Should I move or improve?
Or as so eloquently put in the 80’s and multiple times since “Should I stay or Should I go?” Traditionally advice usually focuses on the financial implications of either option; financial organisations highlight the benefits of improving to increase property value and the real estate industry tending to emphasis the advantages of a fresh start.
Before considering the cases for either option we recommend that you develop your brief. A well-developed design brief is essential for a successful project. It should be clear and unambiguous setting out your main requirements, detailing your vision and communicating your aims. Working on a brief should help you to understand the main function of the finished project; understand your motivation and expectations, design direction, budget and set realistic time frames. Investing time on your brief will allow you to make an informed decision about whether your best option is to remodel your existing home or to move to a new house.
The Case for moving
Future proof your design brief by thinking about how your home needs to perform now as well as going forward. Think about how different life events could affect your plans. If you need to change location to get into a better school catchment area, to be in commuting distance for a new job or need a bigger garden to keep chickens in retirement, this is a clear-cut case to move.
Are there planning restrictions, special covenants or space limitations on achieving the outcome you want? This could also mean that you need to move, though if you love your house consider taking advice to see if there are alternative ways to achieve your goals. If you crave more space but can’t extend it might be possible to reconfigure your current home to free up space.
If you can take a significant step up, with mortgage rates low it might be possible to get a bigger home and a better location than you think. It is worth speaking to a financial advisor, doing some sums and checking out the property sites.
The case for improving
Solicitor’s fees, estate agent’s charges, stamp duty, house removals, mortgage valuation and property surveyors’ costs can soon add up. In 2018 the average cost of buying, selling and moving was £10,210. This could go a long way to addressing some of the changes you want to make, for example bespoke storage to organising the spreading clutter or the opening up of a dark living room.
Investments in your current home can add value, especially if you have the option to add some significant square footage or address obvious flaws. Unless you’re a developer this may not be particularly important to you, but if you need to future proof your plans it is important to consider the funds tied up in your project. Take advice about the potential effect on value before you start work, in some areas for example it may be that the cost of a new loft conversation is more than its worth financially.
Future proofing is not all about resale value. Building to basic building reg is cheaper than achieving Passivhaus but you don’t get the added benefits of significantly lower fuel bills, long term fuel security or comfort. A good Passivhaus designer will be able to help you estimate the payback times of different elements of your build. There is also growing evidence that energy efficient homes are beginning fetch a resale premium.
Your last house hunt was hard enough. Is there a suitable property on the market? The advantage of remodelling is that you can achieve exactly what you want, the look, the environmental standard and the space. You might need to treat the project like the rungs of the property ladder breaking the work down into manageable chunks. Don’t make piecemeal additions or scrimp on the design because of a shortage of funds now. Develop a long-term plan, your architect will be able to help you break this down into manageable phases and it’s even easy to achieve Passivhaus certification with EuroPHit.
This is up to you; can you achieve what you want where you are, will you be able to get it if you move? If you still have questions after weighing everything up give us a call.