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When you need extra space in your home, is it better to extend or to move?

There are lots of reasons why we might find ourselves needing more space in our home – a new baby, an elderly relative moving in, and commonly – especially in these strange times – the need to have a suitable space in which to work from home. If your current home no longer fits the bill for what you need it for, then it’s time to ask the question: should I move house or should I extend my current space? Here are some factors to consider when deciding what to do.

Cost

Generally speaking – all other things being equal – moving home to a bigger home is more expensive than paying to extend your current home to increase its size. Of course, the biggest driver in this is that it costs so much money to buy a bigger property. Rightmove reports that the average price difference between a 3 bedroom house and a 4 bedroom house is a staggering £183,000. Imagine the kind of extension you could get for that kind of money! Another factor to consider is the taxes that are due upon a home move. Here in the UK stamp duty tax rates in the UK vary by region, but as an example, buying a £500,000 home in Scotland would cost £21,250 in stamp duty. This would go a long way towards paying for the building work to extend an existing residence. And that’s before the legal costs of buying and selling a property, as well as moving costs.

Financing an extension and a moving to a larger home move are both usually done via the same method: remortgaging.

I recently discovered a site that contains lots of really helpful calculators including this UK mortgage calculator. One of the best features about the mortgage calculator is that it allows you to test how affordable the mortgage might be in the future. You can play around with the initial and subsequent % rate adjustments which is helpful because although interest rates are low now, they will of course rise in the future so it’s really important to ask yourself if you would still be able to afford the mortgage if there was to be a rate rise in years to come.

Location

Of course, not everything comes down to money when considering moving home or extending your existing home. Are you happy in the area you currently live in? Do you get along with your neighbours? Are your kids happy in their schools? If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’ then it makes staying put and extending more appealing. But if the answer is ‘no’ then maybe it is time to look for a new home.

Practicality

A very important consideration is whether or not an extension to your current home is practical or even possible at all. Many properties have attic space which could be extended into, but for some properties this is not doable. If you have a large enough garden it should be possible to build out into this space, but if you are already struggling with a tiny backyard then this might not work. I would highly recommend speaking to an architect – they can use their wealth of knowledge and experience to suggest various options, including ones that you might not have thought of before. You may be surprised by how even an internal reconfiguration may be able to give you the space you need.

In conclusion

It seems to me that if you are able to and if you are happy with your current location, then extending is the right way to go. A report commissioned by Santander tells us that during the first major lockdown that many British homeowners felt the same way – there wa a boom in planning applications.

I’d love to hear if you’ve ever had to choose between extending and moving and the reasons for your choice – let me know in the comments below!

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