Considering Getting Your Roof Converted?
If you are considering a loft conversion in the London area, you will undoubtedly add value to your home. In most cases, a well designed and completed project should produce property value increases of between 10% and 20%.
Obviously, you want the best possible price, but it is important to note that there are specific aspects to converting roofspaces, so while a general builder might quote a “few quid” less, do not underestimate the advantage of going with a loft conversion specialist who does this type of work day in, day out and has seen (and overcome!) just about every type of problem that may be encountered.
- Have specific knowledge of building & planning regulations
- Have well rehearsed processes for working in your home, without causing excessive mess or disruption
- Have experience of squeezing the most usable space out of your attic
- Be able to prepare drawings if necessary
Financing Your Attic Alterations
There are several ways to finance your project.
Remortgage: If you can remortgage, this might be the most cost effective solution, offering lower interest rates by spreading the cost over the remainder of your home loan.
Secured Loan: Next on the list is the secured loan; the finance is basically secured against the property, but this should give a lower interest rate than an unsecured loan.
Unsecured Loan: Not as competitive interest rates as a secured loan, and usually spread over a lesser timescale
Windfall: Many people use a windfall such as an inheritance to finance their project. Given that a good conversion might increase as much as 20% of the value of your house, this may be a better use for an unexpected cash windfall than sticking it in a bank or building society!
What Are The Regulations?
The two main things to consider are planning permission and building regulations.
Planning permission is often not required, as most projects fall under the scope of permitted development rights, where you are automatically given permission to do certain things to your home. However, there are specific conditions ; it depends on the size, the type of property you have, whether it is listed etc etc, so it is advisable to check the Planning Portal website guide
We would advise getting a letter in writing from your local authority confirming you do not require permission, just in case there are any disputes several years down the line when you sell your property.
Building regulations will undoubtedly be required, for anything other than a basic storage solution, and will cover many factors from stairs access, insulation through to means of escape in case of a fire. Check the Building regulations for lofts here
Do make sure you obtain all relevant completion certificates, when you are finished, as you will have to show them if ever you come to sell your property.
Finally, should you intend to do any work that affects a party wall (a dividing wall shared with a neighbour) you will need to consider party wall regulations.(For more info on loft regulations, click here)
What Will It Cost ?
In London, costs are obviously higher than other parts of the country due to many factors ranging from demand, higher raw material prices, travel, parking and access issues etc.
You can expect to pay anything from £20 000 up to £50 000 for an average London loft conversion which may include the construction of one bedroom with ensuite, rooflights and stairs. But offset this against the added value it will give your home – often £70 - 80 000 depending on where you are – and the cost of a loft conversion is very reasonable.
Important points to consider
Here’s some important points to consider when planning your loft conversion.
Stairs access : You will have to sacrifice some space on the floor below to put in a staircase. Often this can mean removing cupboard space in hallway, or it may mean sacrificing part of an existing bedroom
Roofspace height: You will need at least 2.1 metres existing height in your attic, measured to the highest point, otherwise any conversion may not count as a habitable room and therefore not increase the value of the to the property so much.
Do you need an Architect? If you plan on doing something complicated, or demand outstanding high quality, or want to use a general builder, you may want to engage an architect. However, if you opt to use a loft conversion specialist, they will usually have an in house designer who can prepare drawings.
Plumbing works: If you need an ensuite or other plumbing work, water & waste pipes will need to be run, and this will be much easier if this part of the work is located above existing bathroom installations.
Do you need a lot of storage? If the roof is currently full to the brim with family heirlooms and other stuff you can’t bear to part with, how will you store it? You may be able to include a lot of low level cupboard space into the design, utilizing wasted eaves space, but this does raise the cost. So consider what storage you do actually need (your loft conversion specialist can advise).
Pros And Cons Of Converting Your Loft
- Adds value to your house – often 10 -20% (or £50 -£75 000 – higher in London)
- Adds usable living area, negating the need for all the upheaval and expense of moving house (ideal if expecting the pitter patter of tiny feet)
- Fast turnaround – often complete in just 6 -8 weeks
- Usually does not need planning permission
- Doesn’t usually create as much value as a traditional extension
- More invasive in terms of workmen having access to your home than traditional extensions
- Loss of storage space (if you are a hoarder)
- The value added to a home will vary depending on your location- more in Central London, less so in the “suburbs”