Seems like this recession (depression feels like a better word) has been dragging on for years. But we still have our lives to live, our families to raise and our dreams and ambitions to fulfil - whatever the prevailing economic weather.
One of the obstacles that many us of face in the current climate is what to do when we run out of space in our homes. A few years ago the answer was simple - you moved house. These days with a difficult housing market it can be very difficult to sell your existing house and even more difficult to get a bigger mortgage. And besides who wants to take on extra financial risks and burdens at the moment? Not me for sure!
That's why more and more people are choosing to extend their homes. Compared to moving it is a far more cost effective solution and you don't have to suffer all the stress and bother that comes with moving. What's more if you do it right you can actually end up with a house that's specifically right for you rather than accommodating a series of compromises and one that is worth considerably more than you spend on the extension.
For example, one of the key considerations is how to blend your new space in with the old. If you are having a loft or garage conversion this can be straightforward but if you are going for something more substantial it can be more complicated. Sure, just sticking a red brick box at the side or back of your house will do the job but it won't look great and far from improving the value and saleability of your home (when the time does come) it can reduce it. So make sure the extension matches or compliments the existing property. Moreover, you should make sure that your extended home blends in with the area and doesn't stand out like some sort of monstrous carbuncle that will offend you and your neighbours as well as Prince Charles.
And then there's the issue of scale. You probably don't want to over extend your house. There are rules in the planning regulations that would prevent you from doing this but notwithstanding these having a house that it is out of kilter with the properties around you could mean that your property will be difficult to sell on in the future and you won't see the gains in value that you may be expecting.
For me getting it right means proper planning. Understand what your space requirements actually are (and what they are likely to be in a few years time as your family grows). Consulting an experienced architect or builder at an early stage is a no brainer. They can help you understand what is feasible and how your space requirements can be met. They will help with some of the practical considerations so that your dream house extension doesn't become your property millstone. Make your architect or builder your friend and it will pay dividends in the future.