Many people consider extending their property rather than moving, and a loft conversion seems to be an obvious proposition. This is supported by a rising expectation of increased property value following such a conversion, and we are often called out to advise on the financial viability of a project.
However, trends are changing, and it may be that a property with potential for a loft conversion can attract greater interest than a converted property which limits the buyer pool to those with a greater need for space and deeper pockets!
Great care should be taken when deciding on whether a loft conversion will be appropriate. For example, it is possible to over-develop a property. Even if your house is the best in the street, there will always be a limit on the potential value of a property there at a given time.
Likewise, would a loft extension make your house “top-heavy”? This is where there is insufficient living space for the amount of sleeping accommodation provided. Also, when you come to sell, could such an extension actually be called a “room” in view of the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991? If it does not comply with certain criteria it might only be able to be classed as a storage space.
What about planning permission? Unless you live in a listed building, area of outstanding natural beauty or conservation area, you are generally allowed to build a further 10% of the floor area of your property without planning permission, although you must obtain building consent from your local council. Even if you don’t carry out the loft conversion, having the planning permission, if required, in place can add sufficient value to the property without the hassle of actually doing the work.
Finally – don’t be tempted to do the work yourself! A bad loft conversion could actually reduce the value of your home! Please feel free to ask us to advise you of your property’s likely sale price – with and without an extension.