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Doing up vs. moving up

If your home isn’t currently giving you what you need, whether that’s in size or facilities, you might be tempted to sell up and move. But with house prices continuing to rise and the cost of moving adding up to thousands once you’ve factoring in fees and removals, it can be a costly business.

Extending or renovating your current home could not only give you the space and look you want but could help add value to your home in the long term. But which is right for you? Here are a few questions to help you decide:

Does it work for you, in your head and your heart?

If you’re going to stay in your house for some time, it not only needs to work for you in terms of space and décor, it needs to be somewhere you love too. Do you get on with your neighbours? Is there a bus stop right outside to get you to work? Are there good schools just around the corner? Would trading up in the area you’re in add too much to your mortgage? There’s more to a home than bricks and mortar, but as the bricks and mortar are the bit you can change, you might gain more by staying put.

Can you see the potential?

Have a look along your street – have other people added extensions, converted their lofts or turned built-in garages into an extra room? If they’ve done it, you probably can too. If you’re struggling to see how you could upgrade your home, ask a friendly architect to have a look as they’re likely to have ideas you haven’t even thought of, like moving walls around to get the space you want.

What can you realistically afford?

Both options mean spending money, in both the short and long term, so make sure you’ve done your sums before you make a decision. While moving might seem like the easier option, there will be fees to pay and you might have to borrow a lot more money to trade up to the kind of house you want. If you choose to borrow more on your existing mortgage to pay for renovations, there will no doubt be an increase in your monthly mortgage payments, but you may incur lower upfront fees and less inconvenience.

Can you get the funding you need?

There are several ways to borrow to pay for renovations, from remortgaging your home to release equity to taking out a secured home improvement loan which can be paid off alongside your monthly mortgage payments, but unlike a standard personal loan, is secured against your home. Taking out a secured loan usually means you get better rates of interest, though you’ll have to be sure you can keep up the repayments.

Will you reap the financial benefits in the long-term?

While your house is a home first and foremost, it’s also an investment, so make sure you’re not going over the top with your renovation spend. Think about house prices in your street, what you currently owe on your mortgage and what you’re likely to spend on improving your home. If the figures don’t add up and you’re still not sure you’re going to get the space you need, then it might be time to move on.