Changing spaces: is now the time to move house?
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Making changes to your home is an expensive business - but it can also be life-enhancing.
Here are a handful of options for improving your life by inevesting in a new property or tailoring your existing home to suit your changing needs.
Perhaps the most obvious and major property-based life change is moving from one home to another. It needn’t be stressful, lengthy or expensive, if you pick a reliable professional estate agency service and plan a little ahead. You may want to start completely afresh in a different area, for work or family purposes, or just live in a home that is bigger, smaller or better for your particular circumstances. We can tend to get stuck in one property, because moving seems like such a huge change but many older people find they are happier once they move to a bungalow, for example. And couples with flexible careers often like to move to be nearer their parents or siblings, after they become parents and have young children of their own.
Whether you want to move or simply enjoy improved surroundings to live in, investing in a new kitchen or luxury bathroom is a treat for you that will add value to your home, should you wish to sell in future. If you have spare cash, creating a high quality environment where you can while away your free time is not likely to ever be a waste of effort or money. There are an array of services you can use from main chain kitchen and bathroom retailers to independent bespoke designers and fitters, so how you go about upgrading your home can be adapted to suit your budget and what ideas you have in mind. Even a change as effortless as decorating can make a place feel fresher and positively affect your life.
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Bigger isn’t always better and sometimes downsizing is the answer to an easier, more manageable clutter-free life. It doesn’t necessarily mean moving to a cheaper place either: you might want the same standard (or an improved standard of living) in a nicer area or in a more high-end property, but want less bedrooms or freedom from worrying about cleaning and maintaining a larger home or neglecting the garden. Of course, downsizing could help to resolve any financial issues or give you more money to play with. Some homeowners like to use capital from the sale of a bigger home to splash out on life-enriching travel experiences, take up new interests or hobbies, give gifts to their family – or to have peace of mind, knowing they have a rosier bank balance without the worry of rattling around a huge house or wondering what to do with empty bedrooms.
As long as planning permission doesn’t give you nightmares, there are many benefits to making your property larger – with an extension, such as adding on a conservatory overlooking the garden, building extra bedrooms to accommodate a growing family or ageing relatives or converting an unused loft into a spacious new office. If you can put up with the hassle of the admin at the start of the planning and design process, disruption of developments being underway and having builders in your house while you live there, this can be an ideal way to expand your living space without the cost, upheaval and practical aspects of moving.
We often hear garden experts speaking about making your outdoor space like an extra room. With so many quirky, alluring outbuildings – such as cosy purpose-built sheds, brick dens for children or adults to use as chill-out space and trendy diverse offices – you’re spoilt for choice. Along with fire pits, water features and outdoor-proof comfortable sofas/soft furnishings, turning your garden into an additional place you can relax, work or socialise in has never been more fun or affordable.
Get a lodger
When family circumstances change due to a separation, bereavement or children having grown up and moved out, you might consider renting out a spare bedroom or two. There are many reasons why homeowners get a lodger, including for company, help with sharing housework or bills and to contribute to the mortgage and other living expenses. It is wise to take appropriate safety measures. Citizens Advice recommend looking online/in newspapers for people already searching for accommodation, asking friends if they know anyone who would be interested and taking up references before signing any agreement.
More information about this can be found at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.