Throughout our lives, what we look for from a home is in ever-changing flux. As our families grow, we need more space. And with an increasing percentage of the population moving to a permanent working from home basis, makeshift offices in the family dining kitchen may no longer be a viable long-term solution.
During what is fast becoming the Summer of Home Renovations, homeowners across the country are turning their attention to the task of home improvements. For those who have outgrown their existing four walls, but who are wary of venturing onto the market, the prospect of adapting their current home to better suit their needs, is an appealing one.
In unprecedented times, the housing market has been described as ‘buoyant’ these last 18 months. There is no doubt that prices have risen, sharply in some areas, and that it has been a seller’s market.
So, the question presents itself: to extend, or to sell?
Extensions: pros and cons
There are lots of benefits to remaining in the same home. No upheaval, no packing, no worry about what the new neighbours will be like. On the whole, extending your home is usually a cost-effective move, that will add value to your home when the time does come to sell.
However, home extensions do not come free of all the stress that moving home entails. Some things are unavoidable, namely time, money and the paperwork involved in planning applications (which vary from district to district), architect drawings and – of course – the build itself. Architectural drawings can cost around £500-£1000 (and these may need to be revised if your initial application is unsuccessful). Single storey extensions vary in cost but you can expect to part with around £20,000+, and that’s for the bare bricks.
Alongside the unavoidable, there is also the unpredictable to contend with. According to the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), construction output growth hit a 24-year high in June 2021 due to an increase in demand and confidence in the building industry, alongside the recommencement of projects halted during the height of the pandemic.
And therein lies the rub. This sharp increase in building work, combined with the looming spectres of Brexit and stuck cargo ships on the Suez Canal has seen a twofold effect: both a shortage of and a sharp spike in the cost of building materials and products.
With cost increases, contractors in high demand and shortage of supplies, the overall cost and timescale for your ‘simple’ home extension could be far greater than you imagined.
A new home: pros and cons
Everybody knows the old adage: moving home is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do. But so is getting married, and having children, or even getting a new puppy. Every exciting thing in life comes with a little stress attached. And besides, packing up and moving isn’t quite the same as living with holes in the wall and roof and scaffolding over the windows for an indeterminate period whilst your builder tries to source roof tiles from all four corners of the kingdom.
When it comes to selling your home, if you can manage the stress – and find the right people to help manage that stress for you, the process can be a little more manageable and predictable.
And yes, there are costs involved. Of course there are. Deposits, surveys, conveyancing and stamp duty. This is unavoidable, but with forward planning, communication and foresight, these are all factors that are within your control.
Ask yourself, is your current home serving all your needs (apart from needing an extension)? Will the extension solve all the current issues you have with your home? Think carefully about this. If you’ve never been keen on the size of your garden, will adding an extension make this situation better or worse? If the noise from the busy road outside has always been a bugbear, chances are it will still be there even after the extension has been completed.
Now is the perfect time to evaluate all the things you both love, and are less than happy with, about your home. Perhaps an extension will solve the problems. If not, moving to a home that ticks all the boxes sounds like it may be a more sensible move.
Get in touch
To talk more about the pros and cons of moving home in the current climate, or if you are considering going on the market, contact us and let us see what we can do to help you on your journey.