Published: 02/02/2024We all find ourselves at various crossroads during our lifetime, and every single one of them brings its own challenges and a series of tough decisions to make. Sometimes, they are about our children; other times, they are about our jobs or relationships. At some point, they might be about our homes. Life is a carousel of big, scary, grown-up choices that we want to hide away from. When it comes to your living arrangement, the age-old dilemma often arises: do you extend your property or take the plunge and move? It’s such a difficult decision as it’s not just the practicality that needs to be considered; our heart is involved in the decision-making process just as much as our heads. A home is where we spend most of our time outside of our jobs and where we raise our family. Just to walk away is not that straightforward.
It’s time to break down the pros and cons of both options to help you make an informed decision. But be warned that there is a lot to consider, and you may require lots of chocolate and wine during the process…
Money Money Money
The upfront costs of extending can be lower than the expenses involved in buying a new property (dependent on the size of your build). You also won't be dealing with estate agent fees, stamp duties, or the moving company's hefty bill - not to mention the cost of buying new possessions if the layout and style of your new home don’t work with your existing furniture. Despite your best efforts to budget, though, there is also a flip side. Construction projects can have a way of surprising you, and unforeseen structural issues or changes to your original plans can quickly escalate costs. It is important to have a backup fund in case costs overrun, as they inevitably will…how much by though is the golden question. It’s about weighing up both sets of costs and sticking to a strict budget.
Home is where the heart is, right? If you're emotionally attached to your current property, extending allows you to keep the memories intact. There is no need to bid farewell to any of those things that hold stories of their own. Whether it’s height marking on the wall from when your children were small or the fancy new office that use to be a nursery, they are huge ties that pull at the heartstrings. Saying goodbye to your old home can be an emotional rollercoaster. If you've invested time and energy into making it yours, the parting can be bittersweet. This is something only you can decide on. Maybe a fresh start is exactly what you need, though; saying farewell to a property isn’t always a negative when the memories can come with you.
Navigating the politics of planning permissions can be a headache, especially if you encounter objections from unhappy neighbours. And if you do win and permission is granted, are you going to be okay with the possibly frosty change of relationship with those who raised their grievances? Sadly, this is not uncommon, but what is it they say: time is a great healer. And this is often true. Depending on your location and the scale of your extension, you may encounter delays and unforeseen hurdles with the application, but if you are prepared to be patient and roll with the punches, then the end result could be life-changing.
Extensions offer the chance to customise your living space to fit your exact needs…something that can be tricky to find when you are searching the property market. Finding somewhere that ticks every single box is a challenging fete, but designing your own is a totally different matter. Want a walk-in closet or a spacious home office? No problem. You can work alongside an architect to achieve exactly what you want. However, there is no harm in browsing the internet for your dream home as well. Maybe your forever house is out there waiting to be snapped up, but you better jump in quickly, as stunning homes never hang around for long…trust us.
Let's not sugarcoat it – extending your property means living in a construction zone. Dust, noise, and disruption are part of the package; it is certainly not for the fainthearted and can be a particularly stressful process. Can you endure the chaos for the sake of a better living space? Only you can answer that question. It’s a long game but one that can have a happy ending. Anyone who has moved knows it also involves a lot of stress and hassle…packing, unpacking, possible school and job changes…the list goes on. But either choice can also be exciting if you go into the process with a positive attitude and optimism about the future. Unlike an extension, moving provides an instant solution to your space woes. There is no need to endure months of construction; just pack, move, and settle into your new abode. Oh, and we can help, of course!
Extensions typically gobble up garden space. If you're green-fingered or enjoy al fresco living, this might be a significant drawback. For those with a garden big enough to have both, you are very fortunate, and the world of extensions is your oyster. If selling is a possible option for you in the future, then is losing half the garden worth gaining a larger house; consider how it would affect the value of the property – because once it’s done, there is no going back. Definitely seek advice on your options before proceeding.
A Fresh Start
A new home means a clean slate: fresh beginnings, new neighbours, and the chance to create a whole new chapter of your life. However, moving to a new neighbourhood means navigating lots of big changes. Are you and your family ready to adapt to new routines, schools, and neighbours? It could be the start of an exciting new adventure for you all. But wherever you move to, be sure to do your homework first. If you find the right area with the right schools, social scene and job prospects, then you are already on the right path to the perfect decision for you and your family.
So, what is it to be?
In the end, the choice between extending your property or moving boils down to your priorities, budget, and willingness to embrace change. For some, it’s exciting; for others, it’s terrifying. Consider your long-term goals and how you see your future looking. Whichever path you choose, make sure it aligns with your lifestyle and future aspirations. After all, home is where you should feel most at ease and truly happy. Only you know what that happiness looks like.