Jeremy Leaf, housing spokesperson for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, tells how to ensure your loft conversion project adds value to your home.
Get the balance right
‘Just because your roof space could be converted, that does not mean it should be. Ensure there will be a suitable balance of living accommodation following a loft conversion. An extra bedroom may mean that there are insufficient bathrooms, so providing an extra shower room or bathroom in the roof space, too, is ideal. Bear in mind that with a second-floor bathroom you may need to alter your hot water system so water pressure remains adequate.
‘An additional bedroom may also make your house “top heavy”, with insufficient living and kitchen areas at ground-floor level to serve the bedroom accommodation. If your living areas are small by comparison, prospective buyers seeking a certain number of bedrooms may still prefer a house with the living rooms in proportion and original bedrooms all at first-floor level.’
Make the new layout work downstairs
‘Converting your loft may result in the loss of space at first-floor level to accommodate the new staircase. Losing a small bedroom on the first floor to provide a larger one on the second floor is rarely a good idea, but may be worth considering if, for instance, part of the small, compromised first-floor bedroom can be used as a new en suite or dressing area to the master bedroom.’
Ensure the design is suitable
‘Loft conversions must comply with building regulations but should also be practical. A poorly designed loft conversion with a restricted ceiling height throughout most of its area, an awkward staircase, or an ugly, obtrusive dormer window will not enhance your home or its value.’
Don’t breach the ceiling price
‘Buyers tend not to want to buy the most expensive house in the road. If there is a maximum achievable price in your road, converting your loft may out-price your property and make it a poor investment. Do some research and find out the values of similar houses nearby, with and without loft conversions. Local estate agents should be able to advise you.’
Don’t forget the financial cushion
‘When pricing a loft conversion, don’t forget the ancillary costs. You may end up having to pay for a whole new central heating system, as well as for redecorating and re-carpeting the entire hallway and staircase area.’
And don’t convert if…
‘…your house has any serious defects, such as outdated service installations, rot, dampness or structural problems. These must be addressed before the loft space is converted, or it really will be a case of throwing good money after bad. Nobody will pay top dollar for a house with a loft extension if there are extensive repair obligations elsewhere in the property.’
In the gallery: Pay attention to the finish and use specialist companies to furnish the windows of your new room – smart blinds covering oddly shaped windows will be much more successful than awkwardly positioned curtains or DIY efforts. Vertical blind in Ikat Denim, from £79 for a non-Velux skylight measuring (H)45x(W)40cm, Hillarys.
All prices and stockists correct at time of publishing.