Move or improve

🕑 6 minute read

Should you move or improve your home?

Not enough bedrooms for your growing family? Is the layout not working for you and your children? Or maybe you’re just sick of the lime green bath suite?

If you’re getting itchy feet in your current home, you might be debating renovating, or having a clean break somewhere new.

To help you choose between home renovation and buying a new home, we looked at the positives and negatives of both options.

Renovation ideas

You might like it where you live and think you’d rather improve your home than move. Here are some of the renovations you could consider if you’re leaning towards staying put.


There are lots of different types of extensions to think about. You could build out, either at the sides or the back of your home – or you could build down, digging out or converting a basement into useable space. 

Loft conversion

A loft conversion could make your existing attic space a lot more usable – perhaps as a bedroom or office. A dormer, which is a window and structure which adds space and light to an attic room, could make this possible.

You may not need planning permission as loft conversions often come under the Rights of Permitted Development. These are rights that allow you to make certain changes to your home without planning permissions.


This renovation could add a peaceful space to your home for relaxing or working. If built correctly, it can be used 365 days a year and will be a joy to unwind in during the summer months.

Energy efficiency

Updating your home to eliminate energy waste can save money on household bills. Switching energy supplier, replacing light bulbs with energy efficient lightbulbs, insulating walls and loft or a new boiler will be helpful in the long term.

Update your kitchen

You can do this with cheaper choices such as a lick of paint on cupboard doors – or commit to a complete renovation. A new oven, lighting, surfaces and a new sink could transform the look and feel of this all-important room.

Update your bathroom

A bathroom update could be a time and money commitment, but one that will last for years to come. A new bathroom set, a fresh set of tiles and a new floor will make it feel brand new.

Garden updates

One of the most affordable and simplest ways to improve your home is to update your garden. A simple tidy and mow can make the garden nicer, but adding decking or an outbuilding, while more expensive, can also add extra value.

Pros and cons of moving home

Moving motivations

  • You may be able to find a house with more space without the disruption of building work in your current home
  • You may want to downsize to a smaller property in a new area if your children leave home, or your current home is too big to maintain
  • If you don't have enough space anymore, it could be time to move. For example, you may be starting a family or thinking of having another child
  • Your existing home may seem old-fashioned, and you'd like a more modern building

Drawbacks of moving

  • Fees and costs can add up. For example, legal fees, surveys, Stamp Duty, and hiring a removal company
  • Property chains can be stressful. One link breaking due to unforeseen circumstances can ruin your dream
  • You might need to decorate or perform renovations on a new property anyway
  • House prices can be volatile, so it's hard to know the best time to sell
  • Sentimental attachment to your existing home can make it difficult to leave behind

Pros and cons of renovating

Reasons to renovate

  • You may already know and love the area you live in
  • Depending on the size of the renovation, it might be cheaper than selling and moving
  • If you improve your home, you can achieve what you may have looked for in a new property, for example a better front room or larger bathroom
  • You'll save on the cost of fees such as stamp duty and valuations
  • You can add value to your existing home and wait for a better time to sell up in the future

Think first

  • The mess and disruption of having work done can be stressful
  • You might need to move out while the work happens, and if the project overruns, this can be a hassle
  • The project taking longer than predicted, or needing new materials, could take you over budget
  • Deciding on a large renovation such as an extension might become more expensive than the value it would add in the future
  • Going through the process of gaining planning permission can be long-winded, and you may not even get it granted

Is it cheaper to move or renovate?

For many of us, money will be the biggest consideration when weighing up home renovation vs. buying a new home. So, which is the most expensive of the two?

Moving costs to think about

The average cost of moving home in the UK is nearly £12,000, or just under £25,000 if you move to London.

This is a lot to consider and adds up through a combination of several factors, especially when compared to doing what you can to improve your home.

The most expensive cost will be deposit and mortgage fees, then stamp duty, followed by conveyancing, surveyor and valuation costs. You’ll also potentially be borrowing more money on a mortgage, so there’s interest on this amount to consider.

Other considerations include estate agent fees, removal costs (either from doing it yourself or hiring people), storage, childcare and pet care for the day. 

Renovating costs to think about

How much a renovation costs will depend on the scale of the work you have carried out. For example, an extension could cost up to £60,000, depending on the level of work involved.

To ensure a quality job, it can be a good idea to pay a professional for work like painting or fitting a new kitchen. Costs can vary, so be sure to find a reliable builder and ask for quotes from multiple companies before making a decision.


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