In the age of ‘improve, don’t move’, more of us than ever are choosing to convert our homes to open up space. If you’re looking to sell your home, a good loft conversion can add between 10% and 20% on to its value, with no need to sacrifice garden space as is all too common with ground-floor extensions. It’s no wonder that one in five of us are eager to convert our lofts!
How much will it cost?
As with any home improvement though, it’s all about weighing up the cost against the perceived benefits. Conversions can range from £10,000 – £40,000 (depending on your location, the materials used and the size of the conversion), so for a property worth £300,000, you could find the value balancing out with an added value of £30,000, while for a home worth £500,000, this could increase to £550,000 – adding on at least £10,0000.
Image source: West London Painting Group
Is converting my loft the right choice for me?
Before you decide to push forward with a conversion, take a minute to step back and consider your storage. If you normally hide old school books and children’s toys in the loft, ask yourself if you’ve got enough cupboards to give them a new home. If the answer’s no, a loft conversion is probably not right for you. You’ll lose even more space on the floor below once the floor’s built up and a new staircase is added.
Another indication that a loft conversion isn’t the right choice is the height of the ceiling in the loft. Planning departments don’t look favourably on altering the external height or appearance of a house and just because you can stand up in a loft, it doesn’t mean that it’s a liveable space. Insulation and joists have to be added which reduce the ceiling height.
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Is my loft ok to convert?
Providing your loft is appropriate for a conversion, you won’t need planning permission unless you’re exceeding 50 cubic metres for a detached or semi-detached house, you’re changing the way the house looks from the outside, you have side-facing windows which overlook your neighbours, or you live in a listed building or conservation area. Extra height to the outside of your home is always subject to permissions, so you’ll need to check out that front dormer window that you might have wanted to give you extra height over a sink.
What you definitely do need, no matter what work you intend to carry out, is a habitable space — a room with strong floor joists to support people and furniture rather than just storage. Every conversion needs to comply with building control regulations so make sure to have yours inspected and signed off by a building control surveyor. Good insulation, safe access from the staircase to the conversion itself and fire doors are must-haves for the work to be awarded the completion certificate for safety. Keep it somewhere safe because you’ll need it to show to your buyer’s solicitor if you decide to sell your property in the future.
Image source: House to Home
Don’t forget that rules change, so it’s always worth checking the Planning Portal for updated permissions before you start embarking on your conversion project.