Take a stroll down any residential street in London, specifically Southwest London for us being based in Putney, chances are that you will stumble across a loft conversion taking place. The tell-tale signs are a large metal structure protruding from the front of a rather unassuming terrace or semidetached Victorian house and a gaggle of cheerful builders sipping cups of tea and admiring their handiwork. Behind the metal scaffolding resembling some sort of gigantic modernist sculpture hides an amazing investment that seems to have taken London by storm over the last few years particularly. There are many reasons why people choose to have a loft conversion in the capital, and we think that you should seriously consider it too.
What Is A Loft Conversion?
A loft conversion is literally what it says in the name. A conversion of loft space on a property, either repurposing an existing loft room or completely removing the loft and building a new addition to the top of the property. Loft conversions are by no means a new idea and have been carried out for years, however the popularity of loft conversions, especially in places like London where space is scarce has increased significantly. In London, purchasing your small piece of land in the greatest city in the world (Not biased at all) comes at a cost. In Putney where our offices are based, the average 1 bedroom flat currently sells between £500 and £600K. Just a short tube ride away in Chelsea, the highest listed 1-bedroom flat is a staggering £4.2 million.
If you are lucky enough to purchase a house, chances are that your space will still be limited for your money compared to say somewhere in the Midlands or the North and a side extension or back garden extension is simply not possible. Thats where a loft conversion may come in to play. Most people use their loft space to keep Christmas decorations, maybe the odd Peloton bike that you swore you would use every day. By either converting your loft space to a liveable room or completely taking the op off the property and building another level, you can navigate the London living space issue while not completely breaking the bank.
Adding Value To Your Property
Loft conversions are more popular in London than ever before. This is mainly due to two factors in our eyes, the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of house prices in London. London has always been and will always be an expensive place to live and if you do manage to purchase your own house in London, chances are your ability to upsize and upscale your property is quite slim.
Meaning that a jump from a 2-bedroom house to a three bedroom could quite literally be a £500K difference in price, something that most people won’t be able to afford to do. So, rather than try and stretch yourself to purchase a new property, people may find it more appealing to convert their unused space into another room or even rooms for a fraction of the price a new purchase would be.
Of course, the cost of a loft conversion will depend on a lot of factors. The type of property, the construction materials you decide to use, the quoted cost of labour by the specific builders, the architect you might need to design the build etc. Very roughly, a loft conversion could cost between £20K and £60K but could be more. So, realistically by doing a loft conversion, you could add another few hundred thousand pounds to the value of your property by adding another room or rooms and only need to spend a relatively small amount to do so.
Needing More Space!
The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns made us re-consider a lot of things in our lives. Are we making the most of our lives? Are we as healthy as we should be? Are we doing what we love career wise? Are we spending time with the right people in our lives? And for a lot of people, is my living situation fit for purpose?
Being confined to your house for 23 hours a day during the lockdowns make a lot of people start to consider if their living space was really enough for them and searches for property skyrocketed after the lockdowns eased and people decided that they needed to make a change. Others started to think about necessary home improvements that they needed to make to their properties. We believe this is probably a major catalyst for Londoners to start considering loft conversions and more intense extensions.
Reasons To Do A Loft Conversion
Aside from adding value to your property and giving you some much needed extra living space, here are some more reasons why you might consider doing one on your own property.
The UK cost-of-living crisis in 2022 was just another iron in the disastrous fire of the last few years. With the price of everything going up including energy bills, people are starting to think or ways to better conserve energy and keep their bills down. A loft conversion is a great way to make your property more energy efficient by converting the roof space (where all heat escapes from in a property) into a newly insulated area that retains heat and reduces the amount you need to use. Using sustainable and efficient materials for your new loft area like double glazed windows and installing solar panels onto the new roof to power the new addition to the house are both things that are very appealing to people thinking of doing a conversion.
Easier To Do Than Other Extensions: Planning Permission Is Very Rarely Required
Now, we are mortgage brokers, not builders or architects, but we have it on good authority that loft conversions are often a lot easier to do than other types of extension or conversion! With a side extension or a back extension to a property, you will need to consider the planning permissions that you might need to get as you are literally changing the shape of the home and building on new land that previously didn’t have anything on it.
Planning permissions can be a nightmare. They can be expensive to get and can take a long time to be approved depending on how long the planning office takes and depending on if anyone objects to the plans. And there is no guarantee that permission will be granted, which means that you could have your heart set on a new mancave in your garden. You could have already forked out a small fortune on a 90-inch TV and pool table, only to be told that your extension can’t go ahead.
As loft conversions aren’t always an actual addition to a property, merely a conversion of an existing space, you often don’t need to jump through all the regular permission hoops. But you should always check just in case. More extensive changes to your loft space such as literally building an entirely new floor to your house may need permissions.
Can I Remortgage To Do A Loft Conversion?
And now comes our specialty, remortgages for home improvements. The simple answer to the question of “Can I remortgage to do a loft conversion?” is yes…potentially. Most people don’t have £20K – £60K or more lying around to spend on home improvements, so remortgaging your home and releasing some equity for that specifically is a great option. If you meet the standard mortgage lender‘s criteria.
If you are thinking of remortgaging for some home improvements, you will need to meet the usual lender affordability requirements to do with your income and outgoings however there will be a lot more questions specifically about the building works that are being carried out, the actual quoted costs of the works and the value that it will potentially add to your property.
The lender will of course want to make sure that you are going to be using the remo funds for what you are claiming to do, and they will be very interested if the value of the property will increase by a lot when the works are carried out, as they will be able to make more money on their investment in the property.
Call A Mortgage Advisor About Remortgaging
The mortgage market is a confusing place at the moment with rates going up and down everywhere and lenders pulling and introducing products and rates, but the market is starting to come back in a big way and remortgaging your property is a smart move right now. Whether that is for a simple rate switch or home improvements.
If you are thinking of making some home improvements such as a loft conversion, or just need to remortgage your property because your rate has come to an end, we are experienced whole of market brokers. Give our advisors a call today to see how we can help. Our initial mortgage consultations before application are free of charge.