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Should I sell or should I extend?

When you need more space, it's tempting to jump right to searching for a bigger property. But sometimes, you have everything you need — it just takes a little imagination.

home improvements

If you feel like you’ve outgrown your home in lockdown, you’re not alone. Headlines are constantly talking about the mass relocation that the pandemic has brought on — with people moving far and wide for greener pastures (or maybe just bigger gardens). And it may be a great time for you to move — but it might not be. So although a lot of agents are claiming that the market is so hot that you should definitely be moving, we know that selling is personal. There are some questions you should ask yourself: Should I sell my house now? Do I really need a new home — or just more space? Is it just the lockdown itch? 

Nobody can answer these questions for you. But, if space is your issue, we can help you work through the options. If you love your location and your current home, you may find that an extension or a conversion is a great option that can save you the money (and stress) of moving. But maybe you’re ready for a whole new adventure. Let’s get started.

Can I extend or convert?

If you really need a little more room to breathe — or just a quiet workspace — the first thing to do is see if that’s an option in your current home. That may mean an extension, but you can also get creative. Converting an attic, a basement, or even a garage can make a huge difference — and sometimes a writing shed in the garden may be all you need. 

Think about your space, take a look around what neighbours have done, and maybe even start a Pinterest board — the first step is seeing what might be possible in your current space. If you don’t have a lot of options, selling might be the right choice.

The good news? There are some extensions you can do without planning permission."

Can I get permission?

If you have the potential, the next step is permission. The good news? There are some extensions you can do without planning permission. ‘Permitted Development Rights’ mean that some smaller works don’t require permission to build. These might include converting a garage or a single-story extension, but it’s always important to check. The government's Planning Portal is a great place to see if you need permission and learn how to apply. 

One bonus is that even if you end up selling, planning permission can be very tempting to buyers and make your home more desirable — so looking into it can be a win-win.

What could I buy?

If you’re choosing between maximizing your current space or selling up, you’ll want to look at what’s possible if you do decide to move. That means looking at your budget and the location (or locations) you’d consider moving. If you want to stay in the same neighbourhood, you’ll likely have a good sense of how much a bigger home would cost — but if you’re looking further afield, you’ll have to do some research.

Then, compare. A kitchen extension can cost tens of thousands of pounds — and a garage conversion can cost near the 10k mark. Look at how much it might cost you to make the changes you need and compare that to the potential cost of buying somewhere bigger.

Do I love my home?

Isn’t that what it all comes down to? Ultimately, it’s a personal decision — a mix of budget, the potential of your current home, and where you might be looking at buying next. But while your head is doing a lot of the thinking, let your heart come into it, too. If you love where you live and you thought you had found your forever home, a shed in the garden and a kitchen extension might solve all of your problems. If you never really settled into the home or if you don’t have any potential to extend or convert, it might be time for a move. It’s your call. 

So should you sell or should you extend? When everyone is feeling the need for more space and the market is on a high, it’s tempting to think that it’s the right time to sell. And it might be — but it also might not be. Anyone who tells you they know you should be selling, without knowing your personal circumstances, may not have your best interest at heart. So take your time, do some research, and work out what’s best for you.

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