Some questions in life are unavoidable. Aside from whether the chicken or the egg came first, at some point along the line you'll begin to wonder if your home can evolve with you, or if it's time to say goodbye and find somewhere new. Moving is a big step and an exciting time, but whether you're running out of space, looking to downsize or considering a change of location, there's more to selling your home than just a property transaction. Memories, attachments and neighbours are often difficult to leave behind, and it can become a challenge to separate emotion from logic.
Many local homeowners face exactly the same dilemmas as you, so this week's blog is about starting a conversation. It's not designed to steer you into selling any more than to keep you where you are, but it will hopefully give you food for thought to reach a decision that's right for you.
There are two reasons why your home might feel the wrong size: you've either outgrown it, or you no longer use all the rooms. When you need more space An extension might be the answer if your home feels too small. If you simply want more space for the family to gather, a single-storey extension to the rear could provide a spacious and sociable open-plan family space and kitchen for everyone to be together.
For an extra bedroom or two, converting a loft or garage are two of the most straightforward options for adding more rooms. And if your garage has the correct foundations, it might also support a first-floor extension. Remember that more bedrooms and more people mean more bathroom time, so it's worth seeing if you can fit in at least an additional shower room as well.
Questions to ask are whether a loft conversion will leave you short on storage space, and if losing the garage will have a detrimental effect on the demand for your home. When your home is too big Downsizing is one of the most emotional moves people make, and it can take a long time to reach the decision to go. But if there are rooms that you no longer use or even enter, perhaps it's time to consider whether you really need them. Memories will stay with you wherever you go, and downsizing is often the opening of an entirely new chapter of life. A cottage with that view you've always dreamed of, or an apartment close to the sea, and all with a lot less cleaning and lower bills.
BALANCING WORK AND LIFE
Is your work taking you further away, or closer to home? No amount of home improvements will make your journey to work any easier, so if you're already tired of the commute, or it's about to get painfully longer, moving to somewhere more convenient will give you more time for your life. On the other hand, perhaps working from home has become your new normal.
The dining table is fine as an occasional workspace, but mealtimes among piles of paperwork aren't much of a permanent solution. Look for a dedicated space away from the hubbub of family action: a spare room, a space to convert, or even a standalone cabin in the garden. Boundaries between home and work life are essential, and a room to close the door on at the end of the day provides valuable separation. The last thing you want from your freedom to work from home is to feel like you're living at the office.
THINKING ABOUT SCHOOLS
Education is a hugely important consideration for parents, and getting their children into the right school is the driving factor behind many moves. For schools with a strict catchment area, there's little choice other than to live within it. If your current home is outside the zone, it's time to look for somewhere new. Before beginning your search, think about the longevity of your move. If it's for primary school today, will you need to move again when secondary school beckons? Perhaps you can find a location with access to both to avoid upping sticks a second time. If catchment areas aren't an issue, think about the journey to school. Are you up for the morning school run every day? It's a joy for some parents, but a bind for others. And if your children will be making their own way to school, are public transport or cycling a realistic proposition from where you live?
Sometimes, you just fancy a change. That might be in how you spend time at home, or what you want from your neighbourhood. Perhaps you've discovered an unexpected talent for cooking, but your kitchen is cramping your style. Maybe you'd love a bathroom that's just for you, either to avoid the morning rush or to savour an evening soak. Or would a home studio allow you to unleash your latent creativity? Does an artist burn within? Being happy and fulfilled at home is worth pursuing, whether it's little pleasures or big passions.
Does your home provide the scope for the space you need, or would you rather avoid building works and move to somewhere with everything you desire? If you find yourself dreaming of getting closer to nature, or having more shops and cafes nearby, or living nearer to friends or family, it's time to make a move.
Ah, love. When it strikes, and when talk turns to living together, the obvious choice is for the partner with the smallest home to move into the other's larger one. It's a quick and straightforward solution, but does it reflect both your lives equally? Each of you probably moved to where you are for particular reasons - handy for work; your favourite neighbourhood; close to friends or family - and you could end up with one of you feeling very much at home, while the other feels marooned. Feeling stuck in someone else's home is a recipe for friction and another move before long, so take some time to understand what each of you wants from where you live.
It's a new beginning that should be right for you both. For moving in together to feel like a truly fresh start, it doesn't get much more exciting than heading out hand-in-hand to find your perfect home. Somewhere that's all about your future, with no ties to the past and no compromise in size, style or location. Well, maybe not entirely without compromise! Final words Deciding whether to stay or go is full of questions, and not always instant answers.
If you're still unsure of what's right for you, why not get in touch? Whether you'd like to know the best way to extend or improve your home, its current or potential value, or simply about the property market in Southampton, we're here to help. Call for a chat on 02380 987610 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk through your plans.