Is an extension worth it? A guide to the options

Building an extension on a home is often thought of as the holy grail of home improvements. Many homeowners believe that there’s nothing better they can do when it comes to enhancing their property – and with square footage one of the key determinants of a house price, it’s easy to see why extending could mean a big uptick in the potential sale price.

There’s certainly some truth in this analysis. Building an extension on the side of a home, whether it’s a conservatory or a wing of extra rooms, can make a huge difference to a property’s value. However, it’s not always a golden ticket to value addition – and sometimes it can backfire in one of several possible ways. This article will explore the various dimensions to home extensions and will help you decide whether or not it’s something worth pursuing.

Facts and figures

First off, you’re not the only person to have wondered about the relative value of adding an extension on to your property. The matter has been researched many times, and plenty of statistical evidence is available to back up the claim that – in general, at least – a home extension is something to consider if you’re thinking of adding value to your property. According to research from the past few years, in England and Wales, a home extension which measures 25 square metres can add around £59,000 to a property’s sale price – but in London, this can jump to as high as £169,000 in some areas.

Other things matter

Before you get carried away by the idea of adding thousands of pounds in value on to your home simply by building a small add-on, it’s also important to think carefully about the wider context of the property. First of all, don’t forget that the value of a property is very rarely decided by one feature alone. There are plenty of other contributing factors which cause a property to shift in value. One is the location, for example, which can’t be changed. Others include the state of the decor, the size of the rooms and whether or not it is a leasehold. Adding an extension might be able to offset some of these concerns, but it doesn’t necessarily negate them – so when you begin researching the possibility of an extension, it’s well worth thinking about whether or not it makes sense.

It’s also worth thinking about what you might lose. On the face of it, building an extension can seem at first like a zero-sum gain, with everything to gain and nothing to lose. However, by definition, an extension will cause the loss of some outdoor space, and it’s important for you to make sure that you decide in your own mind whether or not this will be acceptable. Whether it’s a patio, a driveway or even just a sliver of garden that you decide to sacrifice, you need to be sure that the value of the outdoor area you’re losing is lower than the value you’ll be adding on with the extension.

The purpose is important

When it comes to deciding whether or not to extend your home, it’s also important to define not just the process you intend to follow but also to be certain in your own mind what the purpose of the extension will be. After all, there’s no point making a decision to invest time, energy and cash into an extension without having it clear in your mind what you want to use it for when it’s done.

If the only aim is to sell on the entire property for a higher profit than you might otherwise have made had the extension not gone ahead, it’s possible to assess the market and the local area to find out what sort of extensions are adding value in your locality and base your decision on that. However, if you need the extension for purposes which are not necessarily universal, perhaps due to a growing family, your requirements are likely to be more bespoke. If this is the case, it may end up being that the main value it brings is the value of additional space in the here and now. Potential buyers of your property may not value the extension as much as you do, and in financial terms you may end up disappointed.

Get some advice

Finally, it’s worth remembering that there are plenty of professionals out there who can help you get your extension project off the ground – and to help you work out what’s best for your needs too. In some cases, this might be an architect. This is especially true for larger extensions, and ones which could be technically complex for whatever reason. If you’re concerned about whether or not planning permission could be required, now is the time to start thinking about it. You may have to pay for the services of a planning officer, but it could be worth doing this in order to get any issues ironed out as early as possible.

Building an extension on the back, side or even the front of a house can have significant effects. If it goes well, and if the rest of the property matches market demand, it can lead to a handsome profit. However, there’s no guarantee that it will lead to a large turnaround in the value of your property. This means that a considered decision which takes into account the factors outlined above should always occur before construction begins.

Adding an extension is just one of many ways to help sell your home. If you are struggling to shift your property off the market, another option is to speak to Spring Move – we may be able to help in a matter of days.

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