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What to consider before getting your home extension

Extensions are a popular way in which to add value and much-needed space to your home. More and more people now decide to make the most of their existing property rather than incur the expense and stress of a house move. As with any home improvements, planning and preparation at the outset will pay dividends later. Follow these key tips if you are considering extending your home.

What will you use your extension for?
The first step is to decide how you want to use your extension. Will it be an extra bedroom, a playroom for the children, a large open plan kitchen and living area or a home office? The possibilities are endless. Your intended use will have an impact on the overall design and where you put the extension.

Where will you extend?
You may decide that a loft conversion is the best option to gain an additional bedroom or luxurious master suite, or perhaps an orangery to extend a kitchen into an open plan kitchen and living space. An underused garage can make a fantastic extra bedroom, office or playroom. Conservatories are also ever popular.

Consider design
Extensions are available in a range of styles to suit all properties, from traditional to ultra-modern. Think about the design and location of your home, and whether you want the extension to blend in or make more of a statement.

Decide on your budget
Work out exactly how much you can afford to spend, and stick to it. Be realistic.

Check whether you need planning permission or other consents
Always check whether you will need planning permission. Some extensions fall within exemptions but you should check before you go ahead. If your home is in a conservation area there may be additional limits as to what alterations can be made. You should also check your deeds, or ask a solicitor to do this for you. A surprising number of properties require the consent of a third party before alterations can be made, or even additional payments to be made.

What about the neighbours?
Discuss your plans with the neighbours before you apply for planning permission. If they have any objections it is often better to deal with them at this stage rather than through the planning process. If your plans affect a party wall, there are special rules you will need to follow.

Timescale
A home extension is a major project. The building work will take some time. Consider whether there are any time periods which should be avoided, for example, if you often host family for celebrations or you are expecting a new arrival.

Is there other work on your home that could be done at the same time?
It can make sense to do as much work on your home as possible at the same time as your extension to minimise the overall disruption. Consider whether you need to replace any windows or doors, or carry out any landscaping works outside.

If you follow these guidelines you can be confident that your project will proceed smoothly and your new extension will help to create the home of your dreams.

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