Home Extensions and conversions – Homeowners expanding outwards and upwards

If you’re currently trying to sell your home then you’ll know it’s a pretty desperate situation at present. Yet more figures reveal house prices falling ever-so slightly and the number of property transactions at record lows.

No wonder then that many homeowners are re-appraising the present homes with a view to increasing the living space without having to move.

What are your options?

One of the most popular and cost effective is a garage conversion, especially where the garage is already integral to your home. Many properties with double garages take advantage of converting one and leaving one – the best of both worlds. A garage conversion can incorporate a new dining area, an extension to the kitchen, the creation of a utility room, a new playroom, a home cinema, a cosy snug or even en-suite guest accommodation.

It may be possible to keep the existing garage door and partition a small width off for garden storage – remember, anything presently in your garage like bikes and lawn mowers (not to mention the accumulation of ‘junk’) will have to go somewhere once work starts and it probably won’t be going back once the conversions complete.

Next in the popularity stakes is a loft conversion. Whilst some properties may not be suitable (you can quickly tell by if there’s enough room to stand up in the loft space), and modern rafter arrangements might make the task a little more complicated (and costly) but most can be overcome.

Suitable for a variety of uses, by adding dormer windows, you can really open the space out into an imaginative and desirable room.

Basement conversions (if your home has one) can be technically demanding in the initial stages, making sure the room is watertight but once the preparation is completed, then you’ve another very useful room.

With the relaxing of certain planning rules, more and more homeowners are turning to a full newly built extension. Either single or double storey (depending on your needs, budget and planning restrictions), an extension gives you the opportunity to incorporate several features into the one build – e.g a dining and utility area etc. Because you’re starting with a blank canvas so to speak, you can plan the space to suit you. Bare in mind if you come to sell the property later, does the extensions use still offer a new buyer something.

And finally, some ‘extensions’ you may not have considered.

Conservatories – again with the new less restrictive planning rules in force, it’s possible to add a sizeable conservatory to your home – space that can be used for entertaining or the more functional.

Porches – restrictive in size but just having a solid, weather-proof extended entrance means you could possibly empty your present hallway of boots, shoes and coats, making the entrance to your home seem more spacious, and certainly warmer. There are some fantastic upvc porch designs available.

Before carrying out any of the options above, particularly where garages are being converted or you’re thinking of loosing a bedroom in favour of a larger bathroom / access to a loft conversion, it’s worth checking with a local estate agent.
They’ll be able to advise you on what options are a good investment and will add to your homes value and appeal as well as the alterations that will cost you value and a potential buyer in the future.

*This article first appeared in our 14th February 2011 homeowner newsletter – with a weekly subscription of nearly 300,000 readers – click here to read it in full.

photo credit: d sharon pruitt

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