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How to Upsize without Moving

Jan 31, 2011

Putting off a move to a bigger home? With uncertainty continuing to dominate the property market, it could be the time to extend and stay put.

What could you add?

Adding floor space to your home can increase its value and can also make it a much better place to live in. Even if you don’t fancy going as far as building an extension, converting existing space means you can add desirable features for both you and future prospective buyers.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Get the builders in

If you have the external space, a single-storey extension could give you a larger kitchen, a dining and utility room or a downstairs bedroom. A two-storey version could mean an extra bedroom, bathroom or study on top. Be careful to ensure the style of the existing house is complemented, though, and beware making your garden too small.

2. Kitchen dreams

If you pine for more worktop or appliances, then a new kitchen should be in your plans. If you need a bigger space and don't want to extend, consider removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room and opting for an open plan affair. The kitchen tends to be the most costly room to update, so set a realistic budget and shop around first.

3. Washing Cycle

Increasingly popular with buyers, a utility room can be a great way to contain large, noisy appliances and it doesn't need to be huge. Some external buildings could be modified to house a washing machine and tumble dryer, but if you're placing a utility room indoors, easy access to outside is a good idea.

4. Lofty ideas

Converting an attic space can be costly, but many houses have a big old space up there that could be put to better use as a bedroom or two, or an extra bathroom and playroom or study. It's a good idea to get quotes and layout ideas from at least two architects or builders, though, and consider where you could put the stairs.

5. Basement instinct

While basements are by no means a standard in British homes, some lucky homeowners have a below-ground area that could be developed. A bedroom or bathroom should have proper ventilation, but if adding windows is not possible, there could still be scope for a utility room, playroom or simply a good storage area.

6. En suite envy

The current trend, particularly for homes with 4 or more bedrooms, is to have at least one en suite. Walk-in showers and wet rooms are very popular and need few square metres. If space is limited, consider adding a wash basin or shower in the bedroom itself with just the wc behind closed doors. Always keep a bath, though- families usually want at least one tub. A downstairs cloakroom is highly desirable, too.

Must-haves

Ask any estate agent and they’re likely to tell you that 3 of the most sought-after features are:

  • Home Office - A small box bedroom or spacious hallway can be perfect as the designated area for surfing the net and sorting bills
  • Dressing room - Consider partitioning a section of a large bedroom or replacing a wall between two adjoining bedrooms with 2 walk-in wardrobes, one for each room
  • Utility room - Relocating the laundry appliances frees up space in the kitchen

Maintain a balance

Balance is the keyword when converting, so only add more bedrooms if the living space can accommodate more people and always consider the average house prices in your area for similar properties. Also, don’t assume you’ll get your money back, especially in the short-term.

The great outdoors

If you are considering putting your home on the market, remember that first impressions count, so be smart in the front and back of the property. If you don’t have time for gardening, slow-growing shrubs and gravel can be put to good use.

If you’re embarking on a big project at home, check out our guide to remortgaging.