Should you ‘move or improve' if you are moving due to a growing family?

publication date: May 17, 2011
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Should you ‘move or improve' if you are moving due to a growing family?

Moving home when you have a growing family to feed, clothe and support can be an expensive task in this day and age. Just buying a property for £250,001 will cost you nearly £7,500 in Stamp Duty alone. So if you need more space, before you up sticks and move somewhere else and if you like the location where you are living, it's worth considering making improvements to your home rather than moving!

For example, if it's an extra bathroom you are after, may be you can take some room from a large-ish bedroom or put a sink or two in the current bedrooms and separate the bath from the shower so several people can use it at the same time (if that works for you of course!). For several thousand pounds you could easily fund an extra shower and loo and it will probably add value to your home too, improving the equity levels and in some cases this may mean getting a better mortgage deal in the future!

Extra rooms can be added and put in the garden or over a garage, or at the back of your home if you have the space for less than £10,000 so it's worth considering and chatting through these options prior to plunging you and your busy family into a white water rapids rise of selling your own home and buying another!

If you do decide to move, you need to try and make the home as easy to clear up and clean as possible. You may only get 30 minutes notice for a viewing, or if you are all out during the day and the agent wants to show someone round, the place needs to be really tidy every day.

One of the first things to do is listen to the wise words of Ann Maurice, Channel 5's fantastic House Doctor: Declutter! As a family you are bound to have accumulated lots of stuff from toys to games, DVDs and CDs. It's time now to box up what's not required to show off the real space available in your home. Remember, most people can't see past your home exactly as it is, so you have to make the effort to do it for them.

One thing which happens when you have a busy family lifestyle is rooms tend to lose their purpose. Dining rooms double up as offices, hallways a space for the bike, the spare room becomes a ‘dumping ground'. That's fair enough when you are living there, but if you are selling, every room must have a clear purpose. Box rooms need to be offices that can ideally be turned into a bedroom in an instant if required. If rooms are big enough to have a double bed, make sure they do, or prospective home hunters will just believe that the room can only fit a single bed.

The last thing any kid or teenager wants to do is tidy up regularly - unless you are very lucky! So make this as easy as possible. Easy and temporary storage is helpful so things can literally be ‘chucked in' and put under beds, in cupboards, run up to the loft if you have easy access.

Once your home is up for sale and you start to think about the property you want to buy, don't forget to involve all the family. Kids and teenagers have some great insights into what family frustrations there are and they are good at providing solutions, that us adults would never have dreamed of, so make sure everyone is involved, that way you all know what you are looking for and it will help them to realise they are ‘moving on'.

Moving the family is tough. So try to make the process as straightforward as possible. Consider part exchange if you trading up and especially if you are buying a brand new home as you may get a good deal. Alternatively, if you have found ‘the house of your dreams' and you can afford to do so, consider letting the one you currently own to release the capital to buy a new one and then you can sell when you are ready as holding chains together in the current recession can be quite tough.

Also read our article Tips to Sell a House


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