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Converting The Basement
Author:
Tom Norris

Basement conversions simply terrify me. The idea that you can start digging all that dirt out from underneath your house whilst keeping it standing just doesn’t seem right. Fact is you can and some of the basement conversions that I have seen are simply outstanding living spaces.

Going down is the most expensive method of extending your property and I would not advise anybody to go for a basement conversion unless they had already exhausted other possibilities or had compelling reasons to start digging.

Unless your property happens to be in an exceptionally good area you will most certainly lose money on a basement conversion. By that I mean that you will spend more money than you will ad value so you really need to do the numbers before you call the architect.

That said, a basement conversion can transform a property, especially if you have a really clever architect that truly knows how to use light and space to maximum effect.



What Makes A Great Basement Conversion?

I would imagine that the most important decision that you’re going to make here is in your choice of architect and builder as a basement conversion is far more difficult than adding on an extension or converting the loft. In other words a lot can go wrong and the best advice is to go with a specialist basement conversion company.

You will also need to be a bit more choosier when it comes to finding the right architect as you need to ensure that you are not his or her first basement conversion project.

You also need to bear in mind that your builders will be digging out and around the footings of your property, including structural load bearing walls and party walls so you really do need to have a competent building company with lots of pedigree and insurance to boot.

When it comes to creating a great looking basement it will be determined by the style of the property, the amount of space you have available, the architect you engage and of course the budget employed.

If you’re currently considering adding a basement extension there are a number of further considerations below that you should pay attention to and in doing so you will be well rewarded.

If you’re currently considering adding a basement extension there are a number of further considerations below that you should pay attention to and in doing so you will be well rewarded.
 



Are You Going To Move House In The Next 5 Years?

Basement Extension Photos 2It’s an absolute fact that people spend many thousands of pounds adding an extension and doing up their property only to sell within a couple of years. Now the question is, if you knew you were going to move house would you really have:

Well unless you happen to be an architect or interior designer with a finger placed firmly on the current interior design trends then it’s most likely that you will have:

The truth is that many home-owners browse a few websites, read a few magazines and before you know it are off giving instructions to the builders without any real idea if the proposed works will:

Get it into your head that not all home improvements add value. Also, get it into your head that should you decide to spend 100 per metre on limestone flooring or 15k on a kitchen you could have wasted up to 75% of your money as you may not get it back when you sell.

Basement Extension Photos 3Different styles of properties require different designs when it comes to extending or refurbishing. Just because your large corner settee looked great in your open plan loft apartment doesn’t mean it will look well in a 3 bedroom 1930’s semi.

In effect, what I’m saying is that any kind of major refurbishment, layout change or addition should be carried out with the following considerations.

Budget - Am I refurbishing to sell or to keep? It’s an important consideration here as many home-owners waste many thousands of pounds on home improvements that they can’t possibly recoup when they sell.

Let’s say you had 2 properties. Property 1 had a value of 125k and property 2 had a value of 250k. Now would you really spend the same amount on a new kitchen or double glazing on each property? The answer is that you can but you would be losing money as the value and the location of the property needs to be considered when it comes to major refurbishments.

Design - Would you really add the same style of extension to 2 different properties? Just because you added an extension to one property and it worked really well, don’t go thinking that you will automatically get the same result on another property.

Each property is unique when it comes to designing the perfect home and as such deserves unique consideration rather than a standard bolt-on extension approach.

Interior Design - When it comes to creating new layouts and choosing finishing materials it’s absolutely essential that you do the research to establish what works best with your particular style of property. Bear in mind that at this point you should know if you’re refurbishing to sell within a few years or refurbishing to suit your own taste regardless.

We always advise getting in some specialist help to aid your decision making on whether a loft conversion is worth the effort, whether you should add a conservatory or in fact carry out any major improvements. Talk to your local estate agents if you want to find out if your proposal will add value, make the property more sellable or simply be a waste of money.

Architect - When it comes to layout changes, major refurbishments, extensions or conversions you should always engage the services of a local architect as the first step rather than calling the builders. In many cases builders tend to adopt particular styles and if given an opportunity they will be more than happy to steer you into a design and style that they like rather than a design that works best for your property and circumstance.

You also need to bear in mind that regardless of whether or not your proposals fall within permitted development you will still need drawings for building regulations approval and by drawings I mean technical drawings with sound arguments and calculations for energy saving especially if your design has a lot of glass.

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