There comes a time when your old house isn't suitable anymore for your family's needs. Most people solve this problem by packing their bags and moving. But if we take into consideration all the effort, lost time and the very fact you are rooting out your family and throwing it into unknown, isn’t it much more convenient to simply expand your current house? Well, yes and no. Let us first take a look at the positives.
The benefits of house extension
The first thing we would like to point out is that a new house is a very expensive process. Putting aside the price gap, the real problem here are the costs of moving, new furniture, remodeling and decoration which are often astronomical. Unlike moving, house upgrades increase the value of the property so the costs can be partially recovered.
The second thing that makes extensions so appealing is the freedom. You are allowed to turn your house into anything you like.
So, the extension does offer some unique benefits, but only as long as you are able to keep the costs manageable and space well-used. Here are a couple of ways to do exactly that.
Solve specific problems
House extension is always driven by some problems, but homeowners often get carried away and forget what problem they are trying to solve. Put the shortcomings of the current layout to paper, make a list of current and future requirements and look for upgrades to answer these specific problems. For instance, functional solutions can be found even in small upgrades like:
Expanding the living room to the porch
Connecting two covered objects (e.g. house and a converted garage)
Expanding the basement with lightwell upgrades
Building an orangery
Incorporating ancillary objects into the house
Putting box dormers on top of the house
Create a budget
The key to successful house expansion lies in having enough money on the pile and keeping track of how that money is spent. Out of the two, the latter problem is obviously easier to solve – you only need a detailed spreadsheet that will take into consideration all the hidden costs you may face along the way.
As for the funds, we can find a good example in Australia. If you are living down under, professional consultants can help you secure home loans with iSelect under the most favorable terms on the market. As a result, you are limiting closing costs, increasing equity value and end up with virtually endless customization options.
Maximize the existing space
Before you commit to any serious extension works, it would be a good idea to take a look at the floor plan of your house and see if the existing square footage can be remodeled to solve some minor issues. In most cases, older houses feature too many unused, dead space to make the expensive works worthwhile.
Some of the most common steps you can take to make the available space more functional are embracing the open-floor concept (merging the kitchen, dining room and living room into one uninterrupted space) and narrowing down some of the corridors.
Use the attic
If you take a quick look at it, an attic is a perfectly usable and structurally sound space that can be easily turned into a living environment. Some of the things you will need to take care of to do so are:
Wiring for electricity
Building the subfloor (if the joists are visible)
The amount of money and effort you need to spend to perform these basic works and build a shed where you’ll keep stuff from the attic are still far more manageable than building a separate room from the ground up.
Take into account the flow of the house
Some expansions may make sense from the financial and even the visual perspective. But you still need to make sure you are not interrupting the natural organization of the house or accessibility of the new rooms. For instance, a lightwell will prove to be of very little use if you can't reach it from the outside. Just like an attic loft that can only be accessed from the kitchen. Ideally, the daily flow throughout the house should remain the same as it was before the upgrade.
We hope we have managed to give you a few compelling reasons to give up the moving and expand your current home in the most sensible and efficient manner. Moving away from your old neighborhood takes a heavy emotional and financial toll on your family. Why would you go through all that trouble when you can turn your house into anything you want?
About the author: Mike Johnston is an avid creative writer and blogger. He is a regular contributor to numerous blogs and online magazines, where he writes about home improvement (his specialty!), interior design, family life, green living and many other topics. Mike’s goal is to create interesting and compelling content and then share it throughout the online community.