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Consider This Before Renovating: Upwards or Outwards?

Choosing to renovate instead of buying a new property can be a great option instead of going through the hassle of moving. However, when you plan to renovate, often a difficult decision is figuring out which way to expand. Renovating the house via extension is only half the decision; and how you choose to extend it is what completes the equation.

Building in an upward direction by adding another level, or expanding sideways by extending the size of your house, is entirely your decision. However, there are a few factors you should consider when deciding which way to expand.


Availability of Space

The main defining factor in choosing whether to build upward or outward is the size of the block of land. For example, if you have a very small lawn or courtyard at the front, extending it outward will not be a viable option. So your only choice would be to build vertically.

When it comes to living in inner-city, many Australians add another level to their houses above the ground floor. If, however, you are extending out, it means you would be compromising the backyard. Therefore, expanding sideways is not usually a popular option unless it is a reasonably large piece of land.


Cost of Renovating

The second factor you should consider is the cost of renovating. Everybody knows that if you add another level to your house and build in an upward direction, it will certainly cost more compared to building out. The reason is simple; a whole new floor is required and extra foundation is required to support it. On average it costs 20 to 30 percent more to extend vertically rather than extending outward.

As an idea, if you are building additional rooms at ground level, the average cost is around $1,600 per square meter. But if you are adding another floor above the ground level, the average cost is over $2,000 per square meter.


Suitable Layout

Property layout is the third element that will help you decide which way to extend. Take into consideration the type of extension that is suitable for the layout of the house. It is very hard to change plumbing and other fixtures around when you are renovating and this can be even more challenging if these facilities are at the front of the property. If that is the case, you are left with only one option, i.e. to add another level.

Keep in mind that changing bedroom is easy but what’s hard is changing the services, such as bathrooms, toilets, plumbing, and the kitchen.


Is It for Investment Purposes?

Finally, identify the reason why you are renovating. Is it for investment purposes? Do you want more space for the family? Or are you doing it to increase your chances of selling it? On average, it takes over 7 years to recover the costs of renovating via capital gains.

For those who have a large block of land available and want to expand for investment or selling purposes, building out is the most effective solution. It will be a cost-effective choice and the potential for resale will increase. Single-storey houses are more beneficial for resale purpose than houses with more than one level, due to catering to a wider demographic. Based on which market you wish to target, single-storey buildings are the first choice for elderly people as well as those who wish to downsize.

Keep in mind these tips if you’re considering renovating to ensure that it’s the best possible option for you. Chat to our team for more information on 1300 088 065 or email Nathan at

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