At some point in your life, you and your family will either need to move home or extend your existing one, especially if you have a lot of kids.
While a lot of people move, many want to stay in the same place for as long as they possibly can, perhaps because they’re close to friends or schools. And that means that they often have to add new rooms to their house to accommodate everyone.
But carrying out extensions is never easy. In fact, they can be a massive challenge.
In this post, we take a look at some of the things that you wish people had told you about getting an extension. Hopefully, by the end of the article, you’ll be much less likely to experience any of the pitfalls.
The Schedule Is Just A Guideline
As conscientious people, we like to believe that we will complete extension building work according to a strict schedule. After all, we have lives to lead. Our homes can’t remain building sites forever.
But as with any project, schedules are only ever as good as your ability to foresee future problems. And if you’re not a building expert, then they can be hard to predict. Usually, it is only halfway through construction that you discover major setbacks.
Remember, building an extension encompasses many of the same risks as constructing a home from scratch. The foundations have to play ball (which depends a lot on the quality of the surrounding soil), and suppliers have to deliver the right parts at the right time. And there’s no guarantee that they’ll do a good job of it. In other words, delays are often inevitable.
When planning an extension, think about how long it will take to complete work conservatively. Add a couple of months onto your best estimate, just to be sure.
Maintain A High Level Of Security
Adding an extension to your property often leaves it vulnerable to intrusion. Many times, you don’t have a full set of exterior doors to protect you from opportunistic criminals, especially if you’re extending your property at the rear.
That’s why a lot of homeowners use scaffold alarms. These devices use heat sensors and motion detection to detect intruders on your property and alert you to the threat so that you can respond appropriately.
If possible, attach locks to interior doors to make breaking and entering more difficult. And ask the construction company to implement security features, such as anti-climb paint, as this can help discourage opportunists from seeing your home as an easy target.
Research Your Contractors Thoroughly
Before undertaking any majority project, it is a good idea to thoroughly research the contractors who will carry it out. You need to know what standards they aspire to and the types of projects that they’ve completed in the past. Remember, a lot of builders won’t have tackled extension projects before. And even if they have, they might not be the same as yours.
If possible, ask to see examples of completed work to get a flavour of the kinds of services that they offer. And don’t be afraid to ask for references as well to ensure that they complete jobs to a high quality.
Use “Sweat Equity” To Your Advantage
When it comes to extensions, prices can spiral out of control, especially if you hire specialists for every single aspect of the build.
You’ll need professionals to dig the foundations and lay the brickwork. But once the basic structure is up and running, you probably don’t need to continue hiring professionals. Try saving money on the interiors by painting and decorating them yourself. Plus, if you know how to lay flooring, that can also help a lot.
Sweating a little to get the extension you want is worth it both financially and from a lifestyle perspective. So if you have a spare Saturday morning, use it.
Make It Neutral
Making your extension neutral is essential if you want it to fit in with the rest of your property. Remember, if you go for something a little more artistic, you’ll ultimately have to change the main house to match. And that could add substantially to the cost.
You’ll Have To Dip Into Savings
While a lot of people try to get loans to finance extensions, most of the time, you have to dip into savings. A lot of lenders simply won’t pass over the cash you need to finance it upfront.
Carrying out a successful extension, therefore, requires saving money. Sometimes, you have to spend a couple of years building up the finances that you need to get the extension you want.
It Can Feel Stressful At Times
Living on a building site is never fun. You’re continually having to live your life around the build. It’s financially draining, and problems come up all the time that you have to deal with.
When things get stressful, it’s worth remembering that any building work is only temporary. It will come to an end. And when it does, you’ll have a more useful and practical property, set up to meet your needs. Plus, hopefully, it’ll be worth more too, especially if you opt for a kitchen or loft extension.
Don’t Skimp On Fixtures
They might not look like they’re all that important, but fixtures can make or break an extension. If you always go for the cheapest option, your extension will start feeling old before its time and your long-term maintenance costs will rise substantially.
Where possible, avoid skimping on fixtures. Create a list of priority fittings where quality really matters, such as lighting, door handles and built-in cabinetry. Save money on the things that you don’t need as much, like decorative pillows and rugs. Remember, you can always add these in the months and years that follow as your finances recover.
So there you have it: things you wish people had told you about getting an extension. Now that you’ve read this article, you should hopefully avoid getting caught out. Time to build the extension of your dreams.