March 01, 2012 AT 9:02 AM
Save £56,122 by improving
New research has revealed that more than one in six people are not happy in their current home because they don't have enough space. The question is what they should do about it: move or improve?
The research shows that one is considerably cheaper than the other - so what is your best option?
The research, by Rated People, came down firmly on the side of improving rather than moving. Of course as a site dedicated to finding tradespeople that's not a huge shock, but the figures speak for themselves.
At present, a three bedroom house costs an average of 31% more than a two bedroom house. Add in recent figures from Lloyds TSB that reveal the fees associated with moving are on average £8,922, and it's an expensive business.
By comparison, the cost of building a single storey extension is approximately £21,000. So on the average three-bed home, Brits could save as much as £56,122 by improving rather than moving.
Add in the stress of a move, the difficulty of finding the right financing, and the fact that the housing market is spectacularly sluggish, and the arguments for improving begin to stack up. Jonnie Irwin from Rated People.com says: "Faced with a difficult housing market, homeowners should be looking at what they can be doing to improve their current home – and where they can add value – rather than moving on.
Dermot Steedman the owner of Dermarta, a builder in London, said the trend was growing: "I've seen a noticeable increase over the past couple of years in the number of extension and conversion projects being undertaken by homeowners."
"Increasing the size of their current home, instead of moving, is often a financial and lifestyle choice. Conversions and extensions are usually cheaper and less risky than moving and a well planned project will nearly always add value to the property."
"The most popular projects in recent years have been single story extensions at the rear of properties to create open plan kitchen living space, this type of extension tends to cost between £20,000 and £40,000, and loft conversions which offer more scope to create extra bedrooms and bathrooms and typically cost from £15,000 up to about £50,000."
Tips for improvements
If you are considering a project, the website has tip tips for improvements:
- A well planned extension nearly always adds value, but look at house prices in your local area to gauge how much value another bedroom will add to your property – be careful not to over develop
- Conservatories are a great way to add space as they often don't require planning permission – although always check with your local authority or planning dept. They can be a quick and cheap way to increase your living space
- Look at the other properties on your street, this will give you an idea of the type of projects that are likely to get planning permission as precedents may have been set by your neighbours developments
- Before planning an extension you should always look at the space you already have and consider how you are currently using it. Often simply changing the floor plan by removing or moving walls can change how you live
- Side extensions may not add much floor space, but they are one of the cheaper options – a small side extension can cost as little as £25,000 – but it can make a huge difference to how you use your living space
- Building an extension at the expense of your garden can actually reduce the value of your house; outside space is always desirable for future buyers - it's important to get the balance right.