But they are much cheaper than moving house. With estate agents charging anywhere from 1% to 5% of the sale price of your home and stamp duty a huge chunk of money, the cost of moving house can easily reach above £10,000. For that you can have a small house extension, a new kitchen and bathroom or a new conservatory or garden room. Even if you need to add to your mortgage, at today’s interest rates the cost is very low.
The planning process is so long
But planning permission is not always needed. In the vast majority of cases you won’t need to apply for planning permission at all. As long as your extension, loft conversion or conservatory is within permitted development for your area then you can carry on without telling anyone (except for building control). The rules may be different if your home is listed or in a conservation area so always do your homework, but for that extra space you need the process could be very simple. If you do need planning most councils will approve within 12 weeks, so not a huge amount of time to wait.
There are so many cowboy builders out there
But there are many who are not. Don’t be frightened by the stories you see on TV – most builders are doing good work and have excellent reputations. It is up to you to take the right steps to find the right builder for your job. That means taking the quotation stage seriously and doing your homework on the builder – including visiting their clients and following up recommendations. If possible talk to neighbours and friends who have had work done to find out who they used.
Building work takes so long and is really messy
But a good builder will minimise this for you. The building process can be time consuming if it is done correctly, so be reassured that no shortcuts are taken if it seems to be going on longer than you thought. Also, get a timetable from your builder of how long they expect it to last. They should also be able to tell you to what extent you will be affected in terms of mess and access to your kitchen, bathroom and if electricity or water will be turned off. If you know in advance, it is much easier to deal with.