To Extend or Not to Extend?

An Extension Can Add Value to Your Home
An Extension Can Add Value to Your Home

There are not many house owners who have not had the occasional urge to find a bigger place to live in. The addition to the family of a new child or an elderly dependent, or simply a growing family, can mean that space has become tight. When this happens, the temptation may be to put the house on the market and look for a bigger one. However, this is not always necessary because there is an alternative that will allow the original home to be retained and will add substantial value to it – the construction of an extension.
It should be remembered that extending your home presents several alternatives, including opening up the loft space, the conversion of an integral garage or the construction of a conservatory. Of course, it also includes constructing a completely new single or double storey extension to the building.
There are certain real advantages in building an extension to a property rather than investing in a bigger house. There are, also, it has to be said, some disadvantages.
In this article, we look at both the pluses and the minuses of adding an extension to your property.

The Benefits of an Extension
The main benefit of building an extension rather than buying a bigger property is in terms of cost. You will avoid paying estate agent charges for selling your existing property. You will also avoid paying for the legal costs and any associated transaction fees. It is likely that the differential between the value of your existing home and the cost of a larger replacement will be much greater than the cost of constructing the extension even when the fees, construction costs and architects charges arising from an extension are factored into the equation.

It is far more convenient to remain in an existing home, in a locality where roots have been put down than to ship out to unfamiliar territory. A change of address can entail leaving friends, family and neighbours as well as professional contacts such as doctors, dentists, clinics and also places of worship. It may also mean moving further away from a place of employment, resulting in additional travelling time and expense following the move.

Expenditure on the New Property
Finally, it is likely to result in far less consequential expense to build an extension than to invest in a larger house. There is no way of guaranteeing that a new property’s décor will be in accordance with your taste and it my also need its own remedial and remodelling work itself. It may also require the renewal of carpets and curtains, which can be a significant item of expenditure, especially in a bigger property.
All of these factors may make a house owner come to the conclusion that the best way of finding more space is by extending rather than buying a bigger property.
However, as we mentioned at the outset, constructing an extension, whilst having these advantages, also has certain disadvantages.

Some Disadvantages of Extending
Any substantial extension of an existing home is almost certain to require the grant of planning permission. This can be both costly and time-consuming. You are likely to need to employ an architect. You will also need to tell your neighbours about the planning application and deal with the local authority planning department, in what can sometimes be a stressful procedure.

Secondly, the size of the extension that you build will be will be limited according to the amount of land that you have available to you. This is not a problem if you are extending upwards but if you are building outwards there is nothing worse than an extension that feels undersized and cramped.

Finally, it can be dirty, dusty, noisy and stressful to continue to live in a house whilst the construction of an extension is under way, with building contractors arriving early in the day and water and power cuts on several occasions.

Despite these matters, many householders, when faced with the choice, tend to elect to extend rather than buy a bigger house. For many home owners, however, building an extension represents their only real chance to increase the living space available to them and their families. In either case, an extension is a home improvement that can also add significantly to the value of their home at a reasonable cost.

This article was written by Billy Phillips, writing for The Builders SW, builders of extensions in Torquay, South Devon, South Hams and the South West whose website is at

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