Move or Extend? How to Extend?

Spoiler Alert! We are going to put an extension on our current home...actually started it this week, but I thought it would be good to do a blog diary for anyone else in the same situation, wondering what to do and also to see all the changes commence...maybe when I'm clinically insane it will be given as evidence at some point too though. This is my basic version, its not too technical because I haven't had to go through the entire process like most people 1. My husband is an architect 2. My father in law is the builder...this might be a blessing or a curse! However I will state some 'proper links' and please note this is just an example, your house, area, circumstances and prices may varie. Ok so here is Part 1.

One thing is for sure we need space, lets face it who doesn't?! Especially if you have kids, ours are growing like weeds and I feel that one day I might actually drown in toys, or ironing...the possibilities are endless really. We have been going back and forth though for about 4 yrs now whether to move or extend our house - a 1940s 3 bedroom semi on a corner plot.

Moving - Could be a totally fresh start, get a different lay out, more bedrooms, bigger or different garden, better school districts. However moving is not cheap. Most people will be spending more to get more space, but for one its 1% stamp duty under £250k and 3% over that. Add that to Estate agents take 1-3%. Solicitor fees. Removal costs and there are always some extras for example the last time we moved 8yrs ago we couldn't move into our new home and didn't want to upset the chain so had to pay for 2 weeks storage....of our whole house!#kerching 

Extending - Providing you have the space and are confident you will get the planning permission it is a lot less upheaval. You can keep all the things you love about where you live and wont have to redecorate throughout which even if its just to touch up the Magnolia most of us do it when we move. Depending where you live, what kind of structure and size you want it will still probably be cheaper in the long run. Figures show that Extensions cost £30-70,000 again with lots of variants.

We did look at moving, even putting our house up for sale and getting the full asking price in a week but after an extensive search we couldn't find anything! It was either 4 beds squeezed in a 3, a lot more money for no more house or it just didn't tick the boxes. We worked out that if we got anything near what we wanted it would add £50k+ to the mortgage and would cost around 14K just to move. 

So we had to decline and have decided to extend our current home.

How to Extend:
  • WHAT? So first thing is what do you want vs what you can have. We definitely wanted another bedroom for sure to spread out and have a guest bedroom/office. We could easily accommodate a loft conversion but ideally we really needed some space downstairs so we could have a toy room too. 
  • WHICH? Which type of extension then? For the above reasons we have decided to go for a double storey extension. Now this can go out backwards to the house, very popular in Victorian houses but we are lucky to be on a corner plot and meant we could go out to the side and not loose too much of our garden which is another thing to consider and a bonus for us. 
  • SIZE and STYLE What do you want the extension to look like? You need to draw up some plans and decide on your layout and size. My husband is an architect...technically he draws Oil Rigs so he can do the drawings standing on his head...but he has absolutely no creative vision. Luckily I do but what I want, what I can have and that he is as tight as two coats of paint, is already causing...lets say friction but we are getting there with the help of Pintrest.
  • PLANS Once you have decided on your layout you will have to have some proper plans draw up on a drawing system like CAD. Technically if you can use one of these systems well and are confident to measure it perfectly and scale the drawing to 1:2 then you can submit them for Planning permission. However if not you will need to hire a professional such as an Architect. I have even considered this myself as people who do this all the time will instantly know what kind of structures will suit your home, what will be likely approved by the Council, approximate cost to build, details like existing drains to consider and generally fresh eyes and ideas. It is up to you how much of their services you require and most will have different packages from basic measure and plans drawn up, to full creative vision, with a selection of ideas on a 4D disc for you to choose from. Again the price will varie from area, extension and Architect.

  • PRICE: You can have this done before you have the plans drawn up as a good builder/project manager will be able to recommend an architect however I would rather have my plans ready to show a builder exactly what we want and get a more realistic price for the extension. So ask around people who have trusted builders, this is Facebook at its best or if you see a great extension don't be shy knock on the door and ask who the contractor is. Get 3 quotes to get an idea and don't pick any unless your happy. Our price is estimated at 30k which the father in law is helping with discounts, his time and the husband is labouring too so a bit cheaper than most  
  • PLANNING PERMISSION Once you have decided all of this, had your plans drawn up you will have to apply for planning permission either online, post or in person. Which is a series of forms, your drawings and we paid £172 prices will varies in different authority's. I would not recommend chancing this by not applying, do your research thoroughly. Usually anything over 3mq will need permission from the council. If you decide to build first and a neighbour complains or the council is informed then you can apply for "Retrospective Planning" but there is no guarantee it will be granted and you could potentially have to rip down some or all of your extension, even years later. 
  • APPLY ....and then you wait! This will usually take about 8-10 weeks to be decided. 
  • ORGANISE: Not many people I know are confident they will get planning permission until they do but its good to start making some plans. Start gathering the finance for when you need it, pick a contractor, make plans for if you will need to move out while the build goes on etc. These things tend to creep on you one minute its quiet then its go go go.
  • APPROVED. If your lucky like us you will get your plans approved and can now move onto the real bit - Building.Plans are normally valid for 5yrs if you dont want to start your build straight away. 

Front view of the house building out to the side...soz it was a miserable day.

Back view....I know I know don't be incredible jealous of my clip art what can I say #skills

Close up of the proposed downstairs.

Proposed upstairs...my very own girls bathroom!!!

Here is a great site with more in depth and technical information if your interested below.

Our local Authority is North Tyneside but their link is broken.....

If you have had an extention and have any tips please shout up if not keep up with our not so grand designs!

Phase 1. Weeks 1 and 2 

Ash xox



  1. Looks like it must be that time of year! I've been musing on my blog just last night about whether to move and rent for a year or stay put…I just want a garden and a kitchen big enough for one of those country style islands and a table! Oh and I guess we could do we another bedroom or two!! I can't believe it but I've managed to get attached to Blyth…! Your plans look exciting :) xxx

  2. JUst read that....I'm on Blogloving now don't you know whooooo! My advice is just go for it! If you want a bigger house with a garden (100% essential if you can when you have kids) I would just start looking asap and sell up as much as you love your home that feeling wont go away especially as Reuben gets bigger.

    1. Might take a while to sell so need a head start. 2.You will know what you want by then. 3. If you sell straight away (get in) and don't feel ready or see anything you like THEN rent. I wouldn't sell with a plan to rent for a year, probably without anything you want long term its kind of wasted money in my very humble opinion. We have wasted about 4yrs going back and forth without the room we need. Just go for your forever home!