Renovate or sell? Deciding on whether to love it or list it.

Couple working on reconstruction of their apartment

If one of your goals this year is a new home, you might not need to pack up your belongings and look too far. Your current home could turn into your new home if you think outside the box and choose to renovate.

To help you decide, should you stay, or should you go, we’ve put together a helpful guide on renovation options and other things to consider.

Your extending options

There are many reasons for wanting to move to a new home, but the most popular is needing more space. Depending on the type of house you live in you could achieve more space by extending outwards or upwards.

If you’re in a semi-detached, is there space at the side of the house to extend your living area and even continue the extension to two floors and add an additional bedroom or bathroom upstairs? Yes, this will eat into your outdoor space, but many side extensions can be achieved by getting rid of the driveway that you don’t use or even the garage that stores more boxes than cars.

If the side isn’t an option, could you afford to extend into your garden? Even by extending by a few feet you can gain a much bigger kitchen without losing too much of your outdoor space. If this is the option you choose, why not add French or bi-folding doors to the kitchen which gives the feel of more space and leads naturally into the garden, bringing the outside in. It makes your garden and rooms have a continuous feel rather than being blocked off.

When extending outwards is ruled out, think about going upwards. If your loft space is a good size, you could add an additional bedroom, and an en-suite if you’re lucky. One thing you’ll need to consider is how you would access the loft area – the stairs need to go somewhere! Normally they would go in the hallway but if this isn’t an option you may need to consider adding access via one of your existing rooms. To accommodate the stairs, you may need to re-jig your upstairs layout so again consider this before work goes too far.

Paying for your renovations

No matter what option you go for, if you do choose to renovate your home there is a cost involved. These include planning permission for the work, hiring labourers, materials and even an architect or designer depending on the level of work. If you’re extending to add a new kitchen or bathroom, you’ll also have the cost of installation and fitting. Before you agree to any work, we’d recommend getting quotes from 2 or 3 builders first to get an overall idea of how much the work will cost. Try and factor in as much as possible, even down to small things like fittings and fixtures. Once you’ve got a rough idea of the full costs, add some extra for contingencies as with all major work, you might hit some bumps along the way.

Financing the renovation is another decision to make. There are several options from savings, getting a loan, credit card or re-mortgaging your home.  Remember that any option that involves financing by borrowing credit will have an effect on your credit score, so make sure you factor this in along with your affordability. Borrowing large amounts of money can take years to pay off so always consider this with your current outgoings and think about any future outgoings too. Re-mortgaging for home improvements is really common so speak to your current provider for more details.

Other considerations

Even small renovations can cause disruptions to your life, from days of no water when plumbing is involved, to having to move out temporarily whilst major work is being done. You need to consider the impact the work will have, especially if you have small children and pets or even that you work from home. When speaking to your builder, ask them about rough timescales and if they expect any days without electricity, water and other essentials. Depending on your own work schedule too, you may need to take some time off to be around for labourers coming and going or be available for deliveries.

You also may need to adapt your plans if you don’t get sign off on building warrants, so be prepared to be flexible. Also, even if you do get all the legal sign offs, it’s worth letting your neighbours know that you’re getting work done. Giving them a heads up will hopefully deal with any concerns head on and minimise complaints.


If you decide to renovate, remember you can still check out the thousands of Scottish properties at s1homes for some inspiration.

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