We have all spent significantly more time in our homes over the last year. For some, this extra time has been an opportunity to enjoy the homes we’re often too busy to appreciate. For others, it has highlighted that our current homes aren’t meeting our needs.
According to Santander, more than 60,000 people applied for an extension or conversion during the first national lockdown, and more than 80% of homeowners are planning to make improvements to their homes over the next year. However, we have seen a steep rise in the cost of materials and building trades since March 2020. With costs continuing to rise, is improving your current home still a sensible option, or is it better to move?
Benefits of improving your current property
- You know the neighbourhood
Staying in the same area can be a big draw for many homeowners who choose to improve their current property rather than move, especially if they have school age children or are actively involved in the local community.
- You know the neighbours
Everyone fears moving next door to a neighbour from hell, so if you have good relationships with your current neighbours it can feel like a big risk to move.
- You know the property
If you’ve lived in your property for some time, you’ll have a good idea of what changes would make your home perfect for you.
- You can spend your budget where it will have the biggest impact
If you like the area you live in and most of your property meets your needs, improving your current property allows you use your budget where it will have the biggest impact. When you move to a new property, you’re unlikely to find somewhere that’s absolutely perfect, so you’ll be likely to want to spend money making home improvements. Rather than spending money on moving house and then more money on getting your new property how you want it, it could make sense to stay where you are and improve your current home.
- You don’t have the stress of moving house
There’s a reason why people say moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do. If you stay where you are and improve your current property to meet your needs, you can also avoid the stress of looking for someone to buy your house.
Benefits of moving to a new home
- Less financial risk
Estimates suggest that some building materials have almost doubled in price over the last 18 months. Supply issues are also plaguing the building trade, with many projects stalling because materials are unavailable. Both of these issues will have cost implications for any home improvement project.
Any property will have a ceiling price – a top price that the property would sell for due to external factors such as recent sale prices in the area, local amenities and transport links. Spend too much on home improvement and you could risk spending more than you would ever get back at the point of sale. If the cost of renovations or improvement work is likely to take you near what the property would be worth once the work is completed, it may well be a more sensible and less risky option to move to a new property instead.
- No mess or disruption
Living through a major house renovation or extension is not something to take on lightly. A house project can be incredibly stressful at any time and with the current rising costs and supply shortages, even more so. Supply issues mean it’s difficult to put a timescale on any renovation work, so the disruption could continue for much longer than anticipated.
In normal times there are lots of benefits to staying in your current home and improving it, however the current difficulties with both supply and cost are adding an extra element of stress to many homeowners and often making moving a better financial option. Whether moving or improving is the right choice for you will very much depend on your personal circumstances, but you should weigh up your different option carefully and think through which option best suits your needs.