House Buying with a view to extending - what you need to know

Matthew Charlton's avatar

Matthew Charlton | 10/02/16

We all dream of having our ideal house, we know the boxes it needs to tick,  the type of lifestyle we require it to give us, but this can be really difficult to achieve, it can feel that the 'ideal' house just doesn't exist. 

The requirements we now have from our homes have changed, older, 'period' properties were designed with separate rooms and lack of access to the garden.  Generally, there is now more of a focus on open plan living and creating the hub of the home within the kitchen/eatery area with direct access to the garden.

So you've found your nearly ideal house, the location, lifestyle, transport links etc all work but the house itself doesn't quite match; however, you believe the house lends itself to being extended.  So how do you find out the feasibility of extending your new potential home prior to purchase?

There are a couple of steps to take:

  • Contact the council the house is situated within for pre-planning application advice. This will provide you with information about any historic planning applications relating to the property, what they were for and the status of these applications.  An informal discussion with the planning department will provide you with their initial thoughts on your plans and give you a gauge of how successful your application will be.
  • Investigate if the house has any of the following designations, should the house be within one of these areas it may effect the alterations the property can have:

           - Listed Building

           - Conservation Area status

           - Townscape Merit areas

  • Gain expert pre-purchase advice:

           - Ask your builder to visit the property with you and review your extension ideas. A good construction firm with local knowledge will be able to provide you with advice on the type of extension the property could take, what your building options would be and where your limitations may lie.  With their local knowledge, it is likely that the builder will have worked on similar properties within the area and can present further insights into your extension and the local area.

           - House purchase survey - inform your surveyor (your building firm may have an in-house surveyor who could be used) of your intentions to extend, they will be able to provide you with a view on the feasibility of your desired extension project.

Purchasing a property and then extending provides you with the huge advantage to be in complete control of the design and quality of the building work, presenting you with the end result of your 'ideal' home.

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