Is it Best to Extend or Move Home?
The family is growing up, the decor needs a revamp and the garage outside is no longer used for storing the car.
So, should you move or extend your home?
When trying to work out the best decision, there is more than money to factor in!
Location, Location, Location
Where you live is always key.
Your friends, family, work, schools and even local businesses are all around you. You have come to know the best routes to get to where you are going and you like your location. Perhaps not too central and yet not far away.
When considering a move this should be a main driving factor, but what if you already live in the ‘perfect’ location?
Should you consider extending then?
That all depends on what you can extend to and how much you are going to change the dynamic of the homes around you.
It is important to know that when you build an extension it is not only your home that is going to undergo a change, but also your neighbours too.
They may lose light to their garden or you may inadvertently cause reflections into their windows from glass that wasn’t there before.
There is the big issue of removing vegetation. In a world where we are trying to protect our environment as much as possible, the big change an extension may make potentially changes someone else’s home too.
That said, why should you care?
At the end of the day you still have your neighbours, and they influence the way your ‘perfect’ location feels. If you upset them, that dynamic can become awkward, and living in your new extension now becomes more about what everyone else is doing than you enjoying the extra space.
Consider the extension in line with the upheaval of those around you. A sunroom, conservatory or opening up a dining room and kitchen to extend out to the garden may create little impact on sightlines and light.
If you are considering going for a larger extension that gets close to your neighbours boundary fence or is a two-story extension, be prepared that your location may be changing far more rapidly than a few scaffolding poles. It may change your neighbourly living too.
Schools and Amenities
Do you want to stay close to the things you love?
I briefly mentioned this point above but it does need further investigation.
Since we have all been in school and know the value of friendships this is a major change for any child. Moving away is a big upheaval and one not to be taken lightly.
Personally, I think the change is good and encourages children to learn how to talk to new people and form lasting friendships, but not everyone is the same and that must be considered.
It is not only schools that are important but also fitness groups, business meetups and your local shop know who you are. These all matter.
You probably also know a group of reliable tradespeople or at the very least know who to ask to find you one.
These are friendships built over time and are long-lasting, but never be under the illusion that they continue when you move away from an area. They rarely do as we will discuss next.
Friends and Family
Moving can be a huge upheaval for family and friends, especially if you move more than 10 – 15 minutes away. So a move is also a new selection of friends.
If we stay close we keep in contact with our friends, and if we move far we make new friends, but move just to far away for people not to visit but near enough to think they will and you will be left not making new friends and rarely seeing old ones.
This is a huge dilema when moving. Often people will say they will visit you when you move, but soon the time inbetween visits gets longer and longer.
Family miss you growing up and having you
One area that should be considered are transport links. How easy is it to get around now vs if you move?
When considering a moving or extending, consider how much you are charged for parking and transport costs getting to and from locations you frequently visit.
Perhaps a move will put you on a more direct transport link and give you back more hours in your day for you to enjoy your family and new home. That has to be a winning argument for any move over an extension.
There are massive implications if you move to a place where you are further isolated because you cannot get the right links to places.
For instance, in your current home you take 2 busses to get to your favorite shopping center, whereas moving my make it 3.
What about rush hours. Some places that have high property values and lovely neighbourhoods result in people sitting in horrendous traffic jams due to small roads and bottlenecks.
Moving would seem better for a more rewarding life, not spent sitting in a car.
Cost of Building
How much will the extension cost?
There are a number of costs involved with an extension. First, you will normally require planning permission for any major extension you require for your home.
It is especially important if you will be affecting a neighbour(s).
If you are modifying internal parts of your home, you will generally be required to get a letter of comfort or for more structural changes, planning permission.
Then comes the cost of architectural plans, finding a trustworthy builder, materials, delays and family upheaval if the extension is a major one. Possibly even hotel costs and storage fees.
MyBuilder has a good guide on the general costs for a house extension to get you started. You can find the link here if you are looking for a monetary value.
Cost of Moving
How much will a move cost? I have a Buying a Home Cost Calculator that can be used to work out the rough cost for buying a new home to act as a guide to get you started.
You may find this cost a more acceptable cost when measured against the upheaval you will face when having an extension built. There is a massive amount of time you will be unable to use your home when you extend plus there are additional people on site too.
Will an Extension add Value?
Not all extensions bring value!
Imagine for a moment that a home has a small garden and an owner decided to build an office for themselves and sacrificed part of the garden for it.
A family looking for a garden for their children may be put off by the smaller space.
What about a poorly built extension? These will be shown in a home report and also work against a higher home sale.
Then there is also the cost of an extension verse the return on that extension. If you are building a £30,000 extension you will want to see the value of you home at least increase by £30,000, but this is not the way it works.
Home prices are linked to area and then to build quality. Yes, you may have the highest price in the area but it may not be enough to cover the outlay of building an extension.
On the other hand, a home can vastly be improved by an extension, generate plenty of interest in a sale and cause potential buyers to bid for it raising the price.
For example, a home that has two bedrooms would benefit from getting a third and perhaps a downstairs toilet. The addition of an office, wired up and ready to go could also be a gym studio, arts and crafts space, or additional living space.
It is difficult to tell what will add value to your home and be able to recoup your costs, but one thing that is certain is that you must have all the required permits and use professional services to complete your build.
That is one sure way that you will get some/all of your money back!
When it’s Right to Move?
When there are stairs, elderly moving in, office space, newborns, New builds, road changes, motorways, neighbour grumbles, jobs…
There are plenty of times it is absolutely right to move. If your extension is going to leave you with a small garden, unhappy neighbours, an awkward workaround to move your bins from the back to front, or access issues, then consider a move.
Perhaps you are about to move out of your first home, your starter pad and it is time to have something a bit better for you and your family, then it is a great decision.
When prices are right in the property market and you are not going to load yourself up with a mortgage that will cripple your way of life for years to comes with the possibility of never recouping your costs.
When it’s Wrong to Move
Try to consider the market you are moving in. In 2021 the property market is very bouyant with homes going far over asking price due to a stock shortage and changing needs for home workers. The explosion of working from home is real and people are responding to that need for additional space by looking to move.
Consider the cost of building a small home office in your garden with electrical connections and an upgraded internet connection over the high costs of moving currently while you search for your next home.
While you are waiting for the market to settle try to make your current home more manageable, like building better storage options that you can discuss with builders or decorators who will be happy to help you find a solution.
Ask an architect for advice on what can be achieved in your style of home. It may be better to spend some money getting ideas before you make sell and move.
There are many considerations to take into account when deciding to extend or move. It is not just about the money, as there is always an alternative solution that can be made.
Take a little time to write the pros and cons and remember to treat whatever you decide as an adventure you can undertake with plenty of excitement. Both moving or extending will offer design options, creativity and a fresh outlook on the home you will love.
The garden you have, may be great, but moving to a garden bathed in sunlight, all of a sudden becomes a completely different lifestyle choice.
I would love to hear the reasons that made you move or extend and what was the result. Get in touch to tell me about them.
Maurice is a Glasgow Based Estate Agent, working with clients to maximise the value of their homes in the Scottish property market.
Helping to sell, buy and find homes in and around Glasgow, Maurice is part of making those dreams a reality for clients wishing to move or finding their next home and offers a number of services to support and guide clients to a successful conclusion.