Regardless of how much you adore your home, there may come a time when you feel like you have outgrown it. Since purchasing your property, you may have had a few kids or, maybe an in-law has moved in and, what used to be a spacious and relaxing haven is now a chaotic and cramped disaster area!
Whilst many families decide to sell up and buy a bigger home, it is becoming more and more common for people to stay put and extend instead. Extending can be cheaper, will add value, and also means you can remain in the home you love.
Whilst it is a very exciting time, there are a few things you need to consider. Here are 4 things you should do before extending your home.
Take your time to go over the plan
Once a decision has been made to extend, you probably want things to happen immediately. Whilst it might be tempting to start the ball rolling straight away, it is very important to take your time. This could be a very costly process, so getting it right is crucial.
Consider how you use your current space and the areas you feel need to be enlarged or adapted. Perhaps you feel your kitchen isn’t big enough to accommodate your whole family, and so you want to knock through to your dining room to make one huge open-plan space. Maybe you want to add a conservatory or feel that creating a master suite in your loft would give you the space you desire.
Once you have agreed on the basics, try to imagine how you want your finished rooms to look. You can get some fabulous ideas from interior design magazines and creating a mood board for the imminent transformation will get your creative juices flowing. Do some research on any home plan design trends expected for this year and use them to inspire you. Last-minute changes are costly, so if you take your time now, you are less likely to have a change of heart once the project is already underway.
Obtain relevant permissions
Once you have a good idea of what you want, you need to consult an architect. They will discuss your ideas and tell you what is and is not feasible and put together some drawings for you to look over.
Depending on the extent of works being carried out, you may require consent from the local authority. This involves detailed working drawings being produced and submitted for approval. Nothing can start until these permissions have been granted so you need to be patient.
Once approval has been obtained, a program of works can be drawn up, and the building works can start.
Carefully plan your budget
Accurate budgeting is essential when planning an extension. Imagine getting halfway through your project and running out of money! That is not a scenario that anyone wants, so spend as much time on the financial side as you do the design and you should be ok. Put together a spreadsheet detailing your anticipated costs to include labor, materials, and professional fees.
Remember that once your design structure is complete, you still need to decorate, buy furniture, and add finishing touches – the costs for which can mount. Be detailed, account for everything, and you should be able to put a fairly realistic budget in place.
Just remember that things don’t always go according to plan, so it’s a good idea to add a contingency of 10%-20% just in case you experience any hiccups along the way.
Speak to your neighbors
If the majority of the works are internal, this isn’t as important, but if your neighbor’s property is fairly close to yours, communicate with them. If scaffolding is being erected or your driveways will be filled with rubbish skips throughout the project, it’s a good idea to let your neighbors know about your plans.
Neighborhood permissions might be required so, where possible, tell them in advance of a letter being dropped on their doormat. They are more likely to be accommodating and raise no objections if you have been upfront with them. It could also come in handy if, for some reason, your builders need access to their land at any point for communal drainage checks or other construction-related purposes.
Give them a rough idea of the works that are being carried out as well as how long they are expected to take, and it will ensure that your relationship with them remains a good one.