Should I Extend My House Or Move? A Look At The Costs

Written by Mathew McCorry

If you read my property blog now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you and I will make you read it.

Usually, when it comes to moving property’s, there are a whole bunch of reasons why a homeowner wants to move. Whether it be a family wanting room as their latest member is on the way, or even if you are self-employed and would like a bigger office at home. No matter the reason, there is a lot to consider before the next step.

You may already be in love with your property or the area ion which it sits. But, working out whether to move completely from your property or extend your house. The decision of working out what to do and which option is financially beneficial can be hard.

What do us Brits think? Should you extend or Move?

In August 2019, TSB Bank analysed data around extensions and homeowners moving. According to their data, of those who took part, 41% said they would prefer to extend their property rather than move; That’s two in five homeowners.

On the other hand, the data revealed that 80% believed the new planning laws around planning permission will create disputes between neighbours more so likely. In May 2019, homeowners across the country were allowed to build extensions on their properties without planning permission. Therefore, homeowners are able to add value through the rear of the property.

50% of those asked said they would rather extend their home than move due to attachments with the property.

Should I extend my home?

Generally, extending your property is a cost-effective investment that should over time pay back if you decide to move; although in some cases this isn’t true. If there is demand for a property type similar to yours and the location is in demand, then there is a degree of guarantee that an extension will increase the value of your property.

Extending a property can be, in some forms, be the more sensible approach compare to moving. But the building costs can be a dependant factor whether you go ahead with the extension.

How much does an extension cost?

It is hard to put a figure on the average cost of an extension. Prices will depend on the housing type, size, location and other extra services. But on average some extension services will cost:

  • Extension per square meter £1,500-£2,000
  • Planning Permission - £190-£206
  • Property Surveys – starting price £400
  • Architect Fees – Minimum £2,700-£4,000
  • Building Regulation Checks – Around 10% of extension cost

How Big Can I Extend My House?

It depends on the question you are asking, with or without planning permissions?

With planning permission

If you're planning on extending your house and are willing to go through the planning permission process, then you get far more leniency when it comes to extending your property, you can:

  • Around the original house, you can only cover half the area of the land of the original property with other buildings or extensions
  • They can't be higher than the existing property roof


There are a few others, but those are the main restrictions to consider in regards to the size of the extension. It's also different if it's a side extension, and in that case it can't exceed four metres in hight, must only be a single story and can only be half the width of the original property.

Without planning permission

There are new recent rules that allow England homeowners to build far bigger extensions than previously, the new rules mean that you can now put a single storey extension to the rear of your property that is up to six metres high if you own a terrace or semi-detached home. If you own a detached property, you can do the same but up to eight metres.

Factoring in Additional Costs

It's estimated that an extension can cost around £1,400 to £2,00 per square metre, but what are the additional costs that you may not have considered?

  • The windows: It's quite likely your extension will need windows installed, this can add a fair amount to the overall cost.
  • Tree & obstructions: In order to create space for the extension itself you might need to remove trees or any obstructions that could potentially be in the way, there will of course be a cost to this, unless your willing to get your hands dirty.
  • Interior (Finishing & Fittings): What are you planning to have in the interior? All the fixtures and fittings may add a significant amount to the cost & don't forget that painting or wallpapering.
  • For a kitchen or bathroom?: If your extension is for a major room like a bathroom or kitchen, you of course need to factor in the cost of plumbing & fitting the units themselves. These rooms are usually the most expensive in the house to change.

How Long Will The Extension Take?

It completely depends on the type of extension that you are planning on having, here are a few examples and how long you can expect them to take:

  • Single Rear Extension: 3-4 Months
  • Large Doube Height Rear Extension: 5-7 Months
  • Dormer Loft Conversion: Under 6 Weeks

What Will An Extension Do To My Property Value?

It's really hard to determine how much an extension will add to your property, because it depends on a variety of different factors like the size of your home, it's location, the quality of the extension, size of extension and much more.

Research by Nationwide suggests that on a three bed home, adding a double bedroom with an en-suite can equate to an improved property value of around 23%, just to give you an idea. Generally speaking, the cost of building the extension is not usually outweighed by the profit made from the sale with around a 71% return on investment, which is according to research by Zopa.

If you want to accurately find out what an extension will do to the value of your property then you're best consulting a professional, and estate agent may also be able to help you determine this. It's also extremely important that the extension is done to a high standard. If you're planning on selling in the future, it also matters whether the extension will appeal to the average house buyer, does it turn your home for a couple into a family home? Does it serve a function, such as add a second bathroom? Those are the kind of questions you need to ask if you want to maximise the potential value.

But What Should I Do? Extend or Move?

Even though both situations will create stress, moving properties can be more so stressful. When it comes to extending, it can be stressful due to your property being a building site up until completion. Also, you may have to pay extra costs to move temporarily out for your property, depending on the work taking place.

However, extending your property is a more feasible and cost-effective way. When it comes to selling there are lots of costs that will crop up in the buying and selling process.

Although, if you do decide to have an extension built, remember that you may not always see an investment on your money.

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