Sometimes decisions are made for you. For example, if you live in a flat and need extra space, then for the most part you just have to grit your teeth and go through the hassle of moving.
The one exception might be if you live in a garden flat, but this is very much the exception rather than the rule. Sometimes, however, the decision falls on you.
If you’re currently trying to decide whether to move or to extend your current home, here is some guidance to help.
Start by finding out what you can do
Before you get too carried away with the thoughts of extending your property, find out what you can actually do.
There are basically two aspects to this question.
First of all, you need to find out what your local authority will let you do and secondly you need to find out what is actually physically possible.
For example, even if your local authority is willing to let you do whatever you want, there might be limitations as to what the ground underneath your home can physically support (and vice versa).
Think about the likelihood of you staying in your home over the long term
The longer you can stay in your current home the more you, personally, will benefit from any improvements you make.
While extensions can add (significant) value to a property, you may not be able to recoup the full cost of them when you come to sell your home and even if you do, in fact even if you make a profit, you may not think it was worth the hassle you had to endure while the work was in progress.
In fact, if your only, or main, reason for wishing to extend your home is to increase its value, then you might be better to split the difference and get planning permission to show that it is possible to extend and then leave the buyer to decide whether or not to go forward with the extension.
It’s also worth noting that the value an extension can add to your home is very much context-dependant. For example, converting a garage can increase your living space, but it will deprive you of a garage.
How big of an impact that will have, will depend on the quality of public-transport in your area.
Weigh up the “inconvenience factor”
Moving home is often considered one of life’s most stressful events and that’s even without the hassle of having to sell an existing property and buy a new one (and deciding which to do first and potentially carrying two mortgages and/or having to apply for a refund of the Stamp Duty surcharge).
Extending your home, however, is not necessarily the “easy” solution. It basically depends on what kind of extension you have in mind.
Basically, if you are extending sideways, then the disruption should be relatively minimal, unless it puts a key room out of action, particularly a kitchen or bathroom.
If, however, you are extending upwards or downwards, then there can be serious disruption over an extended period, especially if the foundations of your property need to be reinforced.