Posted on 5th March 2019

Move or Improve, Which is Best?

Martin Williamson, Director and Head of Residential Property
Martin Williamson, Director and Head of Residential Property

Owning property is one of life’s most expensive commitments and deciding whether to improve a home that doesn’t quite meet your needs to increase its future value or to move brings its own challenges. You may be settled in the community, possibly with children in the local school, and are familiar with the nearby amenities. You may have a favourite restaurant, pub or café nearby, or a fixed routine at your local gym. There are of, course, financial implications to consider. This will guide whether you feel it would be best to move immediately, or if renovating your house would give a better return when selling in the future. In the end, it will be a decision that only you can make.

Moving

The first question to ask is do I want to move? If the reason you’re considering a new home is due to location or neighbourhood rather than number of rooms or a small kitchen, then improvements may not suit your needs, regardless of the added value down the line.

Conduct a search and see what properties are available within your budget. This can be done online as well as visiting an estate agent in person. Check your commute and the schools nearby, as well as aspects of your home life you cherish, like walking the dog in a local park or having shops close by.

If budget allows, moving may enable you to upgrade to a larger house or a property without the upheaval of construction. Of course, you may still need to do some remedial work and decorating. It is rare that you find the perfect house that does not require any work, so consider that you still may need to invest in a new bathroom or extend your kitchen.

Improving

Improving first may seem more appealing than moving, especially if this will increase the value of your home when you do come to sell. If your house search does not reveal any suitable properties immediately, then consider the option of staying put for a while and remodelling your house to get a greater return in the future.

The benefits to improving your house are that it allows you to think about exactly what you need now, and what will make it more aesthetically appealing to future buyers. This could be a new kitchen with breakfast bar or a room in the loft, or maybe a quiet office space. Most changes to a property will add value in the long term.

However, it is imperative to seek any necessary planning permission and building regulation approval before considering renovations or extensions, to avoid running into problems with the local council. You must also produce these when you come to sell.

Henry Carver of Carver Residential says: “Every day we meet clients who have to decide if they should extend their property and stay put or find a house that is more suitable to their current circumstance.

“The decision will more often be swayed by the financial implications of extending, rather than the upheaval of living on a building site. At Carver Residential we always welcome the opportunity to visit the client at their home and discuss, in detail, their options. This will include looking at available properties within their price range and undertaking a full market appraisal on their home as it stands today, giving them the likely sale price if they decide to modify.

“We often find that the cost of the building works actually exceeds the increase in property value, therefore if a client can see themselves moving in the following 3-5 years, our advice is usually to move home now, rather than going through the expense and hassle.”

In the end, it is a tough decision, but you need to sit down and think about what you want and have the budget for. Do your homework, obtain quotes and valuations, check on planning permissions if needed and ask the experts!

Please note: This article is intended as guidance only. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. In addition, no responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by the firm.