Most importantly, you’ll need to decide what kind of loft conversion you really need. Do you need extra space added to the room? Then you’ll likely need to consider an extension, such as a mansard or hip to gable addition. However, if your loft already has space, a simple room-in-loft conversion might be the one. This type of conversion is by far the cheapest option, so something to consider if your budget is limited.
There’s a general rule as to whether you have enough useable space to convert without an extension.
- If your loft is 2.2m or more from the base to the highest point in the centre
- Your walls slope at a 30 degree angle or more
- Your floor area is 5.5m side to side and 7.5m front to back, or more
If you’ve ticked all these boxes then, congratulations, you’ve passed! However, every loft is different. If you’re unsure about yours, this is something your architect can advise you on.
Hire an architect
Depending on the size of your project, an architect can make all the difference when it comes to getting the most out of your budget. Though many are put off by the extra expense, the benefits an architect brings to a project make them a great investment.
Benefits of using an architect
- They can help you set a realistic budget
- Maximise the amount of space you get from the project
- Ensure your designs are tailored to you
- Find the best planning route and manage the process
- Guide you through all the necessary steps before construction begins
An architect has the relevant knowledge to advise you on your proposed budget and help you make sure you stick to this throughout your project. This helps eliminate those oh so scary mid-build financial surprises. Architects are able to do so because of their wealth of past experience in safeguarding budgets, by becoming knowledgeable on cost-effective design ideas.
Not only this, but they can make sure that you attain maximum value from your venture. While it’s always beneficial to improve your home for your own sake, how your project will impact the price of your property will also be a factor. Architects will be able to advise on what additions will provide the best return on your investment, as well as providing stylistic touches that the property market is sure to appreciate.
Could you project manage?
Many people admit their main regret when converting their loft is that they didn’t project manage it themselves. However, as you may have guessed, this endeavour is not for the faint-hearted.
While self-managing could very well save you money in the long run, you have to feel confident in your abilities in order to avoid far-reaching errors. The position entails being clear on what needs to be done, managing deliveries, nailing down timings, liaising with contractors, ensuring you’re sticking to a budget... the list goes on. In order to do the job justice, you have to have faith in your skillset, with PLENTY of time on your hands.
However, if you are up to the task, you might be able to shave thousands off your construction costs.
Learn more about project management here.
DIY is a great way to save money on your loft conversion. While it is obvious that, unless you’re Bob the Builder himself, you cannot undertake everything as DIY, you can give the smaller jobs ago.
Here are a couple of tasks that are within most people’s abilities and will save on handyman costs:
- Painting walls
- Laying floor tiles
- Installing shelves and curtain rails
- Putting up wallpaper
Learn more: what DIY tasks most homeowners should avoid.
Be smart with your finance
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be sat on a massive pot of savings in order to convert your loft. There are a number of ways to finance your project and each has its own pros and cons.
For those who have lived in their property for some time, you might find the most cost-effective way to fund your build is by releasing existing equity in your home. This helps negate the troubles you might face by relying on a simple savings account, as costs are liable to jump up and down, and you never want to be caught short of cash during crucial moments. This option can be even more beneficial if you live in an area that has seen prices increase in recent years.
Of course, whether you opt for a loan or remortgage, there are risks involved and you will need to make sure you have the means to pay back these loans.
To understand your finance options, it’s always worthwhile to talk to a lender who has specialist knowledge of the property sector. At Resi Finance, our brokers are unique in that they bring together residential, architectural, and financial expertise.
See how much you could borrow by trying out our free calculator.