Several years on from the deepest depths of the recent credit crunch, homeowners are still wary about just how much of their money is tied up in their property. Far too many of them suffered from infamous negative equity – meaning that they owed more to their mortgage lender than their home was worth.
Bearing this in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that more people are attempting to increase the value of their home with extensions and alterations. If you do have some disposable income available, it can certainly be tempting. However, before you whip out the cheque book, ponder through the following five questions to make sure that you understand exactly what is required in the project.
Will the extension add value to your home?
Before you even consider obtaining a quote, you need to ask yourself whether your extension is going to increase your home’s value. If you are considering a basement conversion from a company such as basement2rooms.co.uk, you’re probably safe in the knowledge that the value will increase substantially. However, if you happen to be adding a swimming pool or other ‘premium’ feature, some houses may have already reached their ceiling value and subsequently won’t be affected by even the most significant improvements.
Have you considered your planning responsibilities?
Fortunately, the planning laws have been relaxed over recent years and as long as your extension is not considered to be permitted development, you will not need to make an application. However, if it is something out of the ordinary, make sure you consider the fees you will be responsible for and also any design changes you may have to make to satisfy any requests.
What about building control?
You might not need planning permission, but satisfying the building regulations is something completely different. It doesn’t matter how big or small your extension is, you will have to browse through all of the regulations to ensure that your extension will satisfy a building control officer – who will then schedule regular inspections to ensure the work is being carried out satisfactory. Again, this will involve an initial Building Notice fee, while you also shouldn’t forget that you must use a reputable contractor and design team who will stick to the current regulations.
Does your home have particular historic meaning?
When we talk about historic meaning, we’re really referring to Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings. If your home falls into either category, you may have a real fight on your hands to get past the planning stage. Furthermore, don’t be surprised if English Heritage wades in and request that you use specific materials, with these most likely adding significant costs to the project.
What about the neighbours?
Finally, don’t neglect your neighbours. You may need to rely on their property for access for contractors, or just ask them to put up with the increased noise levels for the next couple of months. Additionally, and this does tend to apply to a lot of projects, you may need to submit a form of Party Wall notice to inform them that you are performing work either to a shared wall, or within 6m of their home’s foundations.