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Is It Better To Move House Or Extend?

Martha Lott
Written by Martha Lott
19th September 2018 (Last updated on Monday 7th October 2019)

There’re many reasons you’ll need more space in your house. Maybe your growing family needs extra room for new arrivals, toys and visiting friends, or perhaps your expanding home business needs a new office away from the rest of the house.

Deciding which is more financially beneficial between moving house or extending can be tough. Of course, the decision will already be answered if you live in a flat and need more space, or you decide to move closer to schools, work and family, but the removal costs might affect your decision. You should compare removal quotes to get the best deal if you decide to move.

An extension will help you to add value to your home as well as creating space, but again, the cost needs to be thought through. It’s important to know which option will benefit you the most, so we’ve put together this guide to help you weigh up the pros and cons to make an easy decision. 

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This article will cover the following points

Which Do Brits Believe Is Better - Moving House or Extending? Is It Better To Extend? Is It Better To Move Home? Save Time and Money on Your Move

Which Do Brits Believe Is Better - Moving House or Extending?

According to Money Supermarket, most of us would prefer to have an extension built than move house, a huge 42% of us that is. 24% of Brits would prefer to move house than get an extension for extra space, and the remaining 34% are unsure. 

what do brits believe

In the last 10 years, 30% of Brits have gone ahead with an extension instead of moving house, whilst 51% have moved house instead of getting an extension for the added space.

last ten years

Is It Better To Extend?

Frequently, extending on your home is a cost-effective investment that will pay back on itself when you eventually sell – but not always. The location and demand of your property will usually guarantee that your extension will add value to your home when it comes to selling. For example, it is often financially feasible to add a basement in a London property due to high demand and property prices, whereas this might not be the best idea in other regions of the UK.

That said, extending in some form or another is often a more sensible approach from a financial perspective. Building costs for an extension depend vastly on location, size and the type of build you will be planning. 

Cost of Extension

These are the average costs for a single storey extension in the UK, not including VAT. These prices will vary depending on size, location and extra services. 

Extension ServicePrice 
Extension Per Square Metre£1,500 - £1,900
Planning Permission£190 - £206
Property Survey Starting at £400
Architect Fees(Between 3-10% of extension cost) Minimum of £2,700 to £4,000
Building Regulation ChecksUsually 10% of extension cost 

Before building work even begins, you will need to gain planning permission unless your extension is single storey that does not extend more than three metres away from the original property. This will cost between £190-£206 depending on extension size and location.

You can be expected to pay between £1,500 - £1,900 plus VAT per square metre just for single storey building costs. On top of that, you may be expected to pay anywhere between 3-10% of the building costs on fees for architects, structural engineers, building regulation checks and planning permission if required.

While moving house can take a while to process, so too can extending on your property. Your home will temporarily become a building site until completion, which will most likely be stressful for yourself, as well as your children and any pets you might have. Equally, you may have to deal with extra costs as you wait for completion if you have to move out during the period of the build.

The Verdict 

Extending on your current property is an extremely feasible option that is cost-effective, saving you from going through the house buying and selling process. However, you may not always make your money back from this investment and it may not always be suitable if you are not planning to stay at your property for the foreseeable future.

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Is It Better To Move Home?

As mentioned, building an extension can be extremely tiring and may burn a hole in your pocket as costs and fees will have to be paid throughout the process. Most regions and properties will allow you to make your money back on an extension, but some renovations may devalue your home.

Moving house is the other option if you require more living space. Moving house is a more viable option, and worthwhile if you do not want to commit to staying in a property for the long-term.

Cost of Moving House

If you decide to go against an extension, there are many costs of moving house to consider. The moving house costs below are based on buying and selling the average UK property, at a price of £226,071 as of January 2018 (UK House Price Index). Please note all prices vary depending on location, house type and size. 

Moving House ServicePrice
House Deposit£33,127
Property Survey£400
Estate Agents£3,391
Stamp Duty £2,021
Removal Company£1,192 (For a 3-bed house travelling 52 miles)

The main cost you'll be hit with is the deposit for your house. Depending on whether you pay a 5% or a 20% deposit, you could be paying up to £45,600 for the average house price of £228,000. 

On top of this, you will also have to pay for a property survey starting from around £400, conveyancing fees which averagely cost £950, estate agents fees of £3,391, stamp duty £2,021 and the removal company which averages at £1,192.  

The Verdict

Moving is a stressful time and uprooting your family away from friends and the local area could be detrimental in the long term, as well as funding the costs. However, moving within your current local area to a larger property will be easier on your family. Use our free moving house checklist to ensure a stress-free moving experience.

Save Time and Money on Your Move

There is no set answer to whether it is better to move house or extend on your current property, as it will depend on individual situations. Extending may seem like the easier option at times but will still be disruptive to your family’s living and may not be as cost effective in certain regions.

Likewise, moving house will save your current property from turning into a building site but could cost thousands on top of the property costs. If you do decide to move house, make sure to compare removal companies with us, we'll connect you with up to 6 trusted and verified removal companies in your area.