With house prices rising and lending comparatively cheap at present, it could be a good idea to use a little bit of that extra equity to add value to your home prior to considering a sale.
An extension could actually be a much better option for you than moving home. However even if your property is definitely no longer suitable for you, it could still be worth enhancing it to boost value and increase the chances of a swift sale.
Equally, whilst house prices may be rising at present, anyone who purchased a property in late 2007 will know that prices can just as quickly fall. Finding a property that would suit your requirements if extended can be a great way of enhancing your level of equity. You are then lowering your risk of being trapped by negative equity if prices fall.
There are a few things to consider though before running out and instructing an architect. Firstly, determine whether your extension will fall under permitted development rights or not. Most rear extensions and some single storey side extensions will not require planning permission, but do check the size requirements at the time. However, remember they will still need to pass building control. A reputable builder should be able to sort out the building control side of things for you.
Once you know whether or not planning would be required it is worth having an honest think about whether the type and size of extension is really worthwhile in your location.
For example let’s consider a typical 3 bed semi-detached like the one shown above in a fairly good area, valued at £220,000. Putting a double height side extension onto it for £40,000 creates space for a good sized en-suite master bedroom, opening out the kitchen, creating a utility and a downstairs office room where the garage is. This will see that property now valued at more like £300,000. But there is a ceiling price.
Taking that same example: somebody could choose to do the side extension as outlined above for £40,000, then spend a further £30,000 converting the attic too. The chances are though the house will still only be worth around £300,000 because there is a ceiling price for the road. Putting it on the market at £350,000 and expecting a sale would be a mistake.
Whilst the property may look great and have loads of space, buyers are generally aware that for the same price they can get somewhere perhaps not quite as big, but in a better location, requiring just minor cosmetic work. As the saying goes “location, location, location”. It will trump size 9 times out of 10.
Do Your Research
Sketch out your ideas first and if you are thinking of extending with a view to then selling, have a chat with some local estate agents first to get a feel for whether an extension is worthwhile.
They will be able to give you a far more up to date feel for where the local market is at (and likely to be by the time your extension is complete). Land Registry and other online house price tools take months to update by which time the market has moved on. You need to be working with up to date information and the only way to do that is by speaking with people who work in the local market every day.
Do some research and even view some show homes. Take note on what is popular in property too, especially if you’re thinking of extending and then selling. A nice set of bi-fold doors across the back of a kitchen extension could be the best money you ever spend. If a flat roof is required, consider putting in a lantern window or two. For the sake of £2-3k they can really add a wow factor to your extension and allow a lot more light in, especially for rear extensions on properties that have north facing rear gardens.
Remember that it isn’t just about creating more space. We see a lot of extensions that have just been stuck onto a property with no regard for the aesthetic of the building. If it looks like an eye-sore or an after-thought it’s likely to have the opposite effect on the saleability of your home.
About The Author
We’ve been selling property for years and at The Agent we work one-to-one with people at various stages of their property selling journey, helping them plan for a sale that achieves the maximum value for their home. All of our initial discussions are free of charge and carry no obligation. If you are thinking of selling in the coming months or even a year, get in touch and your local agent will help you get market ready by giving you honest feedback on your plans.