A Bigger Home is the most common reason for moving. If you are adding numbers to your home (moving in together, adding children, pets or relatives) moving to a larger home at the same time makes sense – most of the time.
Personal space is key to living stress free. While we cohabit out of choice, we also need a place we can go to be on our own (a bedroom, kitchen, lounge or study). Just as valuable is having a large enough home to have a personal zone around you in the main rooms – being on top of each other all the time gets uncomfortable! Think beyond what you ‘need’ and instead work out what would be comfortable. Having a bedroom for each child or a spare room for storage or an office can make the biggest difference to a home: enhancing quality of life.
Storage is just as valuable space as living zones. Work space or hobby space (offices, studies, dens) are becoming more of a ‘must have.’ So don’t feel you are being extravagant by wanting these for yourself – it is your home. Perhaps a personal desk area or a converted garage or shed for privacy. Kids love a corner to themselves – can you find somewhere that gives them a playroom or their own TV ‘corner.’ Friends and relatives like their own space just as much as you. Perhaps a whole room is too much of an ask – well just a chair, table or room that’s “Yours” is invaluable in this case – will you have room for them?
Always go for as much space as you can afford in the area you adore, just stop short of having rooms that will never be occupied. Do you need a guest bedroom when a sofa-bed can accommodate occasional visitors. Will you really use a formal dining room?
Having room to grow a family, room to add necessities (storage space and work space) or luxuries (a study, home cinema space, games room) will allow you to enjoy your home for longer. Best of all, having an extra room in a new home gives the flexibility to adapt it to your lifestyle changes: perhaps for a future bedroom, work room or guest room. Even if you don’t fill the room with an extra child, a working zone or relatives you can leave it as a junk (ahem.. storage!) room. You could convert into a games room, hobby room or a second tv room, maybe even a reading room/ library.
Bigger properties don’t mean just adding more rooms. It’s more common now to move to another property that is bigger in square feet, yet has the same number of bedrooms and living areas. If the starter home you have has enough bedrooms for you and your kids, or the bachelor pad you own accommodates you and your stuff, well you may just want the luxury of more space in each zone… a larger lounge for more seats, a bigger bedroom with a walk-in-wardrobe, a kitchen than you can dine in and have a tv area to watch the kids.
Going bigger is great, just remember the more space the more hassle! Costs go up considerably with have bigger spaces and more rooms – heating and lighting are the first bills that will inflate. Are you okay with having more space to clean and decorate, the extra furniture you’ll need to buy. Is that larger garden going to be easy to manage 0r will you have to hire a gardener, or begrudge spending all weekend maintaing the grass, hedged and plants?
Add up the extra costs and hassle (will you suddenly need a cleaner or gardener). Are you okay if the heating costs double? Will giving children extra space mean you spend less time ‘together’ interacting as a family? If you have an eat in kitchen, will the dining room become redundant?
A Smaller Home maybe just right if the kids have moved out, if a breakup or divorce is happening. Some of you will like to move to a more desireable area and are happy to sacrifice some living space to make that move cheaper. A growing trend is couples and families moving from suburban houses into centrally located flats, to bring back the atmosphere and convenience of central London living.
When thinking of moving to a home with less rooms, or smaller rooms, don’t think about what you have to give up – be honest about what you actually use right now and imagine what can be combined.
If you eat less than 3 dinners a week in your dining room, do you really need a room that is used only 2% of the time? If you live in a 3 bed £700,000 home that dining room could be worth £100,000. Are you getting that value out of the dining room, or would you happily live in a home where the dining area was integrated into the living room or kitchen and be closer to nice restaurants instead?
Is that big garden fully used? Or do you spend all your time cutting grass, pulling weeds and fixing fences (or pay someone to do this). Would you still have the same quality of life for half the size of garden, or even a terrace, if all you do is Barbeque and entertain? The upside is you could downsize and put money in your pocket (perhaps for luxuries, or maybe you need to be more conservative with spending) or move to an area you prefer because it has more of what you “want” (see our Neighbourhood guides), living more of a fun life with less space.
Money is a common reason for moving to a smaller property. Property values have soared in the past decade. Many homes bought before 2005 have jumped to values the current owners wouldn’t afford now. This brings a windfall proposition. If you aren’t using all of your big house, the kids have moved out or you just fancy a change of scenery, selling and going smaller or further out of London could put some chunky tax-free money into your bank account…. thinking of that new car/ luxury holiday already?