To Extend, Or Not To Extend – That Is The Question

Have you recently discovered the joys of cooking and love entertaining, but you run out of worktop space after one chopping board? Have your children reached an age where they want friends around all the time, and you can’t cross the living room carpet without tripping over teenagers? Have you started working from home, and have concluded that the kitchen table is not a safe work space after you have discovered yet another butter smear on your paperwork?

There comes a time when you might need to acknowledge that your home no longer works for you or your family and that you need to look at your options.

But what are your options?

Sometimes, reconfiguring the room layouts or knocking a couple of rooms together might solve your problem. But often what you really need is more square meterage. So, do you look for a bigger house or do you extend the one you live in?

There is not always a black and white answer to that question. So many factors come in to play.

Moving can give you an opportunity to start from scratch on what will hopefully be your forever home. But perhaps you love where you live – location, location, location – perfectly placed for the school run, near the best place to walk your dog, close to your favourite pub or coffee shop, ideally situated for your commute. Moving house is stressful and there are costs on top of the new mortgage.

Can you extend? If you live in a flat, probably not, so you might need to start looking for somewhere else. But if you live in a house, you can extend down, up, and out. In London, where space is priced at a premium, digging down and adding a basement is a brilliant way of adding rooms to your house. But in most places, that might not be the best solution. But extending up into a loft space if there is sufficient head room could be amazing. And extending out to the front, side or back of your property could be the perfect solution.

What do you need to think about before extending?

Think about exactly what you need to make your current home work for you. Speak to a local, reputable builder about the project to find out what is feasible and cost effective. Ask for a budget cost for the work, including plans, planning permission and any other application fees. Speak to an estate agent about the value of your home. Add the budget cost to the value of your home, subtract the costs of a potential move and use that figure to work out if there is anything you could buy that would fulfil your requirements.

Sometimes an estate agent will tell you that the cost of the extension will not add the same amount of value to your home once the work is complete so you would not recoup the investment in your home. It is of course important that you think about whether the sort of extension you want is desirable in the market in general, but the investment is as much in your life as it is in the monetary value of your home. If you plan to live in the house for the next decade then why not invest in your enjoyment of the house. What is it worth to you? What value does it add to you?

Adding a kitchen extension to make a big family room with plenty of space for even the most elaborate culinary concoctions will make all the difference and everyone can enjoy the fruits of your labour! Adding a sun room so you can relax with a cup of coffee and a good book while your teenage kids and their friends can sprawl about in the living would be perfect! Adding a dedicated office with a desk and plenty of quiet, private space to do your professional best would be amazing!

Whether you choose to move or choose to turn your current house into your dream home, it’s all about what you get out of it. Does it ‘spark joy’? Now that is the question!

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