Thinking of Purchasing a Property to Extend?

Purchasing a Property to Build and Extension and Renovate for Profit or for a Home



Are you thinking of purchasing a property to extend?

If you are on the hunt for your dream home but can’t seem to find it, Acre Design are here to help with some helpful information and things to look out for! Perhaps your property search has only yielded houses in the right location but these houses are too small, in the wrong location or simply not within budget? Here, we have a few tips which could help you gauge the potential of a property which is in the perfect location but which may be a little smaller than you had hoped for. We also offer a FREE, no obligation consultation; where we can meet you at the property to discuss the possibilities!

Purchasing a smaller home with potential for an extension

If you need a larger home to accommodate your family, or want to get on the property ladder; considering buying a smaller, cheaper home with a view to building an extension is a really sensible choice. Loads of properties have the potential to extend or have their existing features (lofts/attics, basements or garages) converted into extra living space.

Going through this process, rather than maxing out your budget on a larger house, could save you lots of cash, whilst putting you in charge of the design and quality of the build. You are in a position to create (along with your architect) a home designed specifically for your family’s needs. Pretty exciting, right?

Not enough bedrooms but the perfect location? Don’t worry, there’s loads of options out there to extend!

Here are some basics to look out for:

If you think you might want to build a loft conversion, measure the head height of the existing space; you’ll need at least 2.6 meters to convert. Garage conversions will need about 2.5 meters width to add an extra bedroom to the home – think about fitting in a double bed with room to walk around it as a minimum guide. However, a smaller space could still be converted to create a larger kitchen, dining and living space if it is in the right position. If the property has a decent sized garden space, you are usually allowed to convert/build on half of the garden space, so a rear or side extension would be a fantastic option to add space. If you aren’t sure the property has the space, we would be more than happy to advise you on this.

What else can I investigate?

So you’ve found a property in the ideal location, with the right transport links, but the house itself doesn’t quite fit the bill. How can you test the feasibility of extending the property prior to purchase?

Here are some steps you could take:

  • Contact the local council for pre-planning application advice. There may be information on historic planning applications and whether they were successful or not. The planning officer may be able to give you an idea of how successful any application would be.
  • Take a look at the surrounding properties – if any what building works have they had? This can be a good indicator of what is permitted in the area.
  • Research whether the house is: a listed building, has conservation area status or is in a townscape merit area.
  • Get some expert pre-purchase advice. A good architectural practice will be able to advise you on the type of extension suitable for the property and discuss any relevant possibilities or limitations. We offer a FREE, no obligation consultation.


Found a house you love, but only with an extension?

You might have already found a home you know you could transform into your dream house… Should you make an offer without being certain you will get planning permission? In theory, you can make an offer on a house which depends upon planning permission being granted, before you exchange contracts and seal the deal. However, as most local councils aim to determine planning application decisions within eight weeks, this can be off-putting for the seller if they are keen to move quickly. If the property has been on the market for some time or the seller is not in a rush to move, you may find a seller willing to embark on such a deal. It is probably best to seek expert advice from an architectural designer, such as Acre Design prior to making an offer.

Further to this, not all extensions or alterations will need planning permission (Acre Design would be able to advise you of this). Some projects may not need planning permission because of what are called “permitted development” rights.

Usually, planning permission will not be required as long as:

  • no more than half the area of land around the original house is covered by the extension or other buildings;
  • the extension isn’t at the front of the house or facing a highway;
  • the extension isn’t higher than the highest part of the roof;
  • a single-storey rear extension doesn’t extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than 3m (attached house) or by 4m (detached house);
  • a single-storey rear extension is less than 4m high;
  • two-storey extensions are no closer than 7m to the rear boundary
  • two-story extensions don’t extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than 3m;
  • materials used for the extension and roof pitch of extensions higher than one storey are similar to the existing house;
  • there aren’t any verandas, balconies or raised platforms;
  • maximum eaves heights are complied with; and
  • upper-floor, side-facing windows are obscure-glazed and any opening to be 1.7m above the floor.

You may not need planning permission in some instances, however you would need to send a “notification of a proposed larger home extension” to the local authority. It is definitely worth checking with the local council before putting an offer in on a house though. Local authorities can remove permitted development rights in some areas. Also, stricter rules may apply if your property falls within designated land (ie, conservation areas, national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and World Heritage Sites) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Don’t worry, this is something Acre Design would be able to advise on at your FREE consultation.

For more detailed, have a look at the notes produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government: Permitted development rights for householders: technical guidance.

Think you’ve found your home but not ready to put an offer in until you know what is possible? Get in touch with Acre Design today and we’ll happily meet you at the property to have a look and discuss the potential of the property. We offer FREE, no obligation consultations in and around Newcastle!

We considered an extension to our property, but had little idea how to proceed. We selected Acre Design from positive reviews posted and have not been disappointed. Help and advice was always available and the team led us through the process in a professional and timely manner. We have no hesitation in recommending them!

John McRiner

Contact Acre Build

CAI Building, Royal Quays,
North Shields, NE29 6DE

T: 0191 6808 088

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