Almost everyone dreams of living in a bigger home. Maybe you’ve got a new baby on the way and want to make sure there’s enough space for everyone, perhaps you’ll be looking after an elderly parent, or it could just be that you want a home office – somewhere peaceful and quiet away from the bustle of household life.
Whatever your reason for looking into a loft conversion, two big questions will be on your mind initially – 1) How much will a loft conversion cost? and 2) How will I be able to afford the cost of a loft conversion.
Of course, the cost of an loft or attic conversion can vary greatly depending on the size of your property and what you want to do.
So in this guide, we’ll only be able to provide you with a rough idea of how much you’ll end up paying for a loft conversion, but it should help you with the early stages of financial planning.
How much will a standard loft conversion cost in London?
If you want to go for a standard loft conversion to add a couple of extra bedrooms and a bathroom, with no fancy extras then you can expect to pay around £13,000 for the smallest attics, rising to around £30,000 for the biggest attic conversions. If you live in outer London, you may find that your loft conversion costs slightly less than this.
What’s the cost of a dormer loft conversion in London?
Because there are different kinds of dormer conversions available, it’s harder to give an accurate price range for this kind of project.
The cost of a single dormer loft conversion can be as little as £19,000. However, if you want a more ambitious dormer conversion, then the cost can quickly rise to £30,000 or more.
If you’re planning a substantial dormer loft conversion project, you may want to research the potential cost throughly before you get too far down the planning stage. The last thing you want to do is spend time designing your perfect dormer loft and then discovering that you can’t actually afford to have it built.
How much will a bespoke loft conversion cost?
If you really want to push the boat out and get a unique loft conversion, then you’re looking at a much higher price.
This kind of attic conversion costs a huge amount more than a standard loft.
With an “off the peg” loft conversion, costs are kept lower because you’re using standard building materials on a standard plan which will be adjusted only slightly to fit the specifics of your house.
If you decide to plan something totally unique, you can expect your loft conversion to cost £40,000 or more.
Because this kind of project involves employing an architect, many people find the cost of a bespoke loft conversion is out of their price range.
However, if you do have the money available a unique loft conversion can turn your house into a one-of-a-kind dream home.
How can I meet the cost of a loft conversion?
If you’ve been put off by the potential cost of a loft conversion, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to raise the funds to pay for the work.
Let’s look at your options and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Saving up to pay for the cost of a loft conversion
This is probably the best way to pay for your loft conversion – if you save up to meet the cost of converting your loft, then you won’t have to worry about debt or anything like that.
Of course, the biggest drawback here is the amount of time it will take you to save £13,000 or more.
If you don’t have much disposable income, saving up to pay for the cost of a loft conversion isn’t going to be a realistic prospect.
Even if you are able to put some money away each month, you may want to get your conversion built sooner rather than later. Again, this means saving isn’t the right option for you.
Using savings to pay for the cost of an attic conversion is best if you: a) Have substantial existing savings b) can save a large amount each month or c) Expect a lump sum such as a bonus or pension drawdown in the near future.
Borrowing to pay for the cost of a loft conversion
For most people, a loft conversion will involve a loan of some kind. Covering the cost of a loft conversion in this manner is sensible, but it does have some risks attached.
And remember: If you take out a loan with interest then the final cost of your loft conversion will be higher than if you pay up front in cash. This is especially important to factor in if you view your loft conversion as an investment which you expect to provide a return upon the sale of your house.
Let’s look at your options.
Getting a secured loan
If you’re planning on a loft conversion, you must already own at least one property and it may be possible for you to borrow against the value of a property you own in order to cover the cost of your attic conversion.
In order for this to happen, you must have enough equity available in the property you wish to borrow against to cover the cost of the attic conversion.
You’ll also need to find a company willing to lend to you.
If you’ve owned your property for a while, and have paid back a fair chunk of your mortgage and have a good credit record then you have a real chance of funding your loft conversion in this way.
The chances are you’ll want to opt for a remortgage rather than a second charge, as a remortgage is likely to cost you less.
Remember though, if you borrow more, your monthly mortgage payments will go up, and if for whatever reason you can’t meet these increased payments in the future, your home will be at risk.
Getting an unsecured loan
If you’re unwilling or unable to cover the cost of a loft conversion by remortgaging, then you can always consider an unsecured loan.
The biggest advantage of this option is that you don’t have to put up any property as security, meaning that if things go wrong you won’t run the risk of losing your home.
However, the downside is that unsecured loans have higher interest rates than secured loans, meaning that you’ll pay back more in the long run.
If you’re planning a substantial loft conversion project, you may also struggle to find an unsecured loan big enough to cover your costs.
Borrowing from friends or family
If possible, you might want to pay for the cost of covering your loft by dipping into the bank of mum and dad.
If you can get an interest-free loan to pay for your attic conversion, then you won’t have to worry about interest repayments adding to the cost of the project.
You could even pay back the loan if and when you decide to sell the property – remember a loft conversion will add to the value of your house.
Of course, the biggest downside of borrowing from friends or family is the potential that you’ll fallout over the debt.
Is the cost of a loft conversion worth it?
In short, yes it is. If the prime reason for your loft conversion is adding extra space to your home and you’re certain you’ll be able to afford the project, then you should push ahead.
If you’re using a loft conversion as a form of property speculation, then you’ll need to be more careful and make sure your figures added up.
But the fact remains, a loft conversion can breathe new life into your home and make it a place every member of your family loves.