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Extending Your Home – Top Tips for Homeowners

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Homeowners don’t have to move to a different property to get a bigger and better house. Sometimes the solution may be extending your home instead.

Adding an extension to your home could help you to make the most of your investment, whilst avoiding the costs associated with buying and selling, such as mortgage fees, stamp duty and removal costs.  

The idea of remortgaging and borrowing against your current home can be an attractive option to pay for your renovations.  Whether for an extension, or perhaps you simply want to update your kitchen or bathroom.  However, there are potential pitfalls and risks you should be aware of before making any large financial decisions. 

If you are planning to add an extension or make other renovations to your current home, here are a few things to consider:

Are you extending your home for the right reasons

Are you extending your home because you actually need the space and you plan to stay there for a long time i.e creating your forever home?  Or are you doing it in the hope of adding value to the property?  If you are extending your home for yourself and your family, then the final cost and value of the property may not be so vital.  If you are wanting to add value before selling your home, then you’ll want to make sure you are going to get a decent return on your investment. 

Make sure you have permission in place

Once you are sure what you want to achieve from your home renovations, you’ll need to check to see whether you need to make a planning application.  Small improvements such as bathroom and kitchen refits won’t require this. However something like a loft conversion will need to meet Building Regulations and an external extension, depending on the size, will very likely need planning permission.  This can add time to the process so you’ll need to consider this if you have a deadline in mind. 

Work out your budget – and have a contingency plan in place

The cost of having home renovations can vary greatly.  It’s sensible to get at least three quotes from building contractors for both materials and labour costs.  And don’t forget that the highest cost may not always equal the best quality.  Ensure that you read reviews or ask for recommendations from friends or family – word of mouth is often the best way of finding a reputable trader. 

A good tradesperson will work within the restraints of your budget, but remember things can still go wrong.  It’s sensible to have a contingency fund in place for such occasions. 

How disruptive will the work be?

Extending your home or adding a loft conversion can be a huge job and can often be a lengthy process.  Living in a building site isn’t fun, particularly if you have children or pets so you may consider moving out whilst the work is being done.  If so, you’ll need to work these costs into your overall budget. 

Financing your improvements

If you have savings, you may be able to dip into these for smaller home improvements.  But extending your home or for other large projects, you may need to look at other options.

Remortgaging is one way of releasing cash to finance your renovation project. This is only an option if you have enough equity in your home to do so.  You’ll need to consider how long you have left on your mortgage.  If you are wanting to change your mortgage whilst in the middle of a fixed deal, this could incur significant extra costs, which could send you over budget.

A secured loan is another option to consider. A secured loan uses the borrowers home as security so does bring with it added risk if you are unable to make the repayments on the loan. 

If you would like to speak to someone about financing your home improvements then speak to our team of mortgage experts at So Smart Money to find the solution that is best for you. 

The above post does not constitute advice – financial, legal or otherwise. The information within this article is the author’s own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of SO Media or So Smart Money.


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