When Andre, 42, a property manager originally from Brazil, and his wife Alfke, a financier from Germany, bought their two-bedroom apartment in Balham eight years ago, they were aware from the outset that they could gain additional living space from their loft. Andre explains: "When we first bought the property, I used to come up to the loft space and think of its future potential. We investigated the costs and logistics of completing a loft conversion, but for one reason or another it took several years for us to instruct a specialist. The property was a dump – to be frank – and when we first bought it we spent £60,000 on cosmetic work, but that did little to make better use of the space. With a young son we were bursting out of the property and were faced with moving or improving. However, because house prices had rocketed in the area, we couldn’t afford to upsize. We’d completely fallen in love with Balham and moving away from the area was out of the question. After looking into upsizing, we found that converting our loft was a much more practical solution, as well as being less of a financial burden – it really was a no-brainer. Essentially we moved up, instead of out!”
He spotted several Landmark Lofts advertisements around the local area and decided to arrange a preliminary meeting: “I knew that they did a lot of work in the area, so they seemed the obvious choice,” Andre says. “I had a meeting with James Gold, the founder, and his expertise really came to the fore – he helped us to realise the full potential of the loft space and I couldn’t believe that we hadn’t pursued this course of action sooner."
“We were given a quote of £60,000 for the conversion, which would give us two extra bedrooms, a large bathroom and a terrace, as well as all the interiors. The plans were all drawn up, and we were ready to go.”
Despite having ground floor neighbours, Andre found that any inconveniences to them were minimised and that constant communication helped maintain good neighbourly relations: “We remained in our property during the course of the six month construction period, but being at work during the day meant we had respite from the building work. Having said that, they were brilliant at containing the inevitable disruption – both to us and our neighbours. The team were great at making us feel comfortable – they were extremely professional, and our project manager kept us in the loop with each stage of the build.”
Now, with a property that has doubled in size, the loft space has been transformed into a multifunctional living space. Andre says, “We’re really happy with the conversion, and the extra space has improved our lifestyle hugely. We no longer feel like we’re living in a starter home, but we’ve finally secured our forever family home – without even hiring a removal van.”
Following a recent valuation of the property, Andre has also found that since completing the loft conversion, the value of this home has increased by 100%. He says, “In isolation, investing £120,000 might seem like a significant outlay, but given that we bought our property for £400,000 and it’s now worth £800,000, we’ve doubled the value of the property by reinvesting just over a quarter of its original value. It’s incredible that such a simple process can make such a significant difference – I would recommend it to anyone who has the space,” he says. “In fact, our neighbours were so impressed with what we’d had done, that they copied our plans exactly – using Landmark, of course!"
Landmark Lofts is part of the Landmark Group - the only group in London specialising in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments to include a Chartered Building Company (CIOB), Chartered Architectural Practice (RIBA) and to be regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Landmark Group specialises in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments.