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In an ideal world there would be no such thing as compromise – houses would perfectly match our long list of criteria, and fall within our budget. Sadly, the reality is a little more complex.
Even within the same household, desires are often mismatched; there may be a good quality pint of IPA within walking distance, but there is no space to entertain friends. Trivial as these things may seem, where we live is an extension of who we are. Of course we adapt and change to our new home over time, but we are always seeking the ideal. Some of us are better at focusing on the practicalities, but moving house has a certain element of fantasy in it; we have to imagine our lives in the space, or how do we choose a new home?
Knowing where you are prepared to compromise before you begin viewing properties will make the process that little bit less stressful. Here are some things we suggest you consider:
Take a moment to think about how important location actually is to you. Be realistic about the distance you are prepared to travel each day – buying a beautiful home but having no time to enjoy it is most definitely not the aim. Are you someone who needs to be near some green space? Do you crave being on the trendiest high street in the area? If location is non-negotiable, be prepared for the likely trade-off when it comes to the property, smaller rooms or no study for example.
Evaluate the local schools provision. If you are relocating children who are already in a school, this is likely to be top of your list, but if children are in your future it is still worth looking into. For example, a couple buying a two-bedroom house has the space to grow as a family – it would be sad to find you need to move for a better school.
Knowing what the local crime levels is really important, make sure you do your research. Ask your Estate Agent for their comments, they can share their local knowledge with you.
British summertime is somewhat illusive – so ask yourself how much you would use the outside space if you had it. If it is for sunbathing, it can be reprioritised.
If the garden is smaller than you hoped, be creative. Window boxes and planters will add a splash of colour and you can experiment with pots in different shapes, sizes and materials. Consider adding a seat and trailing some plants over it to give a secret garden feel.
You can always rent an allotment. It isn’t private, but the dedicated outside space will give you a sense of purpose and you’re likely to be very productive when you visit; think the good life! If you find you don’t go, just stop renting it.
If you have a small child, a toddler and a boot full of shopping looping the block in search of a parking space can be a real headache. If parking is non-negotiable it is important you know this from the beginning because there are plenty of places where a silent war over parking goes on daily.
Similarly, the garage is often an issue. Ask yourselves whether you need the garage to park the car or whether you just want to fill it with junk. Maybe you see it as extra living space? Knowing why you want the garage is the first port of call.
A property that is finished to a high standard will obviously be reflected in the price. However, buying a fixer-upper gives you the freedom and flexibility to create your dream home. Depending on the scale of the work to be done, investigate and understand the costs involved – if the price is still over budget go back to list and be a little more ruthless.
How much of the renovation work could you do yourself? Cosmetics including tiling and landscaping will be projects that you could manage, but never bite off more than you can chew. Be realistic or the stress will outweigh any potential benefits.
Statistics indicate that bedroom requirements are typically set in stone; if you need three bedrooms to accommodate your family, then you need three bedrooms. Maybe you hope to need the extra rooms one day? Perhaps in truth you wouldn’t want to raise a family in this home, but love the idea of having a guest bedroom? Will you use the extra room as a dressing room, a dumping ground or a study? These are all questions you should ask yourself before claiming the number of bedrooms is unchangeable.
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