Your Guide To Refurbishing a Property4 min read

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Daniel Tannenbaum

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There are a number of ways in which properties of every shape and size can be refurbished. There are also many reasons why homeowners and landlords seek to improve and renovate their properties. Improving the resale value and rental yield, increasing the amount of floor space and making the property that bit more comfortable are just some of the most popular reasons for undertaking sometimes extensive refurbishments.

Some methods of property refurbishment are costlier than others but with certain types of renovations such as basements able to add as much as 30% to the value of a property, it is little wonder that more people than ever are undertaking all nature of works.

As with any works on a property though, there are many considerations that should be taken into account and this includes the price of the work, whether or not any specific permissions are required from the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and the impact of the works as a whole upon the property in question. Additionally, some conversions need additional testing. This includes the likes of a property which is converted into any number of individual flats or apartments which would all need to undergo sound testing.

Two of the most popular refurbishments are loft conversions and extensions and conservatories, both of which have various merits and considerations.

Loft Conversions and Extensions

With property prices in the UK, particularly in the larger towns and cities generally rising, moving up the property ladder is increasingly difficult for many homeowners. Rather than giving up on the dream of being able to own a larger property, many property owners are turning to loft conversions and extensions. These types of work add a new storey to the property in question and maximise all of the space available.

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Loft conversions come in many different sizes and styles, including smaller dormers and much larger mansard conversions. There are also various types of loft conversions for specific properties such as Victorian style houses, bungalows and terraced properties which should be considered if your property qualifies.

Loft conversions and extensions tend to start from around £20,000 in price for a smaller project and can be as much as £70,000 or more, depending on the size and nature of the proposed works. There are also additional costs to consider in some cases. For example, if the renovation is in order to be able to rent out a portion of the property in question, then the property owner must ensure that the property undergoes sound insulation testing. This is a series of tests that measure the passage of sound between sections of the property. All newly converted rental properties must adhere to Building Regulations on sound to ensure any tenants’ living areas meet the minimum standards.

Planning Permission may also be needed depending on the exact nature and design of the conversion or extension in question. Whilst many of these project fall under Permitted Developments, meaning permission is automatically granted by the LPA, larger conversions such as mansards, where the structure and shape of the roof is altered will require their own permissions.

It is important to have the necessary permissions granted prior to the works being undertaken as should they not be accepted and granted, there may be hefty fines and penalties imposed which include having to demolish the structure in question.

Conservatories

Conservatories have remained a popular option for improving properties in many respects. They increase the amount of natural light and allow for increased amounts of floorspace. Moreover, whilst loft conversions start in price from around £20,000, conservatories start from significantly less. Around £6,000 is the starting price, whilst able to increase the value of a property by as much as 5%.

For example, a property worth £500,000 that adds a conservatory can reasonably see its value increase by as much as £25,000, providing a return on investment of over £15,000.

Conservatories often do not require any additional planning permission as they fall under Permitted Developments. However, depending on the property in question and the local planning laws, there may need to be some application made. For example, if the conservatory increases the floorspace in the property by more than 50%, Planning Permission must be sought.

Conservatories, in comparison to loft conversions can also be completed in a much quicker timeframe. Loft extensions and conversions can reasonably take more than 6 weeks to complete whilst a standard conservatory can be built and finished in as little as 3 weeks.

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