How Can I Extend My House Cheaply?

home extension melbourne

If you are thinking about extending your home, I assume you need more space. First, consider all the ways your house could be adapted to achieve your desires; there may be restrictions according to the type of house you have. If it’s a heritage home, for example, there could be limitations on building works or materials, especially to the facade facing the street. The position of your house on the site – front, middle or rear – can also significantly impact how you might be able to extend, and the site’s topography is a further consideration. A level site can be more accommodating to an extension than one with a steep slope.

The idea of expanding out to the back, front, or side of your property, moving up to finish a loft conversion, or down to finish a basement or cellar space is appealing to helping your family find the needed space to stretch out. This is a wonderful dream of thought, but when your finances are tight. The thought of the cost of extension work makes you anxious, or you’re losing sleep over the thought of the money you will need to shell out. You don’t know how to go about it, house extension projects and elaborate extension designs on a limited budget can be a bit constraining.

If the recent announcement of the Government’s home renovation grant has got you ready to add an extension to your home, you may be wondering where to start or if you can extend your house on a budget. While the home renovation grant is a great wallet boost, it’s important to be total across the entire cost of a major renovation like an extension.

We understand if you’re a little fed up of always seeing fantastical architect-designed extensions that must have cost a small fortune. There’s nothing worse than seeing something you love, but knowing your home couldn’t accommodate it, or that your budget can’t stretch that far.

So, today we’re looking at more modest, affordable home extensions. Frequently added to make room for a more functional kitchen or a bigger sitting area, these small but impactful designs won’t break the bank, but they will open your homes right up. Planning for a new look for your house? Look no further!  MJS Construction Group  is here to help in your home builders.

There are other questions to consider, too. Is there good access around your site to extend? Are you extending to achieve a spectacular view? Are there external factors that can also impact where you can extend, such as where your neighbours’ houses are situated and whether they are single- or double-storey?

Also, are your neighbours’ windows facing your site and where is their backyard? The rules and regulations around protecting your neighbours’ privacy will limit where and how you can develop on your site. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, consider these clever designs before making a final decision – many have been built into non-conventional spaces.

Here Are A Few Insights Into The Cost Of A Home Extension That May Surprise You

Single Storey vs Second Storey Extension Cost

If you’re considering a second storey extension, you may be expecting a bigger bill than that for a single-storey extension. In most cases, a ground floor extension can cost more! Raising a home and building underneath doesn’t normally require foundations or a costly concrete slab like a ground floor extension would. A ground floor extension could also require additional excavation work to level out sloping land.

For a complete overview, why don’t you take a look at our second storey house extension guide?

melbourne home extension

Living On-Site Whilst Renovating

Despite second storey extension costs possibly saving you money during the build, you could find yourself losing money elsewhere – like in living expenses. It’s slightly harder to remain living in your home during the early stages of a second storey renovation when you might be missing stairs to your front door! While it will depend on how your floor plan is being modified, in most cases, it’s easier to remain living in the home during a single-storey extension.

Beware of Bespoke Fittings Costs

The idea of large doorways and custom sized windows is appealing: until you get the bill. If your budget can afford bespoke fittings, then go for it – otherwise, cut costs by sticking with standard-sized doors and windows for a cheaper approach to home renovation.

Measure Twice, Cut Once to Reduce Costs

Home renovation builders are usually pretty flexible and can modify certain aspects like PowerPoint switches, floor levels, and even plumbing locations. However, last-minute changes could come with an extra cost. To save some cash, make sure you’re happy with your design before the build begins. That means planning out every little detail like PowerPoint locations, light switch locations, and floor coverings. If you’re unsure about where to start, Hille’s building designers can work with you to ensure your needs and tastes are captured.

Don’t Forget About Those Little Extras

Rubbish removal, permits, approvals – on their own, these items don’t cost much, but they quickly add up. Don’t forget that a home extension cost is not just about the designer, the builder, and the materials – it’s also about ensuring the worksite is clean and safe and is operating according to all local and state regulations.

An extension or addition to your home is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission. But the extension is subject to limits and conditions, such as:

  • No extension should be higher than the highest part of the roof
  • The maximum height of a single-storey rear extension is four metres
  • Single-storey rear extensions must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres if an attached house or by four metres if a detached house. ​

But in some cases, you will probably need planning permission if you want to build something new, build an extension, or change the use of your building. 

Here Are Some Tips To Save You A Little Extra Cash:  

Getting planning permission

As we understand, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get planning permission for large extensions – as long as your plans don’t have a negative impact on your neighbours or the environment. 

So yes, if you are thinking of building a large extension, being able to forgo all the bureaucratic red tape involved with getting planning permission will save you stress, hassle, money and time. 

Choose a problem-fixing builder

You need a builder who can solve problems cheaply and quickly, rather than asking you what to do when. Let’s face it; you probably won’t have a clue.

Hire trustworthy tradespeople who you can get on with

Dealing with recommended independent tradespeople can be a lot cheaper than dealing with a big firm, and you have a closer, more direct relationship with them, which makes it easier to sort problems out.

Plus, if you get a word-of-mouth recommendation, their reputation (effectively, their livelihood) is at stake, and they are often prepared to go the extra mile as a result.

Even if their quote isn’t the cheapest, going with the tradesperson you instinctively trust most to do a good job would be the best option – it’s likely you will save hundreds of pounds in the long run. At MJS Construction Group, we have the best home builders selection to make your house a dream come true.

Be on your guard

Make sure you check all the current prices before you pay in full. You also have to be on your guard about measurements.


It might seem obvious, but a mistake here can cost you a fortune!

If you’re looking for a larger home, it could be more cost-effective for you to add space to an existing property rather than move house or even self build. Before we investigate some recent projects, how much they cost and what they involved, 

Here Are Some Key Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Home Improvement Venture:

Identify your needs

Think carefully about your reasons for extending – are you looking to add more general living space or do you want a room with a specific purpose, such as an extra bedroom? Thoroughly considering what you want from the finished addition will help to form the foundations for coming up with a suitable brief and design.

Set a brief

Once you’ve determined your motivations and how you intend to use the new space, consider how your property will best respond to the addition. Key areas to focus on are establishing the potential ways that you could maximise space and natural light.

Work with skilled designers

While you may choose to come up with plans yourself and work with a structural engineer and a good builder to fine-tune the details, an architect or experienced designer’s flair will help you get the most out of your home improvement project.

Assess the opportunities

When you talk it through with your designer, you’ll probably have a vision for how you think your home can be tailored. Keep an open mind and be flexible – it may even work in your favour.

Consider the rest of the house

A home extension project will add valuable new living space, but the results can be maximised if you go back to basics and consider how you want to live in your home. The most successful schemes tend to include layout changes and renovation work elsewhere in the house, too.

Cost versus value

It can be easy to get carried away with all the exciting extension possibilities, but take a moment to step back and have a look at how much value it will add to your house. You might have different priorities if this is your forever home, but as a rule, try not to spend more on a property update than its finished value.

Investigate local house prices to get an idea of what uplift you can expect, and check out the Office for National Statistics’ handy extension value calculator to get a quick idea of the potential increase in value.

Understand the planning rules

You may not need to submit a formal planning application thanks to permitted development (PD) rights. But if your house is in a designated zone (such as a conservation area or an area of outstanding natural beauty) or if the property you’re proposing to extend is listed, your PD rights are restricted.

Create a project schedule

While it’s inevitable for there to be a few bumps in the road, by and large, a well-organised scheme should come together smoothly with minimal changes needed as you go along.

Protect your project

Ensuring you have the right insurance in place for your extension scheme will protect the new works and the original building from anything that could go wrong during the build.

Engage skilled builders

When you put the scheme out to tender, be sure to provide enough detail to compare quotes like-for-like. Given a basic outline, one contractor may over-specify to cover all margins, while another might quote cheaply knowing they’ll charge extras – so provide a clear and comprehensive brief. Busy builders may quote higher, but remember they’re busy for a reason.

Efficient management

Whether doing it yourself or bringing in a professional, the project manager needs to keep a tight rein. It’s their job to make sure things are done to a high standard at the pace you need.

Cut Costs by Keeping It Simple with Just the Basics

Simplicity Saves Money

Not every complicated detail is vitally important to implement into your house extension design. Keeping it simple is the way to go, and it doesn’t mean the finished project will be boring just because you built smartly and saved money. Elaborate, dream room additions seem amazing, but you can get a lot of extra room on a budget when you keep your extension designs plan. Simplicity is just beauty without chaos and clutter. Some may even call it minimalism, which is a popular way of life.

extension home melbourne

Focusing on simple designs does not mean you have to forfeit style. It merely means you will stretch your home extension designs budget to its maximum potential so you can focus on the interior design elements without worrying about going over budget.

For instance, a square house extension design with a simple pitched roof is the least expensive way to go as opposed to designing custom angles or curves or adding unnecessary building and design components. Also, choose construction materials that are available and do not require special orders. You can often still get the look you want without spending a fortune. For instance, if you want the look of dormer windows on a loft extension, opt for roof lights instead. For kitchen extensions, you can open up an exterior wall with a bi-fold door that will bring in a lot of natural lighting, and fold up out of the way when you want to extend your indoor kitchen, eating, and cooking space to the outdoors. Check out our range of dual occupancy builder for your dream house.

Do It Yourself Wherever Possible

Do-It-Yourself projects can save you a bundle when you’re building home extensions. Some of the best DIY house extensions money-saving projects include painting, tile work, some flooring installation, adding a window bench seat, or cabinet installation and refinishing work.

Whatever you are handy at, give it a try. The main thing to keep in mind with DIY work is to never tackle anything above and beyond your skills and ability, especially when it comes to major structural work, live electricity, or extensive plumbing work. DIY will also require some amount of research ahead of time, so you don’t run into trouble with discovering your home addition doesn’t comply with local building regulations after you have spent time and money trying to save on the work. Of course, there are some areas of adding onto your home that you will not want to scrimp on. Do what you can yourself, and save the expenses for areas you need an expert to complete.

Know Before You Build

Before you start any DIY work or hire someone to work on your home extension, the best cost-saving step you can take is to plan properly. Do a little local research to make sure you understand and abide by any building regulations or planning permissions for your home and property. If you share a wall with your neighbour, you will need to comply with the Party Wall Act.

Save yourself time and problems which could bring your home extension project to a grinding halt in a hurry by simply discussing your plans with those living nearby. Your best step is to talk with your neighbours before doing any work on adding to your home since it may interfere with their natural lighting or infringe upon their property. Save yourself an expensive headache later down the road by knowing everything expected for you to following legal requirements for your build and planning well.

Be Careful Who You Hire

While there are plenty of reputable builders able and available to help you with your house extensions, be careful. Many disreputable contractors are waiting to take advantage of any willing victim. Avoid being ripped off by always asking for and following through by checking references for accuracy and credibility. Whatever you do, never pay in advance for the promised work for the cost of extension. The time to pay is after you have been invoiced for work and only if you are completely satisfied. If the home extension requires lengthy work, make arrangements to make payments in stages as each phase of the work is complete. Go over every detail of your extension designs, including a written cost of the extension before any work begins.

If you are considering an extension, seek to advise from a qualified architect. They will be able to advise which orientation is practical from a regulatory and aesthetic viewpoint as well as which option is the most cost-efficient.

Google Rating
Based on 20 reviews
Scroll to Top