Research by Lloyds TSB suggests a rise in vendors pulling their property off the market to spend money on improvements. “People are making the most of the space they have because of the costs of moving and a loft conversion can be an asset to a home,” says Peter Bolton Kin, Global Residential Director at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
And my case couldn’t reiterate this point more. I had my home on the market for nearly 10 months in 2012 with only a few viewings and one quite insulting offer! I was frantic, I needed to move. My kids stuff was taking over the house and working from home was proving impossible.
Then a good friend suggested that I work with the home I had and try to make it work for us. Our garden was too small to extend, I loved the convenience of having a garage for storing everything out of the way – so that only left the loft! There was no other option, we had to go up.
I set about contacting a number of Dublin attic conversions companies and was very happy to discover that a loft conversion can add 10% to a property’s value, even in property downturns.
We decided to create the attic space into a home office and guest bedroom with ensuite. And it’s been a godsend. The dining room table is finally a dining room table again and not a disorderly mess of files. Creating a guest room freed up the box room to be opened up so that we could add attic stairs and lots of built in storage.
So what do you need to know about developing your attic space?
Well firstly it’s getting easier to do so – for the majority of people you can now carry out loft conversions and extensions without having to obtain planning permission.
You might not need planning permission but you do need to be aware of building regulations and that’s where a lot of people have come unstuck when attempting to do a conversion without taking the appropriate advice or doing their homework.
According to many estate agents, when homeowners DIY without making the necessary checks, you can end up with just an expensive storage space rather than an extra bedroom. If a conversion doesn’t meet these building regulation criteria, then you can’t market it as an extra bedroom (only storage) and you won’t get the price you wanted for the property.
Other points to consider;
- Headroom – the headroom in the existing loft should be between 7 and 8 feet, though obviously the more room the better.
- Complexity – depending on your final design choice you may have to consult an architect or designer. For less complex loft conversions your builder will probably provide a plans drawing service.
- Staircase – a staircase is an absolute must if planning to make your new room habitable. Often it may be necessary to sacrifice a portion of a second-floor room in order to accommodate a staircase to the loft.
- Safety – when assessing the suitability of your roof space, bear in mind the need for escape windows in the loft and fire safety.
- Planning – most loft conversions don’t need planning permission, but if your roof space is restricted then you will probably need to install a dormer, in which case planning permission will be needed. Also remember to take into account the building regulations and the Party Wall Act.
- Plumbing – will your current central heating system be able to cope with the addition of heating into your roof space? Are you planning to put in an en-suite or W.C.
Apart from these basic considerations most loft conversions will be possible though it is obviously best to have your plans professionally drawn up to your own specifications. Attic conversion costs can vary hugely depending on a multitude of factors. I suggest inviting up to 3 teams of attic conversion experts to carry out an onsite inspection and to provide you with a detailed quote.