Should you move and up-size or extend your property?

Let’s face it, we all have thought at one time or another that we need more space at home. Specially if you live in cities such as London, Hong Kong or New York, where properties are usually of modest proportions. For example, according to the Office for National Statistics, properties across London are some of the smallest in the United Kingdom. 45% of them have a median size of only 78sqm. So if you are a city dweller and you are looking for additional space, what is right for you? Should you look at moving into a bigger property or should you make the most of your current home?

An increasing number of homeowners seem to believe that improving their current property is a better option than moving to a larger one. Recent research by TSB found out that at least one fifth of all property owners in the UK are considering extending their property rather than moving, with exorbitant costs of acquiring a larger property driving the trend. The relaxation of planning laws, allowing for homeowners to add rear extensions to their properties without planning permission, have also helped extensions seem as the most viable solution to space dilemmas. The same research by TSB found that one fifth of homeowners are in fact planning to extend their home within the next three years. When asked for the reason for this decision, 50% of homeowners said they were emotionally attached to their current property, 49% said they were not comfortable or couldn’t afford with the cost of moving to a larger home and 25% said that they would not consider moving as their current property was in a location that worked well for them.

The cost of up-sizing is not a fixed one and one of the key factors driving cost is location.  The cost of upsizing property could vary from tens of thousands of pounds for areas in Wales, the North East and the North West, to hundreds of thousands in London and parts of the South West. For example, upgrading from a flat to a semi-detached property in Wales could be achieved with a budget of just under £40,000, while the same move in London would see you part with at least £160,000.

A second factor that drives the cost of an up-size move is the type of property you are looking for. If you are planning to move from a semi-detached property to a detached property for example, you would need to have a budget of at least £100,000 in most areas of the UK. If you are trying to do so in London you better be ready to part with at least £200,000.

If the above figures make your head spin, then you might instead consider extending or improving your current property. But extending your home comes with its own set of factors to consider. For example, you must think if your investment is likely to pay dividends in the long-run or if the type of extension you are planning will indeed provide you with the benefits you are looking for. In most cases, experts agree that where space is a commodity, adding any floor area will add value. However, one must also take into consideration design, layout, trends and functionality if you want your investment to be a sound one. And don’t forget, you will also need to consider the time these extensions take to be completed. This means coming to terms with living, albeit temporarily, in a construction site.

But if you have decided that extending your home is the right move, then the next step is decide, what works for you and your type of property. Extending your home can mean many things; from loft conversions to kitchen extensions, conservatories to basement conversions. And within each one of these categories, there are many things to keep in mind: the size and complexity of the project, style, materials used, the quality of the work and the current state of your property and of course, your budget.

For example, one of the most favoured ways to add extra space to a home is a loft conversion. A versatile solution, a loft conversion can extra bedroom to your home or create the perfect home office. Like any other extension project the complexity and size of the extension will drive the price but in London, expect to pay between £50,000 and £75,000 depending on the intricacy of the project and be ready to live in a construction site for approximately 8 weeks. As with most things, you must make sure that you work with a reputable builder to ensure that the process is a smooth one and the result is what you had in mind.

If you decide to add space to your home by creating a kitchen extension expect to pay between £50,000 to £65,000 depending on the complexity of the project. Other things that will influence how much you could spend in creating your dream kitchen are the existing and proposed space, the design and layout, structure, fixture and fittings, external appearance and internal remodelling. Adding details such as skylights, underfloor heating or premium fixtures and fittings will add to the bill, so make sure you work with a contractor that provides you with a clear picture of the entire cost of the project and that has fully grasped your needs and expectations. Don’t forget that rarely a kitchen extension will be a stand-alone project and more often than not, some work will have to be done in adjacent rooms. However, adding a good quality kitchen extension could add up to 15% the overall value of your home and as mentioned before, with the relaxation of some regulations, this particular type of extension can be a fantastic choice for you.

Other few things to consider when thinking of extending. Usually it is more affordable to extend out than to extend up. Even if you have a limited budget, a well thought out addition to your home will create more usable space, can enhance natural light and will most probably increase the property value. If you the plans for the extension interferes with your neighbour’s property, you may require a party wall agreement to continue. This means that you will have to obtain your neighbour’s permission before starting the work.

Be it a loft conversion or kitchen extension, a basement conversion or a double story extension, If you like so many other home owners in London are thinking of extending your property, give us a call – we would love to explore how we can be part of your project. Dominant Construction are always here to make your ideas into a reality.

Leave a Reply