Move or improve?
Growing out of your property as your family expands or your lifestyle changes is a common problem, faced by many homeowners. A house that was the perfect size for two has become a little bit of a squeeze now that there are 3, 4 or even more of you. Or perhaps you’ve changed your role and now need space to work from home. Whatever the reason for needing more space, there are two potential solutions to your problem. So, do you move, or do you improve?
Should you move?
The answer depends very much on your personal circumstances, as well as the state of the market. In a housing downturn, you might feel that it’s the wrong time for you to move house. You might find that you get less than you expect for your property, and that there’s not much choice out there when it comes to searching for a larger home.
On the other hand, if the housing market is buoyant, it could well be the perfect time to sell up and move to a bigger place. It’s a good opportunity to find the perfect ‘forever’ home, with enough room for all your needs.
Regardless of the state of the housing market, the major downside of moving house is the cost.
Stamp duty, estate agency fees, legal fees, mortgage arrangement fees, searches, moving costs – it all adds up to several thousand pounds, or even tens of thousands depending on the value of the property you’re buying. All of which begs the question – is moving house really the smart move financially? Wouldn’t it make more sense to put all that money into extending your existing property?
Should you improve?
The decision to stay put and improve your existing property will also depend on a number of factors. Is there scope to extend your property to the size you need? Have other properties on your street had extensions or converted an attic or cellar? Are you confident that you’d secure the relevant planning permissions?
Before making a decision, you’d also need to consider what any improvements would do to the value of your home. If you’re turning a 2-bed semi into a 3-bed, without losing too much outdoor space, you should add significant value to your home. However, if there’s a ceiling price on properties on your street, and you’re already near the top end of that range, you may not make your money back. For example, if you live in a semi-detached, 3-bedroomed property, worth £300,000, in a street that’s full of similar properties, it may not be worth spending £40,000 on converting the attic, as you might find that when you come to move on, buyers simply won’t want to pay above the £300k ‘norm’ for your street.
Also bear in mind that any increase in value will depend on the type of extension or improvement you’re planning, as well as your location. Property extensions in some parts of the country will add more value than others. And an extension that gives you an extra bedroom will always add more value than building a new conservatory – although clearly it will cost more too. If you’re thinking about extending, it’s worth seeking advice from a local estate agent, who should be able to offer some insight into the likely increase in your home’s value.
So should you move or should you improve? Alas, as always, there is no simple, black or white answer. The option that’s right for you will depend on your personal circumstances, location, priorities and requirements. If you do need more space, the question of whether to move or improve is one that you should give very careful consideration. Look at the local market, obtain a valuation for your home, talk to builders about options for extending, and do your sums. With a little research and a lot of thought, you’ll find the solution that’s right for you.
Should you make the decision to move rather than improve – let us give you a no obligation quote for your conveyancing.