Is it Better to Extend or Move House?

Over the past two years, two things have made us question the longevity of staying in our well-loved current home. Firstly the birth of our third child and secondly lockdowns and the working from home guidance. We are lucky enough to live in a three-bedroom detached house on a family-friendly estate, close to our family, local schools and the countryside. The location is perfect for us. It is a short commute to the nearest city and a two-minute drive into the town. We feel very lucky to have bought this house 7 years ago, it has been a perfect base whilst the children are little.

However, we are a family of 5 through the week and 6 at weekends when my stepson comes to stay. We have 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom and my husband now works from home full time. Space is tight and ideally, we need 2 more bedrooms, a bathroom and an office space. Since our son was born 2 years ago, we knew we would have to do something about the house eventually. We have given ourselves a time limit of 2 years in which to save money and make a decision, but the big question is do we extend or do we move? As property gurus Kirstie and Phil say, do we love it or list it? Both options carry a cost and an amount of work, but which one will work best for us as a family?

Whenever there is such a big decision to make I tackle it the only way I know how and write a list of pros and cons. Ultimately we will have to go with the best fit for our budget and go with our gut feeling about what feels right for our family.

Should We Extend Our House?

Advantages of an Extension

Why should you extend your house? An extension can be planned out with an architect to your family’s exact preferences. It is unique to you and your family’s needs and the size and layout are in your hands. Dream big to include everything you need and then you have the option to scale back as many steps as you need to fit your budget. It may be an option to plan out the extension in stages and to complete each stage as you have the budget.

A well thought out extension can add value to your house and be a good investment and it can be cheaper than moving house. Calculate the projected value of the house once the work has been completed to help balance out the cost and time of an extension versus the end value. Take care to not spend more than the ceiling cap of the houses in your area to reap the rewards if you do come to sell in the future. An extension is a big undertaking but it gives you the possibility of creating your own dream house.

Extending your house also means you can continue to live there and you don’t have the trouble of packing up and moving. For us, the children can continue to go to the same school and we’re still close by to our family.

Disadvantages of an Extension

You can price yourself out of the market on your street if costs rise too high. If you sell the house you won’t be able to recoup your losses.

Costs can run away with themselves, having strict budgeting is needed.

You end up living in a building site for an unknown period. In our position, with three young children, it may be challenging for us to keep some normality.

Building work always seems to take longer than is originally thought and problems can arise as the build goes on which adds to the time and cost.

Will planning permission be granted and will your neighbours be receptive to the building work? We have a good relationship with our neighbours but this can be a bone of contention for some. It is worth a friendly conversation to see how the land lies with those who live next door.

5 Important Questions You Should Ask When Considering an Extension?

  1. Is there space for an extension?
  2. Can you afford an extension?
  3. Will the extension add value to your house?
  4. Can you get the builders you want within the timeframe that you have?
  5. Can you get planning permission?

How Much Does An Extension Cost?

The cost of an extension can vary greatly according to what your needs are and what type of extension you have planned. Getting estimates from recommended builders and asking for the price per square metre can be a good way to compare prices and check affordability. When planning a budget a good starting point is to plan for approximately £1100 to £1500 per square metre, if planning a kitchen or bathroom increase this further. Extensions can be complicated things, so remember this is a starting point to give you an idea of the price but talk to your builder to get a more accurate figure.

Plan where you will get your funds from. It may be easier to release equity from your current house to extend than to sell and transfer your mortgage or get another mortgage.

Should We Move House?

Advantages of Moving House

The prospect of moving house is very exciting. It opens up new possibilities in terms of the house layout and increased size. It can save you from needing to live on a building site. You could move into a house that’s ready to go or you could take on a project. For us, with three young children, a house that needs just a lick of paint certainly sounds very appealing.

Disadvantages of Moving House

Buying a new home is about finding a house with the right size, space and location. Can you find a house in the location that you want and is it affordable? In our situation, buying a 5 bedroom house in our chosen location is a few years away. Therefore compromises would be needed with location, which leads us to move further away from the children’s schools. This is not something that we want to do.

Moving into a new build or a house that is ready and to your taste is ideal for some but it would carry a larger price tag. A project house may be of better value but again work may be needed to get the house to how you want it and the house may not be ready straight away to move into. Where would you stay in the meantime whilst work is carried out? Renting temporarily is an additional cost that uses up your precious budget.

5 Important Questions You Should Ask When Considering Moving House

  1. Do you have the budget to move? Can you cover all of the additional expenses (of which there are many) such as stamp duty? Is any additional money needed for any renovation work?
  2. Are there houses on the market that suit your criteria in terms of size, location and price?
  3. Is your own house ready to put on the market?
  4. Can you afford the mortgage for the size of the house that you need?
  5. Can you get a good mortgage deal?

How Much Does a House Move Cost?

Crunching the numbers is essential when considering moving house. Calculate your mortgage payment to check it matches your budget. Take into consideration the cost of a new mortgage with additional fees needed in the moving process.

Barclays calculated the average cost of moving house in the UK is around £9,000. This is on top of the price of your new mortgage payments. This cost is made up of fees from stamp duty to surveys and removal companies to temporary storage.

Should We Extend or Move House?

Our time scale of 2 years, gives us some time to make a decision. At present we are leaning towards an extension as there are not many houses for sale that meet our criteria. We know we can add value to our house with an extension. There is a demand for houses in our area, so reselling could be done in the future. An extension and then a house move later is a possibility if the right house comes up. We are still going to keep an eye on the local housing market. You never know what might come up, maybe a surprise or two!

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