If your home isn’t working for the way you live now, you might be thinking of making a change. You could buy a property, have one built or renovate your existing home – each of these has its pros and cons. So it pays to carefully consider your options before you make a move – or stay put.
If the location of your home doesn’t suit you – perhaps you used to like living in town but now you yearn for a west coast sea view – then clearly you will have to move. Likewise, if you have outgrown your home following the arrival of children and/or pets, or you wish to work from home and don’t have room for an office or workshop, then moving might be the most cost-effective solution. Even if space and planning permission allow for an extension, it will most likely eat into your outdoor space and building is an expensive undertaking. Conversely, you may be considering downsizing, freeing up capital to use elsewhere.
If you move you could find the perfect property, although you should be realistic and expect to make some compromises. And don’t forget that moving doesn’t preclude improving: a new kitchen or bathroom could make all the difference to your new abode. Even if you feel you could make do with the existing kitchen or bathroom, it might need replacing in a few years’ time so do weigh up the costs. Moving can be expensive and stressful but also hugely exciting, especially if your new neighbourhood is a better fit for you and your family.
In our experience, existing older housing stock can have its limitations. It was designed for another era and the technology of the time. Have you thought about a new build, either on the site of your existing property or in a new location? A brand new property could be an eco house or even a Passivhaus! And, of course, your Chartered Architect will design to your brief, giving you a home that works perfectly for you and your family’s needs. Starting off with a blank canvas is a chance to get everything right. A good Chartered Architect will advise you on sustainability and the possibility of creating a ‘lifetime home’, making it truly future proof.
If you love the location of your home, it’s convenient and you have great neighbours, you would do well to look into improving it. This will save you document duty, advocates’ fees and the cost of moving but there are still financial implications to consider, not to mention the inconvenience to factor in.
Before you plan to renovate, ask yourself how long you expect to stay in your home. Beware of over-capitalising on projects if you aren’t sure you will be there in the long term. This particularly applies to energy-saving measures: the cost of installing them should be recuperated eventually, but if you sell quickly then it might not be you who benefits.
Get to know your local property market and ask a reputable estate agent to advise you on its current value as well as its projected value after the work is done.
A new kitchen or bathroom can make a big difference to the feel of a property, but don’t rely on recouping the cost of your renovation if you decide to sell – you may think prospective buyers will pay a premium for your dreamy new kitchen, but it might not be to everyone’s tastes. And some renovations, like the addition of a swimming pool, might even put some buyers off. Focus on the enjoyment you will get from your improvement projects, rather than counting on adding to the market value of your home.
Carefully considered improvements should add value to your property and make it easier to sell if you decide to move further down the line. Even more importantly, a renovation should enhance your enjoyment of living in your home: more space, more light, better technology, an improved flow between rooms, a better connection with the garden or open plan living… the sky’s the limit when it comes to how it could be transformed. Speak to your Chartered Architect – they will undoubtedly see possibilities you haven’t thought of.
Ricky Mahy, Technical Director, says:
‘Here at Create Chartered Architects, we love the challenge of designing a new home or exploring the potential when it comes to renovating your existing property. If you’re not sure whether to move or improve, get in touch and we will be more than happy to offer you one hour’s free consultation to discuss all the options.’