Is a home extension right for me? Top 10 tips when planning a home extension

Are you wondering whether you should brave it and start that extension that you’ve been dreaming about? Are you getting cold feet and wondering if it’s even a good idea? Well, We’ve got you covered! Here are 10 questions that you should ask yourself before getting stuck in, to make sure that it REALLY is a good idea to extend… or maybe you can do something with the space that you already have?…

Ask Yourself:

  1. What are my current and future space needs?
    Is the new space that I’m dreaming of to help me live how I want to in the house NOW? Or in the FUTURE? Will I need more space for a growing family? Or a change in working, maybe you are planning to start a business and work from home? Whatever the reason, list them, think about the function of the new space and what you want from it.
  2. What is my budget for the extension, and can I afford the ongoing maintenance costs? This is an important one. At the time of writing this in 2023, the average cost of building an extension is somewhere between £2,300 and £3,000 per square metre, depending on specification. Every inch of this space represents a cost, so make that space count. See question 1! What’s your why? AND consider the rising cost of energy bills. Will your extension simply present a rise in utility bills? Or will it address existing thermal issues and actually reduce your monthly spend on energy? If you want to know more about how much an extension will cost you in 2023, check this out.
  3. What is my property worth and how much value could an extension add to my home?
    We always tell our clients to consider street value. Even if you are planning to stay in your home for a long time, it’s just sensible to understand your total investment in the property to make an informed decision. Does your project spend take you way over the ceiling price of the area? Or are you adding ‘wow factor’ to blow the ceiling price out of the water? Are you pushing the boundaries in terms of return, but are happy to do that because of the value that your extension will bring to your everyday life?
  4. How long do I plan to stay in my current home and will an extension add long-term value to my property?
    Is your need for additional space short term? If you are planning to move in a few years, will you be able to get back your investment in the property? Is there another way that you could fulfil your needs for additional space without extending/ Ie. If you need space to work, could you rent shared office space for less cost if just for a short time until you move? Are you making a valuable addition for future occupants of the house? A space that others would want?
  5. Will I need planning permission for the extension?
    You might need planning permission for your extension and it is important to consult the right professionals to understand if this is the case. We have written a handy blog on how to obtain planning permission here, and if you are wondering if you need planning permission at all, check out this handy interactive guidance from our planning portal.
  6. What type of extension would be best suited for needs and what are the costs associated with each option?
    This might be shape, size, materials, how much glazing. There is always a balance between how something looks and how much it costs. If you want corner less floor to ceiling glazing for instance, that will increase the overall cost of your extension, however, don’t skimp on the quality and feel of the space, because that is where the value lies for you and for future buyers
  7. What are the potential drawbacks of an extension, such as disruption during construction or a loss of outdoor space? Make sure you consider how much outdoor space you will be left with after you extend. If you are left with a disproportionately small garden after the extension, you make want to re-consider as it could de-value the house. However, depending on the area that you live in, garden size may not be so much of an issue and additional space is more valuable. Will you be living in your home during the works? Make sure you understand the work involved so you can decide whether it will be easier for everyone if you stayed out the way, or if you can live with the dust and the noise for a while!
  8. What are the alternative options to an extension, such as renovating your existing space or moving to a larger home, and how do they compare in terms of cost and convenience? Have you considered all the options? Do you have disused space in your house that could be re-purposed with clever design? Is moving an option when you consider all the costs? Could you extend in phases? Taking on part of the build now and part later when funds allow? 
  9. Who do I need to employ to help with my project? Your first port of call is an Architect. Many will off free appraisals (like us!) to give you an idea of timescales, costs, planning and feasibility of your project. This is a great start to be able to make those all-important decisions. (ps. If you would like one of these appraisals click here!)
  10. Am I putting off starting but not sure why? Some clients have come to us and they think that they are going to be building their extension immediately. They feel overwhelmed, worried that they don’t have builders, unsure of exactly what they want and worried about costs. I’m here to say ‘it’s okay!’ all in good time. You won’t be on site immediately, there are many steps before that point. When you work with the right architect, they will take you through the process step by step, so at every stage you are making the decisions that work for YOU. It can all feel overwhelming at first, we get it. Seek advice, make a small start, ask the right questions, and move on to the next step. Slowly, slowly! AND most importantly, HAVE FUN!