5 top tips for extending your home

back garden view of house at dusk

Choosing to extend your home is more popular than ever and it can be the perfect way to gain extra space without the upheaval of relocatingExtending your property gives you the chance to tailor it to your needs and boost its value. To ensure you’re ready for the building work ahead, we’ve put together a few tips. Here are some of the most popular options.

  • Single-storey extension
    This type of extension consists of only one level and is normally added to the rear or side of the property. This is a perfect solution if you are looking to expand the size of your kitchen or create an extra office or playroom. With this type of extension, bi-folding doors are commonly added which help connect the house and the garden, perfect for the hotter days. Skylights can also be a great addition, bringing light to the space and making it feel very open and airy – perfect for an open-plan kitchen.

  • Double-storey extension
    Similar to a single-storey extension but you are extending two floors of your property, rather than one. This type of extension is perfect for someone who needs a lot of extra room. While a double-storey extension may seem like a much larger project to undertake than single-storey, they’re often a more budget-friendly way to add extra space to your home and cheaper than moving house when it comes to additional rooms for a growing family.

  • Rear extension
    A rear extension is the simplest of the five types and a good starting point for understanding how they all work. A rear extension simply extends from the back of the property, usually the kitchen, into the garden. This type of extension is often reserved for properties which do not have a side return, so there is only one direction in which to extend. Despite a seemingly small size, a rear extension will still allow for an impressive amount of additional space in your home.

  • Side return extension
    A side return extension utilises the space to the side of your property, often a small ‘alleyway’ between yours and the neighbouring property, and is frequently used to enlarge kitchens and dining areas without causing too much disruption to the rest of the property.

  • Wrap-around extension
    This type of extension is a combination of a side and a rear extension where the outcome is an L shape. This type of extension is ideal if you want to extend an existing room whilst also building a new one, e.g. extending the kitchen and building a dining room. Ideal for those who have the luxury of having ample garden space, a wrap-around extension allows you to extend as far back into your garden as you like, allowing you to create a spacious open-plan kitchen or even a bright conservatory.

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dusk shot of london property back garden

Speak to a professional

Look for someone who has conducted similar projects in the past and they will bring a wealth of experience to the table, avoiding mistakes that you might not be aware of in the early stages. They will know how to create the look you’re after in the most cost-effective way possible, and will also have a greater understanding of timing, budgeting, and the overall picture. Not using professional drawings and ‘just winging it’ with your builder might mean additional charges down the line, as mistakes are more likely to occur.

Determine what you want to achieve

Never start a property extension project without fully determining what you plan to achieve. If you’re not completely clued up on the details or sure on what you want the finished project to look like, it’s important to work this out before the building works commence. This is not only crucial for you, but it’s essential your project manager and team of builders know exactly what you want so they can bring your vision to life. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, guidance and recommendations, and always communicate clearly what you want to achieve from your extension.

You may feel eager to get the extension completed as soon as possible, but careful planning and consideration really will make all the difference. It’s important you take the time of year into consideration and how busy you and your family are going to be. For example, having major building works carried out over a busy period such as a birthday or Christmas can be disruptive. Instead, choose a quiet time of year to minimise the effect the building works will have on your life.

If you work from home, you may need to find an alternative place of work as the noise can be disruptive and distracting. Having a clear timeline is crucial; this way, you can plan your life around the extension works and ensure everyone in the family is ready and prepared.

Stone walled property with skylit extention and bifold doors
Real estate agent with client or architect team checking a housi

Get all approvals first

In many instances an extension or addition to your house may be considered a Permitted Development, so you don’t always need planning permission for an extension. A professional architect can help you to understand what is possible under Permitted Development or assist in submitting your project for planning permission, if required. 

Some instances in which you might need to obtain planning permission for an extension include the below:

  • Your house is listed

  • Your house is in an area of historic interest

  • You plan on building a raised veranda or balcony 

  • You are building a single-storey extension taller than 4 metres

  • You are extending towards a road

  • Your extension covers half of the area of land surrounding your home

  • The materials you plan on using differ from the rest of your house 

back garden of open plan property with bifolds open

How much value does an extension add?

The value that an extension will add can vary considerably depending on the size, style and complexity of the extension, not to mention the location of the property. In the UK, an average 3-bedroom house with an extension that creates a double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom can add up to 10-12% to the value of the property. To get an accurate evaluation of how much value your extension could add, speak to local property experts and architects for their professional advice. You’ll want to find out the current market value of your home, as well as its potential value once the changes have been made based on your plans.

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