CT Haringey Jan 2009

Community Times Haringey January 2009

Don't move - Improve

Moving house can be a costly and stressful experience without taking into account the current complications of attempting to sell a property and arrange a new mortgage.

If you're considering moving as you require more living space, or your current home isn't aesthetically pleasing or efficient, why not consider utilising the money you would have spent on surveys, legal/estate agent's fees, and stamp duty, to improve your current property and add to its value at the same time. If in 2 or 3 years when the property market has recovered you are still considering moving, these improvements will make your property more attractive to buyers.

Making the best of what you already have can cost effectively create a better usable space which is more suited to your lifestyle. One of the following options may provide the solution to your needs:

Extension:- With changes to planning permission now in effect, planning permission isn't required when building a single-storey extension of up to 4 metres deep on a detached house and a 3 metre deep two storey extension on any type of property, enough to add a decent-sized room per floor or create that open plan kitchen dining area that you've been dreaming of.

Loft Conversion:- This is the most cost effective way of adding more space as it utilises space that is already there. Once again no planning permission is required if you extend into the roof space of a terraced house by up to 40 cubic metres, and 50 cubic metres on any other type of property. This will provide sufficient space to create at least one bedroom and a bathroom in a normal house.

Basement Conversions:- If options to extend out or up have been exhausted, then a basement conversion makes good sense and offers a great way to add additional living space. Planning permission will be required. Sunken lightwells and glass flooring above can provide natural light to the basement.

Reconfiguring the Floorplan:- If you prefer not to extend your property, a remodelling of the existing floorplan can offer surprising results when rooms are repositioned and walls removed to allow for more open plan living and natural light to flood dark spaces.

Non Structural Work:- If you can't face any structural work a new kitchen or bathroom will add value to a property and enhance living conditions. Alternatively small changes to a room can achieve a lot, for instance a new fireplace and decorative scheme with additional storage to accommodate clutter can be all that a room needs.

To whatever level you take your improvements, always take time to plan carefully beforehand and get the design right. Consider your practical requirements, lighting and storage needs in great detail to make the improvements worthwhile.

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