13 December 2022

Thinking twice about moving? A home extension could be the better bet

By Brooke Crisp Manager

Moving house is stressful at the best of times, but the recent surge in mortgage rates following the disastrous mini-budget has seen demand to buy drop by a third in just a few weeks, while figures from Halifax show the prices of houses have started to fall as we face the ongoing cost of living crisis.

After several years of soaring demand for houses, suddenly moving isn’t looking as attractive any more. So if you’re putting the brakes on your plans, why not look at the potential of the home you have now? A building extension can be a more cost-effective and hassle-free way to breathe new life into your property, while boosting its value for when the market recovers.

Caution in the property market

The stamp duty cut during the pandemic and the impact of lockdown on people’s priorities created resilience in the property market that has only faltered in recent months, as the cumulative effects of the cost of living crisis and volatility in the economy has hit home. It’s not just rapid rises in mortgage rates – we’re entering a period of recession, and dramatic drops in house prices are being talked about as a real possibility over the next two years.

If you’ve been considering moving house to somewhere with more space, then these are trends it’s important to keep an eye on. If house prices continue to fall, it could reduce your available equity to secure a new home – and you may struggle to find a buyer, increasing the stress of the situation.

The benefits of a home extension

Moving house isn’t your only option, however. If it’s more space you’re looking for, then a home extension is worth considering for the following reasons:

  • Adds more living space – from a bigger kitchen to the extra bedroom and bathroom you need, an extension boosts your living space without the hassle of a house move
  • Designed to your style – you can tailor your extension to your exact needs, so it’s perfect from the get go
  • Adds value – when you do look to sell, your extension will help boost its price, with extensions adding around 25% extra value for an average three bed semi-detached house. This figure may vary depending on your style and size of extension, but it can still be a beneficial investment now that pays back in future
  • Simpler than moving house – there’s no denying the uncertainty in the property market at the moment and moving house is inevitably a long and stressful process. An extension saves you the hassle, while transforming your home into something more suited to your lifestyle.

Preparing for the works

So before you get started on your extension, there are a few factors to consider when planning your project to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible:

Check what planning permission you need

Some extension types need planning permission and some don’t. It’s important to check before you get started so you can build any applications in to your schedule. As a rule, you’ll probably need planning permission if:

  • Your extension will cover at least half the area of land surrounding your home
  • You plan to increase the overall height of the building or build a balcony
  • You’re extending the side of a property across more than half the width of your house, or towards a road
  • You want to use different building materials to the rest of your home
  • Your home is listed or in a conservation area.

That said, some extensions fall within permitted development rights, for example single or double storey extensions of a certain size made of similar materials to your existing home – so it’s worth looking into this, or discussing it with your architect.

Keep it simple

Simplicity is key when it comes to any building work. Start by considering what you want your extension to be and how you want it to feel. Don’t feel pressured to make it as a big as possible or, on the other hand, to squeeze it into what’s allowed under your permitted development rights. It’s much more effective to lay out your ideal floor plan and then work backwards to make sure your extension matches your needs and enables you to make best use of the space, both inside and outside.

As for the design, more complicated architectural features will naturally cost more than simpler styles – for example chimneys, gables or anything involving architectural glass – so it’s worth weighing up your ideal extension design with the money you have to spend.

Budget realistically

The cost of both building materials and labour has risen recently, so it’s important to be realistic with what you can afford so you don’t get caught out down the line. A good tip is to list everything you’d like included in your extension and shop around for multiple quotes (VAT included) so you have an idea of what’s achievable within your budget.

Next, make sure you build in a contingency fund. Unexpected delays or unforeseen issues that arise during the course of the works may need extra money to fix, for example if a problem is uncovered with your existing house that needs to be resolved before the extension can be completed, or if you need to use different materials that cost a little more.

Supply chain issues can cause unexpected delays, as can natural events like bad weather, so a contingency fund is always helpful – a recommended amount is somewhere between 10% and 20% of your budget.

Protect yourself with the right insurance

Lastly, remember that standard home insurance is unlikely to give you full protection while your extension is being built – and this includes the rest of your home too. As a rule of thumb, home insurance only covers small renovations such as painting, decorating or replacing an existing bathroom or kitchen. It won’t cover any works that cost over £25,000 or offer protection for mistakes made by your contractors.

To keep yourself protected, looking into dedicated extension insurance. This offers protection for damage to your existing home, your liability if someone gets injured or a neighbouring property damaged, cover if you need to leave your house unoccupied during the works, and cover for your building materials and existing belongings too.

At Renovation Plan, our friendly team love to discuss your home improvement plans and offer advice on the insurance you need. Get in touch today for your quick and easy quote.

Want to find out more about extension insurance?

You can find further useful information on our extension insurance page. If you’re not ready to get a quote yet and would prefer to speak to someone, you can find the details by clicking here. We can’t wait to find out all about your project!