Buy smaller, build bigger with a loft conversion

With house prices reaching a new record high this month, it can seem like the possibility of owning a house or upsizing to a larger property is almost out of reach. The government's new Help to Buy scheme has resulted in a 60% increase in the number of first-time buyers across the UK, but the situation in London is still concerning with house prices in some areas hitting the £1M mark. But do not fear, there are some alternatives which can mean your dreams of the perfect spacious home can still come true.

Whether you're a first-time buyer, or are looking to get your first family home but can't afford to buy a property that's big enough, consider smaller properties with the mind to expand it. Look at top-floor flats or maisonettes where there's a possibility of converting the loft into the extra rooms you need.

Converting the loft of a one bedroom flat could make you the proud owner of a two story, three bedroom flat ...with an en-suite master bedroom too if that's what you need.

We recently helped a client in Balham to convert the loft of his two bedroom upper maisonette into a two storey flat. He now has four bedrooms, an en-suite, and a beautiful roof terrace. As a result, the value of his property by £100,000. 

Building bigger

Another client in Wimbledon recently converted the loft in their small terraced house to create room for their growing family. They told us:

"We always planned to convert the loft, in fact that's the reason we bought it two years ago. We'd seen a lot of other houses on our road had already done it so we knew the potential was there - plus we could never have afforded to buy a house with as much space as we have now."

By widening your property search to include smaller houses or flats, you can save thousands.

In Richmond, for example, the average price of a four bedroom property currently on the market is 82% (£500,000) higher than that of a three bedroom house.*

With the average cost of a loft conversion coming in at £53,477,* it’s easy to see that buying smaller and adding rooms by converting the loft, as opposed to buying a larger home, is the smarter option.

The money you save on a smaller property can then be re-invested into converting the loft into a space that fits your needs exactly. Not only that, but a loft conversion can increase the value of your property by 20% or more, should you decide to sell in the future.

*Figures taken from Dataloft Report: Conversion vs Moving

Not sure how to spot the potential in a smaller property?

Here are our five top tips to help you find a house that will become your dream home.

  • Research the borough: Find out what the building regulations are like in the area you're looking at. Houses on opposite sides of the street can sometimes be in completely different boroughs to each other and subject to different regulations so check carefully which borough the property falls under.
  • Is it in a conservation area? If you buy in a conservation area you will be more limited in terms of the type of loft conversion you can get in the future. It may not stop you from buying but you will have a better idea of the type of loft you can get.
  • Look at other houses nearby: Take a look at the roofs of the surrounding properties on the street, have they had their lofts converted already? If so you'll have a fair idea of the potential for converting the property you're looking at.
  • Take a look in the loft space: When viewing a potential property, take the time to look in the loft properly. Give it more than a cursory glance, and if possible ask the estate agents for the dimensions of the loft-space.
  • Talk to the neighbours: You may be doing this anyway to gauge what the local area is like. If you can see from outside that they've converted their loft, you could ask to see what they have done with the space and what you could potentially do with the property you're looking at.

You can also ask us for advice. We have helped thousands of clients transform their lofts into beautiful, light-filled living spaces across London. So if you see a flat or a house that you're interested in, but you are unsure about the type of lofts that are permissible in that area, contact us and we'll be happy to help. We may even be able to introduce you to a local client to see their beautifully finished loft space.

Request a call for a free design consultation today!