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Is It Better To Move House Or Extend?

Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
2nd May 2017 (Last updated on Thursday 28th June 2018)

There comes a time in every household when you find yourself stuck for space and needing that little bit extra to alleviate the squeeze.

Maybe your growing family needs that tiny bit more space for new arrivals, toys and visiting friends. Or perhaps your expanding home business needs a new office away from the cluttered dining table.

Knowing whether to move house or extend on the property you already own is a big question that could save you money, time and stress.

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, family and friends.

However, knowing what to do is not always that simple, and so we have looked at the pros and cons of both scenarios to help answer what is right for you.

This article will cover the following points

Is It Better To Extend? Or Is It Better To Move Home?

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 make a decision based on financial implications easier. 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. You can be expected to pay between £1,000-£1,600 plus VAT per square metre just for building costs.

On top of that, you may be expected to pay around 10% of the building costs on fees for architects, structural engineers, building regulation checks and planning permission if required.

Equally, you may have to deal with extra costs if your kitchen is out of use, or if you have to move out during the period of the build.

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.

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. For example, a small conservatory or summer room would be an ideal extension to build without the need of planning permission.

Planning permission will cost around £172 depending on planning size and location, and could be denied if deemed unsuitable for whatever reason.

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

Or 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 this is not the case for everywhere.

If that is the case, 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.

That said, moving house can be an arduous and expensive process that could set you back as much as £10,500 when buying a £200,000 home.

You will have to pay for estate agents, solicitors, surveyors, removal companies and stamp duty.

Of course there are ways to minimise the costs of moving house; negotiating with estate agents could cut the cost by thousands, and using Compare My Move could help save up to 70% on your moving costs.

However, moving is a stressful time and uprooting your family away from friends and the local area could be detrimental in the long term.

That said, moving within your current local area to a larger property will be easier on your family. Although you still have to pack and move house, you and your children will not have to adapt to a new location with new people in already-established friendship groups.

There is no set answer to whether it is better to move house or extend on your current property as it depends 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 are still unsure what to do, ask for quotes on an extension from local building companies, then add that quote to your current property price to see what you could afford as an equivalent to extending.