Loft Conversions: What You Need to Consider
What’s in your attic? Maybe a Christmas tree, a few suitcases, old toys, CD’s books, photographs, old set a golf clubs? Whatever might be up there, have you ever thought of sleeping in it or making into a cool den for the kids or a quiet space to study or work from home?
Loft conversions have become very popular in recent years, done well they add valuable space to your home and add value to the property when you decide to move. However, done poorly or without taking the proper advice and getting everything signed off by Building Control then it will cause problems when you come to sell.
If you are planning a loft conversion there are a few things to consider. We recommend that you approach a qualified builder or loft conversion specialist they will be able to advise you what your options are.
The first thing is; have you got enough head height? As a guide, if you have a property with a traditional roof (Pre-1965 in most cases) then a minimum of 2.2m is required, if you have a modern prefabricated truss roof (post-1965) then it may be you need a minimum of 2.4m.
If you decide to have roof lights such as Velux then you may not need planning permission as the conversion will fall into the Permitted Development rules, however if you decide to have a dormer window then you will require planning permission, in either case it is always worth checking with the local authority planning department and in both cases all the work you have carried out must meet the latest building regulations and is inspected and signed off by the local authority building inspector or certified company.
If you do not have the relevant certificates in place when you come to sell, then the space you have created cannot be classed as a habitable room and is in effect still a loft. A buyer’s surveyor and solicitor will expect to see these documents and if they are not in place the buyer might walk away or insist on either retrospective permissions being sought, or an indemnity insurance paid for and put in place.
Other things to consider is where is the staircase going to go? Is it from your landing or will you need to create space for it from one of the existing bedrooms, this is common, but think about the bedroom you may lose, is the result still beneficial?
If you are going to create a new bedroom, then consider the number of bathrooms, there is a trend with new build three storey houses where the master bedroom is on the top floor, creating a “master suite” with dressing room and ensuite bathroom (or shower room). Following this lead can create a luxury space for grown-ups, leaving the children on the floor below and future proofing your home when it is time to sell.
So, the final question is; does a loft conversion add value? The average cost of a loft conversion to provide a new bedroom can be between £25,000 and £35,000 depending on size, ease of conversion and other items such as an ensuite, providing heating etc. And yes, we do believe that your home can increase in value by roughly the same amount. It is a good investment for the future, it gives you more space, now and improved saleability, but remember don’t forget the paperwork!