Things You Should Do Before Deciding To Extend Your Home

Deciding to extend your home might seem like a good idea at first - but truthfully, it is not the best course of action for everybody. 

First, you really need to look at how you are using your existing home so you can figure out whether this is the right thing for you to do. 

You might be thinking, “But what about the added value and space? Surely it’s always a good idea if you can afford it?!’ 

Added space isn't always a good thing, especially if it’s taking light away from the centre of your home and making it feel like a dank, dark cave. Added value from extending isn't always a given either, and that shouldn’t be the sole reason you do it if you’re not planning on selling your home right away. 

You want a house that suits and enhances your lifestyle, rather than one that is more valuable. 

How to decide if an extension is right for you

Let’s take a look at what you should do before you decide to extend your home: 

#1: Write Down What You Need

Start by grabbing a pen and a piece of paper, or even a spreadsheet, and write down a list of the things you need in your home. What is absolutely non-negotiable for you and your family? This will be individual to you as a family, so you really need to sit down and think about this carefully. 

Here are some examples: 

  • A big garden for your kids/pets/family get togethers 
  • Plenty of storage space 
  • A garage/shed 
  • A home office 

The above are just a few examples, and won’t be a necessity for everybody. Knowing what you need before you decide to extend your home could potentially help you to save a lot of money if you realise you can achieve it without extending. 

Think about how you use your home and what your struggles are, and this will help you to know if it’s something you need or something you just want. 

You should also ensure that you create a considered brief when coming up with what you want. For example, some people will simply say things like “we want the ground floor bigger,” or “we want another bathroom.” Those statements aren't specific enough. 

A better example, especially if it comes to explaining what you want to an architectural designer, would be “we want to be able to eat our breakfast and look over the garden.” 

#2: Write Down What You Want

Writing down what you want is the next most important thing. It’s crucial to be able to differentiate between the things you need and the things you want. This is because you need to figure out how to meet your needs first before you try to squeeze your wants in. 

Maybe you want the following things: 

  • A conservatory 
  • A play area for your kids 
  • An extra bathroom or wet room 

Wants are nice, but they are not as important as needs. This is why we recommend figuring your needs out first, before adding loads of space to your home in an effort to fit your wants in. 

#3: Can You Achieve What You Need With Your Existing Space?

Now you know what it is you need, it’s time to assess whether your existing space can give you that with just a little tweaking and rejigging. 

How often do you use each room, for example? If you have a small sitting room that doesn’t get used very often, you could transform that into a playroom for the kids, or even a home office. 

It simply doesn’t make a lot of sense to extend your home to create more space for a new room when you can transform a room you don’t really use. You might quickly realise that just by reworking what you have, it may be possible to achieve everything you need. 

Ask yourself the following questions to figure it out: 

  • How do we use each room in our home currently? 
  • Are we making the most of each room? 
  • How do we wish we could use each room in our home? 
  • Is there a way we could use/transform a room that would better suit our family/lifestyle? 

You can also ask yourself the following questions if you believe that extending could still be the right choice for you: 

  • What is our budget? 
  • How long will it take? 
  • How much disruption will there be? 
  • Will we need planning permission? 
  • Do building regulations need to be considered? 
  • How can we find reliable builders and architectural designer? 
  • Is extending the only option, or would it be cheaper to move? 

Extending isn't always the best choice, even if you can’t achieve what you need or want with your current space. Sometimes, it can be cheaper and less hassle to move home altogether. 

#4: Why Work With Me?

If you don’t believe that you can achieve what you need or want with what you currently have, and you would like to stay in your current home, then feel free to get in touch with me and we can discuss your property and circumstances to create something invaluable. 

I can help you to get to the core of what you really want and create a space that you love to live in, rather than just adding rooms without thinking how it fits with the rest of your home and lifestyle. 

I currently manage Maidenhead Planning as a Building Surveyor and Architectural Designer in addition to undertaking property development and project management roles. I’ve worked on all three sides of the project: 

  • As a Contractor 
  • As a Designer 
  • Representing the Client 

This gives me the required set of specialist skills to bring to your project. I can design something that is realistic and buildable (contractor experience), aesthetically pleasing and functional (design experience), and something that adds value whilst meeting the budget (client’s representative). 

Extending can be a big decision, and I want you to make the right decision for you and your family. That’s why I would always encourage you to take the above steps before calling, so you can be 100% sure this is the right course of action to take.

Posted on July 9th 2019

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