With a slow housing market, we have noticed a rise in homeowners extending and renovating their current properties rather than selling up and buying a new home. This is a great idea and it doesn’t only save you money, but it can also give you a return on investment if you do decide to sell later. Before you jump in and start contacting builders, there are a few things you need to consider.

1.What’s your budget?

Before you do anything, you need to sit down and decide how much you have to spend. You will need to include extras such as your architect’s fees, costs of planning applications (if necessary) and building control. Most architects and builders chard 20% VAT so don’t forget to include that in your budget.

2. What would you like to achieve?

You need to determine what you would like to achieve from your extension. Would you like a larger kitchen? An additional bedroom in your loft space? A larger family room? This will help your architect design the space that is ideal for you.

3. How long will it take?

You need to be patient when it comes to a home extension. Planning and building regulation approvals can take months before you can consider getting started. You need to expect disruptions to your family life during the works. You need to consider holidays or events where you may need full use of your home. Try and plan ahead as far as possible.

4. Do you need planning permission?

You can check with your architect or planning officer from your local council as to whether you will need planning permission. Some extensions such as loft conversions and some single storey rear extensions do not require planning permission and are under permitted development.

5. Do you need an architect?

A home extension is not a simple DIY job; they can easily go wrong. An architect will make sure the smooth running of your project. They can submit all application for you and liaise with your builders. They are experts in this field and will guarantee the end result you are after.

6. What about my neighbours?

You need to take your neighbours into consideration, especially if any works are being carried out on a party wall which connects to your neighbour’s property. You may need a party wall agreement where they consent to the works. This can incur additional costs. Your architect will be able to advise you on this.

7. Are you in a conservation area?

You need to check with your local council to see whether you are in a conservation area or if your home is a listed building. This could mean there are restrictions to any alterations you would like to make to the property.

8. Where are you extending?

Would you like to extend to the back of the property, the side or extend up? The most effective way of gaining extra space is either a loft conversion, single storey rear extension or a two-storey side extension (if you have the space to extend from the side). If you have the option to extend your loft space into an additional bedroom, then it is definitely worth considering. Talking to your architect can help with design ideas. They have lots of experience and can help come up with the best option for you.

9. How do you know your builder is good?

Unless you’re a builder or have a builder in your family, it is more than likely that you will need to get a firm in. You need to choose carefully and wisely to avoid cowboy builders. If you have a neighbour or someone on your street who has previously had a similar extension, feel free to ask them their experience with their builder and if they would recommend them. Your architect should also have a list of approved builders that they have previously worked with that they can recommend.

10. What’t your timeline?

Set yourself a realistic timeline for completion. There is a great chance your project will over-run, but this is normal. It is rare that projects finish on time. Don’t underestimate the impact that building works can have on your quality of life. Being prepared will help you minimise the impact.