Move or Extend

  • Move Or Extend

  • Move or Extend?

    For many households there comes a time when your home becomes a bit of a squeeze. Maybe growing children in a small two bed apartment in West Dublin are filling the house with their friends, toys and noise and making the rooms seem smaller than they used to be.

    So should you move somewhere bigger or extend your house to make it large enough for you and your activities?

    In some situations the decision is of course made for you. If you live in a flat with no garden there is little chance of making it bigger. However if you have a house with outside free space or an attic with enough headroom, extending becomes a real possibility.

    Whether it makes more sense to move or to extend depends on a number of different factors;

    – the costs involved/your current resources
    – availability of credit
    – your future plans
    – the state of your current property
    – how emotionally attached you are to your house
    – the area you live in
    – the type of house you have.

    Extensions have become more popular due the recent shortage of affordable large family homes in Dublin and the requirement to have a 20% deposit for a trade up mortgage. A recent KBC survey suggested that 41% of house owners in Ireland plan to do some renovations to their homes in the next two years with one third planning to spend more than €5,000. The government tax relief available via the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme has also facilitated many homeowners to budget for renovations to their homes.


    Your location and the level of demand for your type of home could make a big difference to the financial implications of extending versus moving. In high value areas like Dublin adding an open plan kitchen space or extra bedroom can be very value enhancing and worthwhile but in other parts of the country it may not be worth the investment.

    However the final result needs to be a balanced home that works. A four bedroom family house with no garden or parking, or a house with large living space downstairs and tiny bedrooms upstairs could be problematic if you need to sell in the future. Even if you plan to live there for a long time you will want to avoid spending a lot of money on expensive building work that makes it harder to sell.

    Adding an extension to your house is obviously dependent on whether or not you have the available space or land adjacent to your property. If it is available an extension may be a more viable option compared to moving house especially in areas where the difference in price of a house compared to the next size up is very significant.

    There is no one answer to the question “Buy or Build” – it is entirely dependent on an individuals situation. Speak to estate agents and builders to get a rough estimate of the costs involved in each option. You will need to weigh up the pros and cons of each option and look at all the costs and decide which is the answer that suits your own situation. The Royal Institute of Architects have a good websection on Extending Your Home Click here to see this document!


    The costs involved in building an extension are undeniably substantial and going through building work can be wearing. Of course there are plenty of significant costs involved in moving too. You need to pay estate agency fees for the sale of your property, legal fees, stamp duty on the property you are buying, removals costs, survey fees, plus perhaps the cost of decorating. The cost of moving from a €200,000 flat to a €300,000 house is likely to be around €20,000.

    Comparing the costs of moving and extending your house is not an easy task. To get an idea though you could ask for estimates on building work and add that to the current value of your home and see what sort of properties you could buy for a similar budget.

    Moving house can be a very exciting prospect or it can fill you with dread depending on your previous experiences. It also gives you the option to look for your ideal home possibly in a different area. You may finish up with other benefits as well as the extra space like a better aspect, a new garden and a happier home.