Maintaining a home
Clever ways to extend your home
Is your home starting to feel a little small for your growing family? It could be time to extend.
Extending your home can be a great way to add space – and could turn a house you’re having second thoughts about into a forever home.
Before getting started, consider how any renovation work may impact your insurance coverage. Check your PDS before work begins, and let your insurer know ahead of time. If you’re insured with Suncorp Insurance, and you don’t contact us beforehand, you may not be covered under your policy. This may lead us to reduce or refuse to pay a claim or cancel your policy, so be sure to let us know before you get started.
Add another level to your home
Adding another storey to your home can be a straightforward – albeit expensive – way to increase your living space while significantly adding value.
Before getting building approval, you’ll need to check with your local council as to whether an additional storey is possible within the local regulations. When you’re ready to proceed, hire a reputable and registered builder. They will be able to guide you through any renovation requirements.
While a second-storey extension can maximise your space, it can also take a long time to complete. Consider where you’ll live while the building work is being done.
Consider a garage conversion
If you’re on a tight budget but really need some extra space, consider converting your garage into an extra room. This could be used as anything, such as:
- an office
- a guest room
- a kids’ rumpus room
- a home gym
- a workshop, or
- an additional living area.
Converting a garage to a habitable room is likely to require Council approvals before commencement of any work. You’ll probably need to add flooring, insulation, electrical outlets, and possibly a window or entrance – but this can be cheaper than building up. And if you already park your car on the street or the driveway, you won’t be losing any space!
Add a granny flat
They’re not just for grandparents! A small addition to your backyard can be used as a guest room, home office, gym, teen retreat, or play space for the kids.
Plus, if you build a granny flat as the centrepiece of your garden, then you can also use it as an entertainment space. Think of the possibilities – from hosting barbecues to even using the area as a theatre room.
How to plan for your home extension
The average renovation in Australia is about $63,0001, and the cost for a ground-level home extension starts at around $70,0002. This can shift higher or lower depending on your state. Your budget will obviously play a big part in determining whether your extension consists of something minor, like some new decking, or major, like a completely new kitchen and living area.
The big costs — like labour and materials — are obvious. But other costs can add up and can cause headaches if they’re not planned for. Think permits, fees, levies, heating and cooling, furnishings for the new area, and so on. You may also want a safety net in case expenses go beyond what you predicted – especially since building prices are rising across the board.
Room or area
The space you have to work with will also influence how much you can actually extend your house.
Say you want a large outdoor kitchen and entertaining space, but you’ve only got a three by two metre garden. At first glance, your options are a bit limited. Could you build upwards? Or settle for something smaller? This is something to chat with your building designer or architect about – see if you can find a creative solution.
A tip you may often hear is to make your extension look like it belongs to your house. A postmodern, glossy black back room may not suit your Federation home — or maybe it’s the unusual contrast you’re going for! You can leave it all to the pros, or work alongside them to create a beautiful design.
While looks are one thing, liveability is just as (if not more) important. Building a nursery above your living area, where conversation is flowing, dishes are clattering, and the news is on, might not be the best idea. Think about how you can design your home around your daily activities and lifestyle.
Reason for the extension
Knowing why you’re renovating will help guide your choices. Do you want to add value to your home? Maybe you’re settled in and want to improve the space. Or, do you need more room for your growing family?
The purpose behind your reno may guide how much you spend, what you do, and how you do it. Discuss this with your building designer so they can help you achieve your goals.
You’ll want to make sure you dot the i's and cross the t’s before you begin work. Failing to get the right permits and approvals could result in a hefty fine and can prove costly should rectification work be required.
You can check out these guides and checklists for your state or territory, which outline some rules for building and renovating.
- New South Wales
- Western Australia
- South Australia
- Northern Territory
- Australian Capital Territory
Don’t forget insurance
Once your reno is done and dusted – and you’ve finished celebrating – check your insurance details. After all, you’ll have added value to your property, so your old sum insured may no longer cover everything. This means you may be at risk of underinsurance.
There’s a straightforward solution – you can update your details online and note this may impact your premium. That way, you can fully enjoy your new space.
- What is underinsurance?
- Do I need insurance when renovating my home?
- A guide to unoccupied home insurance
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. The Target Market Determination is also available
The information is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.