Don’t Move. Hire a space invader

Creating extra room can pay, says Joanna Moorhead.

You may think you need a new home, but with a bit of imagination your current property could be adapted so that you don’t need to think about moving for a few more years. Liberating the extra space you want from your current home will probably be a far better investment in the short to medium term. Staying put can cost money if you employ builders and architects to extend or change your home. Generally, however, the bill will be less and what you spend is what you see. Much of the money spent on a new home goes to removal firms and in solicitors’ and estate agents’ fees.

So you think there is nothing you could do to make your home roomier? Think again. Architect Simon Miller,

whose north London firm specialises in finding added space, says he comes up with ideas for nine out of 10 of the houses he visits . ‘The obvious one is a loft extension,’ Miller says. ‘If you’ve a back extension you can add a sloping room to give more height; if you’ve a cellar you can think about digging it out and adding a basement room. ‘It can make good sense. In many parts of London a family home can easily be worth £500,000, and if you’re going to spend £80,000 on a basement and it adds £100,000 to the property, that makes sense.

’Many areas of London, says Miller, have a dearth of homes with four or more bedrooms, but with the arrival of children many couples aspire to this size of home. ‘Adding a new bedroom and bathroom in the loft usually makes sense, but you don’t have to stop there. You can look at extending the kitchen, or making a playroom.