To Renovate Or Move?

When your house becomes that little bit too small, too tired or the layout simply doesn't suit your lifestyle any longer, there are generally two options: relocating or renovating. We're taking a closer look at what's involved and what the primary risk factors are.

modern london flat
ARTICLE Stephanie Matheson

When your house becomes that little bit too small, too tired or the layout simply doesn’t suit your lifestyle any longer, there are generally two options: relocating or renovating. We’re taking a closer look at what’s involved and what the primary risk factors are.

With a tight property market here in the UK, moving house is not always easy or straightforward. Economic developments, a slowing housing market and long-term implications following Brexit have all added to the general uncertainty, along with rising interest rates, high house prices and high transaction costs such as estate fees and stamp duty. The recent changes to stamp duty may be a help to first-time buyers, but still leaves stamp duty at record levels of up to 12 per cent (depending on the transaction size) for everyone else.
Many millennials are finding it hard to get on the property ladder and are deciding to stay home for longer, while older family members might also come back to live with their children and be closer to family. What’s right for you and your family in terms of investing into a new or current property will depend on a number of different factors.
Obviously, money talks, and the costs of a relocation versus a renovation can be a deal-breaker. Spending time and doing the numbers will pay off in the long run, and more often than not it can be more cost-effective to do up and add to your existing home. Not only will you save the many fees and taxes associated with a house move, but every penny you spend will also add to the value of your house in the long term. When looking at selling and moving, there are many hidden costs to be aware of and the final price of a move can be hard to predict.

Another key consideration is location, location, location.

Moving house can be a great opportunity to upsize or downsize, but it can also often mean an upheaval for the whole family if you are relocating to a new part of town, or a new town altogether, with new schools, neighbours and lifestyle options to get used to. If you like it where you are, a home renovation can be the ideal way to improve and extend your home while allowing you to stay in your familiar surroundings.
Renovation specialist Dominic Hollands has worked on a few renovations for families who have opted to increase their living space rather than relocate. One such project was a granny flat renovation in Auckland, New Zealand. Dominic converted the homeowner’s basement into a granny flat for relatives to stay in. “The final result”, states the homeowner, “is exactly what I wanted.”
“A granny flat is a cost-effective solution for independent living, for grandparents or other relatives, both long term or short-term,” says Dominic. “Converting an existing space such as a garage or basement area is typically a much more cost-effective solution than extending the house.”

What should I consider when trying to sell up and move to a new house?

Selling your current home and buying a new house can be daunting, but if you need to change your location, it might be the necessary move to make. Many homeowners are looking to sell their home at the same time as buying a new house, which can put pressure on the timeframe of the sale and the expected sale amount. The slowing housing market can make selling a challenge.
Key steps include financial planning and finding the right estate agent. Take stock of your current mortgage situation and work out, ideally with an experienced financial advisor, how much extra money you are willing to invest. You should also take time to prepare an approximate budget that includes estate agent fees, stamp duty and other costs and fees related to your move. Other cost factors that might be applicable to your move can include, arrangement fees, valuation fees, survey fees, stamp duty, conveyancing costs, land registry fees, removal fees and hidden costs of new equipment and upgrading the property you are moving to.
Looking for a rental property to bridge the gap between selling and buying can be worthwhile to reduce stress levels, however, it will add to the overall cost of the move.

What are the best ways to add value to my property?

When you’re renovating to bring your home up to scratch with your family’s current life and style, you don’t necessarily want to think about the resale value of your property. But it pays to keep a few common property trends and developments in mind to ensure you are on track with market expectations. And should you decide to sell after all, it’s worth working out which improvement will provide the best value for money and return on investment. Every house is different, but experienced renovation specialist can help you find the most cost-effective solutions that will help you achieve the biggest value gains.
Here in the UK, the most common types of renovations are kitchen and bathroom renovations, followed by same level extensions, loft conversions and basement conversions. These types of projects will generally improve the market value of your house significantly.

Follow this link to read more about the 5 most popular types of renovations in the UK.

Adding more usable living space to a home is typically a key desire, so it’s no surprise that single storey or side extensions are hugely popular. They are far more affordable than basement conversions.

If this is something that you are interested in, read our article about single storey extensions.

How much does it cost to renovate?

Each house and each renovation project is different, so it is hard to nail down a price or even pricing range for a home renovation. Renovation projects are complex by nature, usually with architectural drawings, council rules and regulations, permits and a host of different tradespeople to manage. An experienced project management team can help you get your project completed on time and within budget, and help you avoid costly mistakes.
To give you a few rough ideas, you should plan on spending £7,000 and up to renovate a small to medium sized bathroom with mid-level fixtures. For a basic kitchen renovation, plan on investing around £15,000 and up. If you are keen to add space, a renovation budget of around £40,000 will allow you to create a medium sized extended kitchen/dining/living space with a large window or glass frontage.
Keep in mind though that with any building and renovation project, unforeseen problems can arise and you should ensure you have allowed for a contingency budget of around 10 to 15 per cent or more of the expected renovation costs.
To sum it up: do up or sell up – it’s not always an easy choice. Investing in your current property can be a smart thing to do, and a team of experienced renovation specialists can help you find the right solution for you. To find out what how you could add space to your home, redesign your floor space or revamp the exterior of your house, get in touch with Refresh Renovations to arrange a design and build home renovation consultation.

You may also be interested in How Much Does It Cost To Extend My Bedroom And En-Suite?

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
This article was featured in Issue 30 of Renovate Magazine.

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