Don’t Move Improve – Stay-put and invest in what you have

Don’t Move Improve! Convert your loft, build an extension, renovate your home, carry out internal alterations? This slogan seems to be back in the headlines.

Ideal Homes

A recent article in Ideal Homes is titled “Don’t move improve, is the home owner’s mantra after base rate rise”.
In the article, a survey of 1000 homeowners concluded that it was better to stay-put and improve their existing house. The article goes on to say that adding another bedroom and doing a loft conversion would on average add the most value to your home.

New London Architecture

New London Architecture is a forum for discussion and debate about architecture, planning, and development in London. They have been running a Don’t Move, Improve! competition since 2009. The competition celebrates London’s best and most innovative home extensions and improvements. The 2017 winner was a Japanese-style sunken bath tub encased in glass. The runners-up were an office in the garden and a light-filled extension with a courtyard.


A recent Halifax survey says that house prices are rising at the faster rate since January 2017, driven by lack of supply, historically low mortgage rates and high employment.

Cost of Moving

If you need more space or another bedroom and want to move you may find it difficult finding your ideal property. If you do find one and it costs over £1/2m, your moving costs and SDLT will be in the region of £25k.

Uncertain future

We live in times of uncertainty. Brexit, the continued rise in base rates (albeit very slowly), house prices, inflation, job security, the list goes on. Who knows where we will be in one or two years time?

‘An Englishman’s home (or occasionally, house) is his castle’

A historic and somewhat dubious statement but for all of us our home is a place of refuge, where (subject to appropriate approval) we can do as we please. More importantly, it is a place to live, to enjoy and to rest our heads. I have done 100s of loft conversions, extensions and alterations over the past 14 years and every one has loved what has been created. A good number have said, “why didn’t I do this years ago.”

Staying-put & Improve

If you improve your existing home you stay in the community. Improving your existing home uses existing resources as much of the structure is already there. If you specify a low energy build it will save energy (and your money) and be good for the environment. Improving your home benefits the local economy, you keep local trades people working.

A sunken bathing room in the garden is a fantastic option but perhaps a bit of a luxury for most of us. If you need more bedrooms for the expanding or returning family or if you want a family living area where you can all be together or just need another bathroom then maybe improving your existing home is the solution.

In 2008-09 I ran an advertising campaign, advertising my architectural services titled ‘Don’t Move Improve.’ It could be time to resuscitate the old slogan.

For more details of my work please check out my website:

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