Neglecting your loft is easily done, with many people simply using it as a storage spot for bits and bobs that don't have a home.
But, by converting this space into something more functional, you can increase the value of your home.
Home improvement is on the rise, with reports showing that homeowners are moving less and extending more.
This demand for extra room is imperative for families who can't seem to find suitable properties that meet their budgets, and converting existing areas into more functional ones is one of the best ways to unlock this extra space.
If you're looking to transform your loft from a place of cluttered chaos into a useable family-friendly area, you'll need to know about the loft conversion process, as well as any permissions you'll need to seek.
Will I need to get planning permission?
Most loft conversions won't require you to seek planning permission as they will fall under your permitted development rights.
Amendments to your home are considered to be within your development rights if they follow the limits outlined in Schedule 2, Part 1, Class B of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.
However, loft conversions that exceed the regulations laid out in the rights will need to apply for planning permission.
To submit this, you may have to pay an application fee which usually starts at around £206 and increases given the size of your property and scale of your development plans. Those living in listed buildings will be exempt from the fee.
Regardless of whether you need to seek planning permission or not, you'll need to adhere to building regulations. This is to ensure that any building work carried out is fit for purpose and safe for your household, as well as neighbouring properties.
How much will a loft conversion cost me?
The cost of your loft conversion will depend entirely on what you plan to turn the space into. For example, a room in room loft conversion is the simplest conversion idea and costs the least, starting at around £15,000, while any projects which involve changing the roof structure can cost you upwards of £40,000.
It's always best to shop around and get a couple of quotes for your loft conversion before settling with one. During your search, you should find out about the materials each contractor plans to use, and get a true feel of the company before you trust them with your home, to ensure the job is done properly. When done right, you can get a great deal on your conversion which will boost the return on investment you get in the long run.
Which type of loft conversions will add the most value to my home?
Although you'll want your new loft space to be useable, it's worth thinking about which elements you could incorporate that will get you a nice return on investment when it comes to selling your property.
A double bedroom with an en-suite
Transforming your loft into another sleeping space with bathroom facilities can add over 20% to your property's value.
This type of conversion can cost around £35,000–£45,000 but given the possible return on investment it is one of the most lucrative of them all. Plus, it'll be a great, functional space if you or the kids regularly have guests over.
Our homes are our sanctuaries, but if you can't seem to find a moment's peace and quiet to get on with your work, transforming your loft into an office is bound to be useful for you and it will go down a storm with potential buyers.
The aspect of privacy is a big one with many homeowners and having a ready-made space that they can knuckle down and concentrate in is sure to give your property price a boost.
If you're tired of seeing trails of the kids' toys laid out on your lounge floor, you can tackle this problem by providing them with a brand-new playroom in the loft.
This is certain to be a fun change for them, especially if they feel it's their own little hideaway. Just make sure that you supervise any young children around the staircase that joins your loft and upper floor.
Whatever you choose to convert your loft into, it's important that you also think about what you'll need to make it functional.
Natural light is key to creating a liveable and useable space as you'll need to be able to see what you're doing, so consider adding some roof windows. These will sit on the existing slope of your roof, so they don't require planning permission, and they can help to brighten up your new room so you can show it off in all of its glory.
Converting your loft into a functional space can improve home life for you and your family. But, with certain conversions adding more value to your property than others, it's important that you give it some proper thought if you're looking to boost your return on investment.
*David Knight is digital manager at Roof Windows 4 You