Home extensions are very popular, and they are often cheaper than upping sticks and moving to a larger property. Whether expanding up, down, or sideways, there is a lot you can do with your home renovation, whether it’s adding a play area for the kids, extra bedrooms, or a sanctuary for your own personal needs.
Still, before you get your tools out, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself. Consider the following.
1. Can I afford it?
You may have grandiose dreams of turning your two-up-two-down house into a fairy-tale castle, with turrets, a moat and everything. Or you may be planning on adding a conservatory – predictable but more sensible.
However, no matter how big or small your building plans, you do need to set yourself a budget. From the cost of building materials to architect and planning fees, you want to make sure you have the money in the bank before you start any work on your property.
2. What will my neighbors think?
In many ways, it doesn’t matter what your neighbours think. Especially if your home extension is small, it shouldn’t have any impact on the people around you. However, you do need to be mindful.
If building work is going to affect your neighbour’s peace and quiet, you should do the polite thing and warn them in advance.
You should also consider the legal ramifications that may ensue, such as blocking out your neighbours’ light if you are scaling up or infringing on their property if scaling outward. Seek planning permission first, and then speak to your architect for professional advice.
3. How will it affect my family?
You will have to expect some upheaval for your family. Building work will be noisy and hazardous, so if you have little ones running around, you will need to keep them out of harm’s way.
You might decide to stay with friends or other family members for the duration of the renovation.
Remember events in your family’s life too, such as school holidays or special occasions. It may be worth withholding extension plans to a time when there will be less disruption on your family life.
4. Will I need to hire help?
Unless you are professionally qualified to knock brickwork down, deal with plumbing, and fiddle with the electrics, then yes, you will need help. You will need to choose wisely, of course, as you want the best people for the job.
Look for accreditation and testimonials on builder’s websites and ask for word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family.
The last thing you need is a cowboy builder or a self-created disaster from your own poor efforts, so consider a professional firm as a necessary expense.
5. Is it worth the hassle?
Finally, considering the expense and disruption to your life, this is a very good question. If you don’t have the budget, and you are only thinking about a home extension on a whim, then you need to take a step back and reconsider.
On the other hand, if you have definite plans with what you want to do with your property, or you are trying to add value to sell later on, then yes, it probably is worth the hassle.
Think carefully – it’s no good changing your mind when the project has already begun – and weigh the pros and cons before coming to a decision.