Buying your first home is a unique experience, but chances are you will not stay there forever.
As your family and ambitions grow, there will come a time when upsizing is necessary, particularly when a new arrival is on the way.
Moving to a larger home brings a number of challenges, from estimating how big it needs to be, to calculating your budget, to finding the most suitable location. We look at how to move to a bigger home and make the experience as smooth as possible.
Think as one
Before embarking on the buying journey, you must first establish your expectations and ensure that your partners are the same. Making a decision about the area can help, but it is always wise to agree on the number of bedrooms, features such as a garden or driveway, and whether to opt for a thoroughfare or a cul-de-sac.
This will not only save time by filtering the potential houses you search for, but can also prevent any disagreements later on in the process.
It is best to be realistic when considering what to buy. If you have two children and do not plan on having any more then 3 or 4 bedrooms may suffice, although larger families can definitely think big.
Cost also needs to be factored in from the very beginning – it is wise to have your own house valued before you even begin searching for a new home, and also explore mortgage options, as it will give you a clearer idea of what you can feasibly afford.
Think of the children
If you are starting a family or already have young children, factoring this in will be at the forefront of your mind when making any decision on where to live. Properties close to fields, parks or playgrounds can be a great advantage, but also considering things like swimming baths, adventure playgrounds and sports centres can make a real difference.
Finding a school will be one of the main factors, so it is wise to explore the various nursery, primary and secondary schools in a prospective area. Look at factors such as performance reports, catchment areas and class sizes to give you an indication of where your youngsters will best settle in.
Think about more than bedrooms
Whereas a house may be advertised as having 3, 4 or 5 bedrooms, this does not necessarily have a bearing on the number of bathrooms in the property. A downstairs bathroom or toilet is especially beneficial for those with very small children for ease of access, while having more than one bathroom upstairs, such as an en suite, can allow one parent to get showered in peace each morning.
On the outside of the property, a fenced garden provides the perfect play area for youngsters, with lots of room to run, jump and situate toys and apparatus. It will have the added benefit of being enclosed, to add a dimension of privacy and contain any balls or other objects thrown around.
Think about the furniture
It goes without saying that a larger home will need more furniture to fill it, unless you intend on going for an ultra-minimal look. Children who previously slept in the same room in bunk beds will now be able to have a room each, so new beds will be needed, while moving from one living room to two could necessitate a new sofa and furnishings.
An alternative to buying more furniture could be to purchase a furnished showhome, which removes the need to buy almost anything before making the move.
Think of the future
If you intend to stay in the property for a number of years, then think of factors that may affect your family’s future happiness. This could include scoping out the area to see how many other families live close by for your children to play with, and assessing all of the nearest local amenities.
With regard to the house itself, having a spare room is not a bad thing if it could later by converted into a gym or office, while families with older children need to bear in mind what will happen when they inevitably fly the nest.