Extend or Move House?

When you purchased your current home, the possibility of extending may have been a criteria on your desired wish list. Some purchasers consider potential to extend, in order to avoid another move in three to five years time, when the family has increased in numbers and another bedroom or reception room is required. Now that the time has arrived, the question is, do you extend or do you move house?

The answer to this will depend on three factors:

  • The building cost of carrying out the extension.
  • Will the extension enhance the value of the property.
  • Would it be cheaper to move house to a larger property in the same area?

Before making that decision and minimising the possibility of running into problems, consider appointing a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to take you through the process from start to finish. The RICS is the world's largest and oldest professional body for Chartered Surveyors. Using the services of an RICS members offers confidence because:

  • They will advise you on whether your current or propsed property purchase has potential for expansion or improvement.
  • They can act as your agent when dealing with the statutory authorities; they understand planning, law and compliance with building regulations and also have experience of historic and listed buildings.
  • They have experience in seeking and appointing reliable building contractors and can act as project managers, making the contact and monitoring of the work, on your behalf.
  • They can produce initial designs and then plans and specifications for your builder to work to. They can also provide a cost consultancy service, managing the budget throughout the project, to ensure you do not overspend.
  • If a project runs into problems, Chartered Surveyors can also offer advice on the best method of settling any dispute that may arise.

The options available to increase your living space, apart from the obvious extension, include loft and garage conversions and if you are lucky enough to have one, a basement conversion. All these possibilities will involve a feasibility and cost analysis by a Chartered Surveyor, who will advise you as to whether to proceed. The Chartered Surveyor will also have the expertise to deal with building regulations and final certification procedures, structural calculations and whether planning permission is required.

By employing a Chartered Surveyor to act as your agent, to oversee the extension/conversion, you will have a stress free extension, knowing that you are in the safe hands of an expert, who is familiar with the issues, as they arrive. For more information visit www.rics.org/usefulguides.

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