Saving money by adding space

In this blog post we discuss how to save money by adding space. Read on for our tips and advice.

Our guide to saving money by adding space

Adding square footage will always add value. The only question is whether it adds more value than it costs...

Moving house is not cheap. A reasonable estimate of the cost is about 10 per cent of the price of the property you're selling. That means if you live in a three-bedroom house worth £300,000 and decide to move into the identical three-bedroom house next door, you'll pay around £30,000 on estate agent's fees, stamp duty, legal costs, removers and the rest. People always underestimate moving costs because they pay them a bit at a time, and don't necessarily add them up.

Trading up to a four-bedroom house, when you include the ‘invisible' cost of moving as well as the property price hike, can add a huge whack to your mortgage. How much more sensible, you might think, to hang on to that £30,000 and build an extra room in your current property instead, especially if you like where you are living. Adding square footage will always add value. The only question is whether it adds more value than it costs.

There are three ways to extend: up, out or down. Going up and out - the loft and kitchen/conservatory extensions - are less expensive than going down - the basement. But whichever way you extend, keep the balance of the house. You don't want it to become top- or bottom-heavy, have too many bedrooms for your living space, or wake up and find all your garden inside the conservatory.

When adding space, the finish is everything, so make it the best quality you can afford. You don't always need an architect, but it's a false economy not to on a big project where structure and details count. I'd use a local building company with experience of similar extensions to your style and period of house. You're going to spend serious money on this, so visit previous clients to see how the builders' work stands the test of time.

Before you undergo any building work, check if you need planning permission. Building regulations have recently changed and properties undergoing work are now assessed on their total energy-efficiency. An architect can help.