To move or improve... what's the right decision for you?

26 Oct 2023

Not sure whether to stay put or invest in a new property? Keep on reading...

To move house, or to stay and improve your current home? It’s a question considered by most of us at some point in our lives.

Sometimes the need to move isn’t a choice. Maybe we’re required to relocate for work, or move somewhere bigger to start a family. Either way, the homes we currently live in can have limitations in terms of improvements.

But if we do have the space to extend, or rooms to convert and are staying in the area, improving is worth serious consideration, both financially and logistically.

Cost of moving vs improving:

Of course, neither option is without cost.  Before you make any decision you should get quotes for both options so you can make a reliably informed decision.

The cost of moving:

You will need to factor in:

  • Estate Agent Fees

  • Conveyancing fees

  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

  • Removal Costs

  • Stamp Duty

  • Building Survey

  • Mortgage Fees

The average cost of moving in the UK is £12,000 or £25,000 In London.

And that’s without the cost of any DIY you may need to do to your home to make it ready for sale, or any work you may need to do to your new home. So if you are considering a move, ensure you’ve calculated your budget to allow for any hidden costs, but also consider the cost of improving against that.

The cost of improving:

This cost will vary greatly depending on what improvements you are making. Remember to get three quotes for whatever work you are having done, and use builders with an Insurance backed guarantee. This will give you options but also provide you with protection for your hard earned cash.

The benefit of spending money improving your home, is that it will in turn add value to your home.

Compare The Market looked at home improvements and returns and they found that converting a front garden to off road parking can increase the value of your home by up to 10%. That’s an average of £29,500 for a cost of around £2000!

Alternatively, a garage conversion could cost between £10,000 and £20,000 but add £44,250 to the value of your home. A garage conversation could be a great option if you need to add an additional bedroom or functional office space.

Workload of moving vs improving:

There’s no denying that any improvements to your home are going to be messy and disruptive. But it’s short term pain for long term gain. Depending how much work you chose to take on yourselves, and how much you pay people to do will affect your workload.

Taking on a renovation project can feel daunting and send you running to the nearest estate agents. But remember moving home does not come without its own heavy workload.

Firstly there’s the part where you have to move every single possession you own, including all the stuff in the loft that you keep meaning to sort! But there is also the additional workload of any DIY you may have to do to your home to get it ready for sale, and get the best price possible. And of course, any DIY you will need to do to the new property you move into.

Basically both options are going to involve some hard work. Just don’t underestimate what is involved for either option.

Making your decision:

In order to decide whether to move or improve you should:

  1. Evaluate your current home

What needs improving, what do you like, and what don’t you like?

  1. Define your goals

What do you need that your home isn’t fulfilling?

  1. Set your budget 

What is your budget? Consider some flexibility for unplanned expenses that may crop up.

  1. Understand the market conditions

Are there any available homes that meet your criteria and are within your budget?

  1. Consider your lifestyle and location

Do you want to stay in the same neighbourhood, or are you open to a new area? Consider factors like commute times, schools, and amenities.

  1. Consult professionals

Consult with contractors and architects to get estimates and a clear understanding of the scope of any home improvements.

  1. Look at emotional factors

Consider the emotional attachment you have to your current home.

  1. Set your timeframe

How soon do you need to make a decision, and how quickly do you want to make changes to your living situation?

How can you improve?

If you decide there is better value in staying put and improving, but aren’t sure where to start, it’s important to consider what you need from the space you live in.

Your home should change and adapt with you. Whether that’s creating a home office for hybrid working, a TV room for the kids as they become teenagers, an annex for an elderly parent. There are things you can do to improve your home and make it work for you and your family’s needs.


Extensions can solve a number of issues if your requirement is more space. This can be the most expensive home improvement and biggest job to undertake, but can also add significant value to your home.


Converting existing spaces and changing their function can completely change the way you use your home and in itself create more space.  Loft conversions and garage conversions are the most popular ways to improve your home by converting spaces.


If you want open plan living, removing walls can create large spaces in your home.  Remember to check the walls are not structural first.


A new kitchen or bathroom is an instant improvement to any home.

Go Green

There are lots of improvements you can do to your home to make it more sustainable and energy efficient. For example; Solar panels can reduce your home energy bills, and shutters can improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Don’t forget the garden!

Adding a Summer house to your garden is a great way of adding another room to your home.  Whether it’s a home office, a music room, or a home gym, there are so many possibilities.


Stamp duty and higher interest rates are here to stay and you can’t control them.  You can control what you spend on improving your home. With some planning and organisation, home improvements can be seamless and cost effective.

Moving or improving is a big decision. Ensure you have weighed up the pros and cons and considered every aspect so you can make the right decision for your circumstances. Also consider the long term value of either option. If you are currently happy in your home and its location, the upheaval of a move may be too much, but a garage conversion or kitchen extension might solve the issue, while bringing you a significant return on your investment.

If improving your home feels like the right decision for you, feel free to start browsing our CPA member list to help find the right person for the job. Or, talk to us today on 01462 850064 if you’d like more information.