Read the full transcript of this Fulham loft conversion and watch the full before and after video, at the end of the case study.
Please introduce yourself…
My name’s Tim Donovan and my property is in Gowan Avenue in Fulham in London.
Why did you want a loft conversion?
The work undertaken was primarily a loft conversion. I wanted to turn the house into a four bedroom, two bathroom property. That’s what the objective was really. We wanted the capital gain, as property prices in London are going up. We felt that we had a three bedroom house for quite a long time, we let it and yield (rent) nicely, but with prices as they are there is a big difference between a four bedroom and three bedroom property. We felt we wanted to capitalize on the value of the asset. That was the main thing and also to get a better yield from the rent that we get from a four bedroom, as opposed to a three bedroom house.
What did you most enjoy about the loft conversion process?
Seeing the property transform into a bigger place and seeing it upgraded because it wasn’t just a loft conversion. We also decided to do other things like refurbish the front of the house, repaint throughout and upgrade the bathroom. So it became more of an exciting project. The main objective was to see the loft completed and I saw that. I’m very pleased with that quality really good.
How involved were you in the design process?
We were pretty interactive in the whole process but we didn’t drive the design because I think it was fairly straight forward as to what needed to happen.
How did the job go?
Because I was removed so I wasn’t a normal day to day project manager, I didn’t have the project manager in place. I didn’t think it was that necessary because it wasn’t a complex job. As such, obviously it needed managing, but I felt comfortable that they would keep me informed on a regular basis. They handled a lot. Little problems that do occur at the start of a project (namely with neighbors and making sure everyone’s happy on either side), they managed that really well, resolving issues very very quickly. I was very impressed with that. And so the working relationship was a very good one.
What do you like most about the loft conversion?
It’s not so much about any specific area, but it’s just that extra space and also what’s been really good is creating more cupboard space in the loft and that was quite creatively done. The storage doesn’t impact on the bedroom space, it just capitalized on the otherwise dead space, using space under the eaves giving lots cupboards which were built and integrated into the whole thing. Which was brilliant because that was extra space, so extra storage space, extra wardrobe space without diminishing the bedroom space and the old suite. Yeah fantastic. So we know we’ve got a lot of value for the house. So it’s a job well done.
How has the loft conversion improved your life?
Well, it hasn’t improved my life personally as we don’t live there. But I think it’s definitely improved the quality of life for our tenant. And I think it will do us well in the future when we come to re-letting it. So as a quality space, for our potential new tenants, we’re really happy that we’ve got a good top of the market property, that will hold its value and also hopefully become very lettable. Which is the whole objective of having that asset in.
What reservations did you have about using City Lofts?
I didn’t have any reservations to be honest. They were recommended to us actually by the tenant because she’s in the property world. At the end of the day, we felt well on three things. One, they were competitive and two, the tenant who’s in the business knew of City Lofts. Then three, the how can I say? We got a feeling when I met them- Deepak and Kuly. I was very impressed, I just felt comfortable that they’d get the job done. They were professional outfits you would say and I felt comfortable they could do the job and I could work with them.
What were the prevailing attributes of City Lofts?
They were very good at keeping me informed of progress, keeping me informed of any issues that may come up and needed to be resolved before the next step could take place. Overall, just overall integrity, it was very good, very good indeed I have to say. That’s the difference between a very successful builder and an okay builder. It’s their quality of project management and project communication. Being informed about things, second to none. Really happy about that.
Would you recommend City Lofts London?
Their professionalism was very good and I would recommend it if anyone needed their loft conversion done, in the city, or in London. I would definitely recommend these guys. Well, I’ve had a lot of experience with buildings and renovators through many years and having properties and there’s a big difference between a professional firm and unprofessional firm. The main thing is keeping agreements and if there is slippage, you’re told well in advance what might occur.
What made you choose City Lofts, knowing that they are not the cheapest?
That’s a really good question. As an investor, a guy who wants to protect his assets. I’m not really interested in getting the absolute best price. It’s important, but what’s more important is choosing the right firm and the right people, that I can work with. At the end of the day, I’m a businessman, I know that we’ve made a margin. What’s important to me is having the job professionally done at high quality. To protect my assets, that’s really really important. So, it’s not a prerequisite they have to be the cheapest. So I’m prepared to pay premium and it’s the same when I have my tenancies. I’m not looking for top market, I’m not looking for the best price that I can get, I’m looking to avoid cowboys. If you’ve got a quality property you can get quality tenants and they don’t have to pay top dollar to be in the building and its the same with people I use, the builders and people I work with. They have to be the best, not cheapest. In passing, people have asked me how it’s gone and I’ve said “yeah fantastic” I mean I had a great flow and it worked for me and we got on.