Don’t move, buy the house next door - 18th September 2018

When the kids are growing up and you’re running out of space, your first thought may be to extend outwards, upwards or convert the garage.

Homeowners have been heeding the “improve, don’t move” mantra for years but now it seems there’s a new property craze on the block – buying the house next door.

Glossy magazines and broadsheet newspapers have been quick to jump on this trend. A recent feature in The Telegraph tackled the pros and cons, though most of the properties featured were in London and the affluent South East. Anyone fancy a six bedroom duplex in Kensington?

For mere mortals without a spare £30 million to spare, the buying next door option does have its advantages.

There’s still stamp duty to pay but it is most likely to be less to buy a neighbouring property of similar size to your own than it would to upgrade to a far bigger house, even taking the three per cent surcharge for second homes into account.

Architects, builders and solicitors will all need paying too, but it will still represent a considerable saving on the usual costs of selling a home and buying a bigger one in another location.

Some experts are promoting the idea of considering the investment value of having a handily located spare property to rent out. You could also look at eventually selling the house as a project for someone else to convert or using some of next door’s garden to add to your own.

However, as with any ambitious property project, there can be pitfalls – as Jamie Oliver discovered. The TV chef spent millions conjoining two North London properties into one, which failed to sell a few years ago. He then had to reinstate it as two separate houses.

Reconfiguring two properties from scratch, including getting rid of surplus staircases and kitchens, can be a hassle and the house may not ‘flow’ as you had intended.

If you still think buying the house next door could work for you, the key is to do your homework in relation to areas such as planning permission, your mortgage and utilities. Best of British!

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