There’s a property boom underway and prices in the West are nearing record highs. In Bristol, areas such as Clifton and Bedminster are experiencing significant levels of growth, in Gloucestershire prices are up to pre-crisis levels and parts of Somerset, including Chew Valley and Brendon Hills, now rank amongst the highest average house prices in the UK.
A healthy property market signals a return to prosperity, but if you’re in need of a little living extra space it could pose a dilemma: do you take the plunge and move house or does it make sense to invest in your property and upgrade your loft space?
Let’s weigh up the key pros and cons of both.
One of the main things to consider, as any homeowner will know, when considering a house move, is stress.
The excitement of having an offer accepted quickly turns flat when dealing with solicitors, estate agents, and removals companies. Each of these factors conspire to make moving house one of life’s most stressful events – that’s why only do it a maximum of 8 times on average!
With a loft conversion, although we can’t promise that it will be 100% stress free, experience tells me there are a few things that providers can do to ensure that it is minimal.
From design to build, ensuring that specialists work quickly, efficiently and professionally, to get the job done is of vital importance. Working with experts who take pride in their work offers considerable peace of mind and proves an effective stress buster.
Furthermore, it’s worth remembering that the bulk of a loft conversion can be done from the outside meaning that the disruption caused to your home life can be minimised. The same can definitely not be said for moving house!
Verdict: Loft conversion
Moving house takes a minimum of six weeks from the date of an offer being accepted.
Converting your loft can take this amount of time too. No matter what you’re having done there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a major structural upgrade which requires careful planning and sensitive execution.
One key advantage of a loft conversion though, however, is that unlike a house move it isn’t subject to change, if an experienced loft conversion specialist tells you it will be a six weeks, like clockwork that’s how long its going to take.
During a boom, homeowners have to weigh up the gains of selling their current home against the price paid for a new one. The spectre of negative equity looms large in this climate and don’t forget solicitor’s fees and stamp duty on top too!
While loft conversions carried out by expert providers do attract a premium, they offer excellent value for money. A loft conversion built to bespoke specifications and tailored to your needs offers enjoyment for the duration you are in the property and will also add significant value when you do finally come to sell it.
An added bonus of a loft conversion when compared to moving house is that every penny you spend, you reap back in terms of a tangible product, unlike that paid to an estate agent or to the taxman!
Verdict: Loft conversion
The Blank Canvas Factor
Moving house provides a blank canvas. This can be extremely liberating and it is a huge plus in favour of a house move if you’re looking to create a whole new personalised space.
However, you’d be surprised what you can do with a loft conversion these days, no matter how small your space. A Telegraph columnist commented that loft conversions “used to be predictable and boring, but now interior designers are using them to add light, drama and value to our homes.” And I couldn’t agree more, loft conversions became more common in the 70s and while the first generation left a lot to be desired, today they are often regarded as character centrepieces of the home.
Nevertheless, a house move just pips it on the volume of space it offers to work with!
Verdict: House move
Overall Winner: Loft conversion