What to consider before building an extension

PUBLISHED: 13:27 13 March 2017

Falmouth Avenue

Falmouth Avenue


With rocketing property prices across the capital, more and more people are choosing to enlarge their home instead of moving

St John's RoadSt John's Road

Adding extra bedrooms and an upstairs bathroom has always been popular, but in recent years there’s been a surge in home owners building extensions at the back of their property to create an open plan kitchen/dining/living area, which becomes the main hub of the house.

However, for the novice homeowner in particular, the process of undertaking any kind of extension can be daunting and present a minefield of potential frustrations, disappointments and wasted expenditure. Sometimes owners discover too late that the work they’ve paid thousands of pounds for has not added value, or occasionally decreased the amount the property is worth. To help ensure the project is as successful and stress-free as possible, we’ve put together a handy guide.

St. Johns Road, Loughton, Essex, IG10St. Johns Road, Loughton, Essex, IG10

First steps

Make sure you get professional advice early in the process. If you’re concerned about the possible expense of a consultation about a project you might not even follow though with, have a quick chat on the phone with an expert, such as an architect or builder experienced in extensions. Most are happy to answer a few questions without charging.

Geoff Eaton is an architect and director at @ Architect UK Ltd in Havering. He says: “It’s very important to speak to someone who understands the whole process, especially if you’ve never done something like this before. We’re generally happy to answer a few questions on the phone – if we go out to the site, and it takes a few hours then that’s when we’d start charging.”

St John's RoadSt John's Road

What do you want from the house?

Think carefully about why you want to expand the house. Is it for more light, more kitchen space or to add value to the house because you are looking to sell in the near future? If you know exactly what the reasons are, you can guide the process more clearly and help architects come up with the best solution.

Geoff also encourages people to think about their whole home and not only the extension. “It’s not just about sticking a square block at the back of the house and that’s it. You need to think, how will the extension affect the dynamics of the house and how you use it?”

South Woodford E18 rear receptionSouth Woodford E18 rear reception

Adding value

Every home owner would like to add value to their home, whether they’re planning to sell soon or not. But some might make the decision to extend in a certain way even if it doesn’t increase the worth of a property because it will benefit their way of living. However, it’s worth considering how your changes will affect the house, to ensure it will appeal to buyers if you do end up selling in the future. “The most important thing is that your house is in proportion,” says Jacqui Clarke, sales director at Clarke Residential. “You don’t want it to be too top-heavy by adding lots of bedrooms when you only have a small lounge.”

South Woodford E18 rear reception loungeSouth Woodford E18 rear reception lounge


Although the most important thing is to create a house you love, it’s also worth thinking about the interior trends of the moment. “People these days like airy, bright, open spaces,” says Jacqui, “The problem with older houses that have extensions is that they tend to be dark in the middle because they have flat roofs.

“Make sure there is enough light coming into the extension because people don’t like dark spaces. Skylights are a good solution to add light to the middle of the house.”

South Woodford, E18South Woodford, E18

Quality and durability

“You can’t build an extension on the cheap, it’s just not worth it,” Jacqui says. “If an extension is done well, people will welcome that. But if it’s done badly, it will work against you because people will think ‘well now I have to knock that down first.’

“The most important thing is how it’s done - the quality and thought behind it.”

4 Hills road kitchen4 Hills road kitchen

Top 3 Properties… TO ENTERTAIN

St. Johns Road, Loughton, Essex, IG10


Hills Road, Buckhurst Hill IG9, offers in the region of £1,150,000, Clarke ResidentialHills Road, Buckhurst Hill IG9, offers in the region of £1,150,000, Clarke Residential

A splendid detached six bedroom family home situated in a favoured residential turning.

Epping Forest is close by yet access to the City and West End is less than 45 minutes away.

The property is spread across three floors - approx. 5000 sq. feet of accommodation - and boasts a 14 ft landscaped garden with bespoke summer house.

Renovated by the previous owners, the property is perfect for entertaining and still offers potential to extend. There is current planning permission for an indoor swimming pool and leisure complex and extension to two of the existing three floors and a double garage.

For more information, call Clarke Residential on 01992 847415

South Woodford E18

Price: £675,000

This stunning Edwardian three bedroom house is located in a sought after quiet residential cul-de-sac. The property retains many period features which have been beautifully maintained by the present owners.

The ground floors holds a lounge, dining room, fitted kitchen and rear reception, while the bedrooms are located on the first floor with a bathroom and separate toilet.

The property also benefits from an attractive 45ft rear garden with a raised lawn area and paved seating. There is private parking to front of the house.

For more information, call Theydons 020 8989 6868

Hills Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9

Offers in Region of £1,150,000

A beautifully presented four bedroom, semi-detached period home situated in an ideal location close to both forestland and all the facilities of Buckhurst Hill

The property has been extended into the loft to provide a sizeable master bedroom and ensuite. To the rear of the house, the extension has created a contemporary kitchen/entertaining area in excess of 30 feet in length, which opens out to a partially paved, L shaped garden.

The Central Line is right on the doorstep as well as Queens Road shops and restaurants, the favoured St John’s School and a lovely duck pond.

For more information, call Clarke Residential 01992 847415

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