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Loft Conversion vs Extension

Loft Conversion Vs Extension

Can’t decide whether to extend your home or do a loft conversion?  Stop going round in circles and read our three-point plan to help you decide if extending upwards or sideways is right for you.

 While in general a loft conversion is much cheaper and straightforward than building a brand new extension, there are three things you need to consider:

  1. Which option would add more long-term value?
  2. What do you need more – extra bedrooms or more living space?
  3. Which option is best suited for your home?

 Loft Conversions can be anything from a basic ‘room in a roof’ to bolting on dormer windows or literally raising the roof and changing the whole upstairs structure. The more sophisticated the loft design; the more cost and disruption.

Loft conversion or extension

 According to Nationwide Building Society, adding a double bedroom and a bathroom in the loft can add more than 20 per cent to the value of a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house.  And there are many other lifestyle benefits too. A loft conversion can take the pressure off family life. When kids start to outgrow the box room or grown ups decide they want some peace and quiet, a loft extension can provide solace and serenity away from the hustle and bustle downstairs. In the long term, it can also be a handy extra bedroom for visiting family or a self-contained apartment for when the kids become young adults. It could even be rented out as a source of revenue when they (eventually) leave home.

 However, you must also consider whether a loft conversion is the best option for your property. Will adding another storey make a house top-heavy?  Are you in danger of overdeveloping your home and creating a ‘mega’ home, where no matter what you do to it, it will never break the ceiling price of other properties on the street. Be aware that buyers are unlikely to buy a £600K home on a £300K street.

 The other option is to extend sideways with many families building a new single or double storey home extension. The current trend for open plan living has made single storey extensions the perfect way to create extra living space.  Roof lights and bi-fold doors can bring in more natural light to your downstairs dwellings, while a new extension is also a chance to reconfigure how you use your living space. Think about what your current floorplan is lacking;  A downstairs loo? A study? Space for a dining table big enough for you and guests? A playroom? A home extension can factor in everything you need. If moving house isn’t an option, extending your home is a great way of staying in an area you love with a house that is designed to fit in with your lifestyle.

 For many, the choice comes down to price. Which is cheaper – a loft conversion or a side extension? How much a conversion costs versus an extension is individual to each property and also depends on what your priorities are. A good starting figure for a basic single storey house extension is £1,500 to £1,900 per square metre (Real Homes) compared with £1,150 to £1,350 per square metre for a dormer loft conversion (Simply Lofts).

If after weighing up the cost versus disruption, you still can’t make up your mind or don’t relish the prospect of undergoing building work, you always have another option - sell up and buy a property that’s either already done or better suits your needs.

 Undertaking any home improvement work is a big commitment and if you’re not convinced of the benefits, then you need to re think what you are trying to achieve.