What to expect when extending your home


Our homes are as unique as we are. But have you recently realised your current home may be too small for your family’s needs? Do you require an extra bedroom and bathroom, or has working from home and home-schooling led you to realise you simply need more space?

Every house extension must keep the family’s unique needs in mind. No two families are the same. With property prices at an all-time high, more of us are choosing to add an extra bedroom and bathroom, rather than sell and move. 

However, there are considerations you need to take into account. Sometimes, it may be better to sell and purchase a larger home, rather than extend your existing home.  Regardless, it’s important to get this decision right to ensure the needs of your growing family are adequately met. 

Why extend and what to consider?

The greatest advantage of renovating and extending, is you get to stay in an area you and your family have grown to love. You know the neighbours, you know the best cafes, and there are many other practical aspects such as keeping children in the same school. In addition, you get to design the extension to best suit your family’s needs and lifestyle, but you have to stick to your budget.

It’s important to remember what factors impact the cost of an extension. Bathrooms are the most expensive to build, followed by kitchens, living areas and bedrooms.  This is because bathrooms, and kitchens, have a lot of plumbing and electrical work, in addition to the fittings and fixtures – whereas a bedroom, usually only includes a window, flooring and a wardrobe. 

It’s important to have a clear idea of what you want from the beginning. Invest the time to research and seek inspiration, and then set about creating a plan. Even consider having a “mood board” or a “scrap book” of colours, fittings and finishes you like. 

In this COVID-19 landscape, it is important to remain flexible. Delays in material supply, such as timber and steel, will be inevitable. Have a primary and secondary choice of colours and materials. If you really like something, and it’s available, then purchase it and keep it in storage until it’s needed on-site. In this current climate, it’s important to be realistic, but to expect delays and product shortages. 

It’s important to also understand how long you’ll stay in the home once the extension is complete. If you think you may only be in the home for one to two years following the extension, then it may not be worth starting the project. Once you factor in timing delays and the overall cost of the extension (including council application fees), you may end up investing more money than what you’ll receive when you go to sell. 

However, most importantly, if you do decide to extend your home, remember to have fun. Extending the family home is an enjoyable process, so be sure to take the time to appreciate the experience. 

Where do you start?

Once you have a firm idea of your layout, materials and finishes, engage with a local draftsperson to start drawing up your designs. Engage them early so they can help you critically think through the proposed design. 

An experienced draftsperson will be able to tell you what will work with your design and any possible changes to make. Be sure to listen to your trades during the construction process too; they will know what works well and what to watch out for. 

Seek advice from a trusted professional

Remember to always speak with experienced professionals who can provide you with an unbiased opinion.  When embarking on an extension, it can be daunting to know where to start, what to spend your money on, and how much to spend overall. 

Planning and designing an extension can take considerable time. A trusted real estate agent will always listen to your wishes and needs, and help you determine the best path forward. With Mark being one of Mildura’s most trusted real estate agents, and having first-hand experience in completing an extension project himself, he is well placed to provide you with his view on what to consider when embarking on a value-add renovation and extension. He can highlight where to focus your attention, and also what not to do, to ensure you do not overcapitalise in your suburb.