Dwell Well > Up Or Out: Do You Choose A Loft Conversion Or Home Extension For Added Value?

Up Or Out: Do You Choose A Loft Conversion Or Home Extension For Added Value?

Whether you purchased your home with the intention of doing it up and selling for a profit, or you’ve outgrown your current home and want to make the most from your investment when it goes on the market, adding value to a property is the goal for many people. 

But when you’re taking on a big renovation project, such as an extension or a conversion, knowing which to pick to get the most for your money can be hard. Not only do you want to minimise outlay on the project but you also want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when you sell. With this in mind, should you go up or out with your property to add the most value?

Which is cheaper: loft or extension?

Typically, a loft conversion is a cost-effective project and can add considerable space to your home, compared to extensions. But, depending on the complexity of the project and the type of conversion you choose, the costs can quickly rise. 

For example, a basic rooflight conversion which would give you an additional double bedroom can range from £18,000 to £25,000, while a dormer loft conversion sends that cost nearer to £40,000. An extension, similarly, can range between £1,350-£2,250 per m2 for a single-storey project, through to £1,750 per m2 for a two-storey extension. 

With both projects, there are also additional costs to consider such as design fees, costs for builders and structural engineers, and decorating costs once the project is complete. You’ll also need to consider whether party wall notices need to be served, and research whether the planning permission process applies to your property, both of which can come with fees and apply to both projects. 

Which adds more value?

The size and location of an extension or loft conversion, along with the type of space the renovation is adding, will impact how much added value you’ll see in return from your efforts. But you also need to consider the ceiling price of properties in your area, which is the maximum value properties reach where you live. Speaking to a local estate agent can be helpful in determining what buyers are looking for and how much properties tend to go for in your surrounding community. 

However, generally speaking, a kitchen extension can add between 10 and 15% to the value of your property, while an extension intended to add an extra bedroom to your home can increase the value by up to 20%. If you’re looking to convert your loft, an additional bedroom with an en-suite bathroom could add between 20 and 25% to the value of your home, especially if the finishing is to a higher standard. Bear in mind that when you convert your loft, you lose out on the storage space this area of the home provides, so you’ll need to make up for this elsewhere in the home to really maximise your returns. 

What suits your property best?

Another factor to think about is whether a loft conversion or an extension would be the best fit for your property, and how the extra space will be used. Loft conversions don’t work for all types of home, as some houses are built without loft space (such as properties with vaulted ceilings) while others may not have enough headspace, since there’s a minimum of 2.8m of clear vertical space required for a loft conversion to be permitted. This could affect your planning permission being rejected if the property doesn’t meet the criteria, but it could also influence the cost of the project even if the permission is granted. 

Extensions, however, are suitable for most types of properties, particularly for terraced or semi-detached properties when adding a side return extension which can increase the footprint of your home and add valuable space. Think about what provides the most space, what type of space you need in your home, and whether your property will work with what you have in mind. 

What to consider

There are a few things to consider before making your choice between a loft conversion or an extension, which could help sway the decision in one direction or the other. Firstly, think about which option will add the most square footage to your home, as this will have a big influence on how much additional value you’ll gain.

You should also consider what you’re gaining from the project. Will buyers have a preference over one or the other? Is there something your own family has wanted from the property that isn’t there currently? What are prospective buyers looking for in a home that you may be able to provide. 

If you’re considering an extension, you also want to think about how much garden you’ll lose in the process. If it will not leave you with an appropriately sized garden at the end of it, you may be losing out on another desirable feature. And finally, do your research when getting quotes from builders and architects to gauge what your plans will cost you and whether those costs will be recouped when you sell. 

Seek advice before making plans

As you can see, when it comes to adding value to your home, there are several factors to think about and finding a definitive answer can be tricky. It all comes down to the type of property you have and what you want to use the space for, coupled with what’s permitted and what your budget will allow for. 

If you have a property with a loft space, a conversion can be an affordable option and by adding an en-suite bathroom, you can increase the living space and add a considerable amount to your property. If you live in a terraced or semi-detached property, or you want to create a larger kitchen or sociable living area for entertaining, an extension may be the best fit for you. 

Both loft conversions and extensions can add value when designed correctly and finished to a high standard, but it’s worth having a local estate agent assess your property to provide you with an answer based on where you live and the current property market.

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