With the UK housing market seemingly quite unpredictable, more homeowners may be choosing to stay in their existing home rather than relocating. For some people, however, this simply isn’t feasible, often due to a lack of space and an ever-expanding family.

But if limited space alone is incentivising you to move, then finding a new property isn’t necessarily your only solution. An extension can achieve the same effect, and tends to be cheaper and cause less upheaval. This doesn’t mean that it’s an easy option.  Before you think of building an extension, here are a few things that you need to consider:

Planning Permission

Although planning permission is not always required, in many cases it will be. If your proposed extension would fall within any of the following criteria, then a planning application is required.

1.      The extension would be taller than the tallest part of your roof.

2.      The proposed extension would stand over four metres high at its tallest point and stretch to within two metres of your boundary line.

3.      The area covered would equal more than half of the current property area, excluding the ground covered by the existing building.

4.      The total volume the property increased would exceed 115 cubic metres.

5.      The total volume of the existing property would increase by over 10 per cent, and the property is a terraced house, or located within a conservation area, national park or The Broads.

Although many applications are successful, you need to really think about whether you’re willing to go through the potential stress and cost of making an application, or whether you would prefer to carry on as you are or move to a property that already meets your requirements. 

The Neighbours

Before you set your heart on the idea of an extension, it’s also worth considering the impact it will have on your neighbours. If this is detrimental, then expect any concerns to be raised by them and given weight during the planning application process. It can often be a good idea to discuss your planned extension with them before submitting an application, as you can work through issues they have to see if you can come to a mutually consensual resolution. This could help to save time and money down the line. Even if you are granted permission to build despite their objections, this can in some cases damage relations between the two parties, and considering that you may have to live side by side for years to come that’s not going to be a recommendable outcome.

The Cost

Although extensions can cost less than moving to a bigger property, you will still have a significant financial outlay in order to secure the additional space that you require. This means that it’s absolutely vital for you to make sure that you can afford to build before embarking on a project. If savings alone won’t cover the cost, then finance options such as home improvement loans from companies like Nemo Personal Finance or credit cards and arranged overdrafts, are available to help you out. If you do decide to go down this route, then make sure that you can comfortably afford repayments before committing to anything, as a loan from Nemo is secured on your home. If you feel that you can’t, then put the idea on the backburner until you’re more financially secure. 

The Upheaval

Moving house can be incredibly stressful, but so can getting an extension. Although you won’t have to uproot the children, befriend new neighbours or change your job, you will have to live on a building site for a while, and that’s just as noisy and disruptive as you might imagine. Extensions can take months to build, so factor in whether the noise, dust and dirt are really worthwhile before setting your heart on improving your home.

If that hasn’t put you off, then it’s time to start planning your ideal home.