Archive for June, 2014

Loft Conversion: A Secure Investment

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

As property prices continue to go up in many parts of the UK, the number of people staying put and converting their lofts into an extra room is on the increase, research shows.

This has been taking place in London, and particularly in its terraced homes, for over a decade now as property prices have driven homeowners to find alternative solutions to acquire that extra space. But the trend is going national now.

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 it’s estimated that a loft conversion can add 10% to a property’s value, even when prices are wobbling.

Getting Easier

New regulations came into force on 1st October 2011 now enable the majority of people to carry out loft conversions and extensions without having to obtain permission from their local council. This, the Government estimates, will remove the need for around 80,000 households to seek planning permission, saving them up to £1,000 in costs.
This measure will help homeowners who in the current financial climate will rather add extra space and value to their properties than move.

While estate agents support additions to a property’s value with a loft conversion, one worry is whether the money invested will really be made recouped, according to research from banking group Santander. When house prices increase, you usually get a return on your investment within a couple of years; but as house prices fall so spending thousands may add no value.

Financing a loft conversion
Typically, homeowners have tapped into their property equity to finance such alterations to their property and lenders until recently have been happy to support this at a low-cost option. This may no longer be the case with higher interest rates and slumping property prices.
Last year Halifax offered a two-year fixed rate at 6.34% with a £999 fee plus a £349 further advance fee if the Loan To Value hit 95 per cent. By comparison, the cheapest personal loan – if you have a sound credit record – stands at 7.2% from the AA.

A fifth of homeowners in the UK are planning to carry out major structural work on their properties, research has also found. The study by Sainsbury’s Bank discovered that last year some 5.3 million homeowners made structural changes to their properties.

Know your regulations

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. There are five main points you need to be aware of.

  • Structural Stability – are the ceiling joists and load bearing walls and even foundations up to the job?
  • Fire Resistance – stairs need to be enclosed with a fire resistant door
  • Access and Means of Escape – via stairs and VELUX® escape/access skylights
  • Weather Resistance and Energy Conservation – The loft walls and roof must keep out the elements and retain heat, via insulation
  • Ventilation – providing clean air to the living environment and venting moist or stale air, which would cause condensation and can lead to all kinds of structural problems over time.

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. At worst, you may inadvertently cut through supporting joists, which basically hold the roof up, and that would be very costly to put right and may mean your home is unsalable.

Four Corners Offers A Full Service Package

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Four Corners is able to give you the best centralised service, this means that when it comes down to your property we are able to give you a solution from Planning Permission, Architectural Design, Gardening to Decoration and refurbishment in all areas that you might be interested. We cover mainly Bournemouth and the surrounding areas. Our Bournemouth Team of  Builders, Electricians, Plumbers, etc., can really deliver an excellent work for you.