are either:
• part of a building
• another boundary, such as a garden wall (not wooden fences)

In this case, you’ll need a ‘party wall agreement’. This is different from planning permission and building regulations approval, already covered above. The Party Wall Act was designed to avoid disputes between neighbours by making the process for reaching an agreement easier.

We make it a priority to look after our clients’ neighbours on every build site, keeping excess noise and dirt to an absolute minimum. We talk to them and always ensure that any dust is cleaned from their property at the first available opportunity.

 

So, move house or extend?

A house might just be bricks and mortar, but our homes are full of memories formed over years of living in the same place – it’s an attachment that we don’t want to break. Maybe you like the area, your children are settled at school, or you get along great with your neighbours and don’t want to lose that connection. There are lots of reasons people don’t want to move house, and there is another option.

If you choose to extend, you can transform the home you love with added space and functionality custom made for your family. Extending doesn’t have to be stressful – changes to planning permission, and straightforward guidelines to safeguard your neighbours, have simplified the process.
Most of all, the right builder can make it a hassle-free, enjoyable experience. If you’re considering whether to move house or extend, contact us for a friendly chat about how we can work together.