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Is Extending My Home Better than Moving?

For a lot of households, there comes a time when your home can’t accommodate the needs of your growing family. Maybe the kids are getting older and need rooms of their own or you have another one on the way which means the home office gets transferred back to the kitchen and you go back to trying to keep butter off your paperwork! Either way, when that time arrives you’ll realise that squeezing your family into what now feels like a smaller home is not an option, you just need more space…

So now comes the question, do you move somewhere bigger or extend your house to make it large enough for your family & lifestyle? The answer depends on a number of different factors – the costs involved, your future plans, the type of house you have and how attached you are to it and even the type of area you live in. 

The cost of moving can far outweigh renovating, especially with rising house prices, steep agent costs and not to mention South Australia’s high stamp duty rates. There are cases when moving to a new house is more convenient but moving is stressful even for the best of us which is where extending becomes a better option. 

So where can extending your home be better than moving?

In the process

Let’s look at the steps you need to take for each option:

Moving House

  • Update/fix your home 
  • Set up your finances
  • Research and select Real Estate company
  • Place home on the market
  • Look for a new home in the meantime
  • Time the settlement date properly
  • Arrange utility and mail transfers 
  • Actually move home
  • Unpack your entire house
  • Possibly renovate new home to fit your needs
  • Organise and settle into new lifestyle whilst continuing to unpack (planning school transfers for your kids etc)

Sound stressful? It sure is… Compared to:

Extending Your Home

  • Prepare your finances
  • Research and select your builder 
  • Have fun designing your extension/renovation
  • Prepare your home for construction 
  • Go through construction (this part may raise stress levels with the extra foot traffic in your home and any issues that may arise but if you’ve chosen the right builder, the final result will be worth it)
  • Settle into your new and improved lifestyle without having to change a thing!

The process may take a little longer if deciding to extend your home but we like to think you won’t encounter the same level of stress when you choose to extend your house.

It is more customised

When you choose to extend your home, you are creating the opportunity to change your home’s design and in turn get what you’ve always desired! Not only will you refresh your old home’s looks, but choosing the option to extend gives you the chance to expand on living areas, bedrooms, have a bigger kitchen or amp up the luxury in your bathroom. You get to design and choose the materials, fixtures and finishes, all suited to your tastes.

When moving home, it’s hard to find a house that’s the perfect fit. Either the location is slightly off where you wanted to be or you’re paying a premium price for those hardwood floors you don’t even really like. Which begs the question, do you renovate your new home? Why wouldn’t you just renovate your existing home if so?

It can be more cost efficient

When you take into consideration real estate fees, costs of selling/moving and stamp duty, you will realise that a home extension is more affordable, and if not, it’s certainly better value for your money, especially if you plan on living there long term. A general guideline is if you’re not going to stay in the house for more than five years, it’s not worth renovating. But a major benefit when extending your home, is that the design is tailored to your budget, you won’t overspend unless you want to and you’ll be getting what you want with very little compromise. It’s certainly the better choice when you would much rather put $30,000 towards a brand new kitchen than pay that in stamp duty fees.

You get to stay home!

If you’re emotionally attached to your home, it’s obviously going to be hard for you to move out and sell it so choosing to extend allows you to hold onto something that has sentimental value. This way, the house will last for many more years and house future generations of your family. It’s a win-win!

So how much will my extension cost?

There isn’t one blanket answer for this as it all depends on what type of home you currently own, what your desires are, your budget, what type of finishes you want and much more. We suggest finding a builder that offers preliminary packages instead of consulting an architect on your own. Having a builder on your side when going through the design process will help keep a tight grip on your budget as your builder will be able to foresee any design aspects that will increase the price. Not only that but they will push through all the council and building approvals for you.

But before embarking on your project, we always suggest doing a needs analysis. It’s simply figuring out what you desire and what you’re willing to compromise on. What do you actually require first? Do you need an extra bedroom for your new arrival or do you require a home office as business is booming? Figure out what is a must-have first and then you can add in some luxury. Once you have a clearer idea on what you’re after, you can start the process. 

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect a single storey extension to cost between $2,000-$2,500 per square metre. A two storey extension will cost 1.5x that. These are conservative estimates and depending on the types of fixtures and finishings, the price could increase or decrease. It’s always best to have at least 10% contingency in your budget to cover unexpected expenses such as asbestos discovery or termites. 

Unless you want to have the headache of managing your project, we would highly recommend finding a building contractor that offers project management as well as construction. It’s not as simple as ‘create a design, build it, live it’. There are many factors to consider when managing your own project. You’ll have to liase with a lot of people and it can get very overwhelming. For instance, you’ll need:

  • An architect/building designer to create the plans and drawings
  • Structural engineer to ensure the design is stable and scales are accurate
  • Council approval, building rules consent
  • A builder to complete the carpentry work along with a plumber, electrician, painter, tiler, concreter, roofer etc
  • Interior designer to make sure your new place is well-put together

There’s also costs surrounding building permits, insurances, taxes and more. 

At ZJ Building, we offer all-in-one fixed priced contracts. From design to practical completion and everything in between. Your project is managed efficiently and in a timely manner, leaving you only with the fun tasks of selecting your fixtures and finishes. If you’re not ready to take the leap but want to get the design process started, we also offer preliminary packages on their own. If you’re serious about a new project, book a call with one of our team members today and we’ll help you begin your renovating journey!

Please Note: The prices given in this blog are just average building cost estimates. Your project is unique and may cost less or more than the numbers stated above.

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