Extend or Move? For some extending their home can be the perfect solution, for others a costly nightmare, so, is extending the right solution for you and how do you decide?

This dilemma is quite a common one, we’re often sat down with clients who are facing this very challenge. The answer is never a straight forward one and often the biggest complication is the emotional aspect.

For many people the financial calculation is the easier of the two, we tackle some of that question in our article Extending My Home: How Much Money Will I Make?

The following are some of the things we ask people to consider and there are three steps to help you decide whether you Extend or Move.

How do you decide? The first thing to do is the same as for anyone considering moving.

Number One: 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 intangible about your home, it may be the location, convenience, space.

Number Two: Compile a separate list of the things you don’t have, things that you not only want but more importantly you need. You may want a triple garage but if a new property had another important feature, but not the triple garage, which would you sacrifice in choosing?

Now for the part where, for the potential home extender, a little more work is needed.

Number Three: There is a third list you must compile and this time you must take a critical look not only at your current home but at what it will become if you extend. Take a look at the homes around you and nearby. Will your extension suit the environment and by that we not only mean aesthetically but practically.

Don’t build a carbuncle, something whose looks jar or that is so huge or disproportionate that future buyers will baulk at viewing. We all have an inner snob and look to purchase in suitable surroundings. It may be a fantastic four bedroom semi but if all the other homes are one and two bedroom terraces, are we going to have the right age families around us and will people be reluctant to invest money at a price way above the neighbours’ homes? It’s a brilliant five bedroom detached house but this is the road to retire to not bring up a family. One of the common frustrations: It’s a beautiful family home but because they’ve built over the garden there’s no space outside for the kids!

If you love your home then be conscious that it won’t feel the same when you extend? Are you prepared for this? If you have limitless funds then anything is possible; for most of us there will be a point where the budget prohibits us from doing something, will it be one compromise too many?

We’ve seen many extensions that have enhanced homes beyond compare but we’ve also seen some that compromise them and make selling harder.

There is another important thing to consider:

The Aggravation Factor. No one likes moving home, it’s disruptive, ‘aggravating’, it breaks up our routine and disrupts work, in fact everything in our life is affected.

Have you lived for three months or more on a building site, in a caravan or in temporary accommodation? For some of you the cost of extending may make sense but the disruption to your life may be too great to bear, there is nothing wrong in that, don’t be afraid to move if it will prove to be easier on you and the family in the long run.

Don’t forget the planners! Anything you intend doing by way of extension you should check first whether it will meet planning guidelines.

Building regulations: If you do finally extend please get them completed. When you finally decide to move and one day you will, it’s much less stressful having the correct paperwork to hand than having to deal with it retrospectively.

Deciding whether to move or stay is something very personal and only you can make the decision.

There are plenty of people to help you get the right answers and make sure you ask the right questions. Talk to your estate agent about the pros and cons. Talk to builders and architects. Talk to friends. Look around your area for properties others have extended. Do they work?

If you are thinking of extending your home remember home is a feeling, not just a place.

Whatever you choose to do, to extend or move, choose the course of action that will make you and your family happy together; make life special!

Some Helpful Links

UK Planning portal for England and Wales

UK Planning portal for Scotland and Northern Ireland

Extending My Home: How much Money will I Make?

Royal Institute of British Architects

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