For many households, there inevitably comes a time when living in your regular quarters becomes a squeeze. No matter how hard you try or how organized you think you are, it becomes painfully clear that you’re in desperate need of more space. But what should you do? Move or extend?
The move-or-extend conundrum is something that has dogged families for years. Moving means that both you and your family gets more space and bigger bedrooms, but at the same time, it involves a lot of upheaval which might be damaging to children. Moving often means changing schools, finding new friends and adapting to a whole new way of life.
In some situations, people have no choice but to move, especially if they live in a flat with no possibility of extending. But for others, there is a choice. So which should it be?
Extending your home can be a great way to add space as well as value, especially if you happen to live in a high-value area, like Dallas or San Francisco. Even though it is expensive, it can be worth burrowing underground and carving out a basement to act as an extra living space or play area for the kids. According to Helen Brunskill of Brunskill Design Architects, adding a basement can add more value to a home than it costs to build, netting you additional wealth in the process.
Keith Gorny, a realtor from London, says that extension decisions need to be sensible. For instance, he says that there’s no point adding an extra four bedrooms to make a large family home if a house doesn’t have access to other facilities that families want, like a large garden and parking space. Extension decisions, therefore, should be rational and based on a calculation of what will add value to the price of the home. Spending a lot of money on a pointless extension that doesn’t provide what people want could make your house harder to sell later on.
The other option is moving. According to Brendan Cox, the managing director of the Waterfords estate agents, extending isn’t always a financially viable option. For instance, extending a $300,000 city house with an extra 300 square feet might cost $50,000, but Cox says that most families will find it hard to make that back when they sell the house.
Moving companies can make the process of moving a lot easier, but they’re not the only cost, he points out. Other companies, especially estate agents and legal companies, will charge you vast sums of money for something that really shouldn’t be all that expensive. Cox says that the cost of moving can easily top $8,000, again making it less worthwhile.
The benefits of moving, however, are clear. Moving allows families to get homes that will fulfill their long-term needs and helps them to avoid the hassle and disruption of adding an extension.
It’s often worth getting quotes for how much it’ll cost for you to extend your house and then add that to the current value of your home to see what sort of properties you could afford for that budget.