Sticking to the (floor) plan

Buyers have lots of tough decisions to make when shopping for a new home, but the daunting task can be made much easier by mentally "moving into" a property for a few minutes – not only to visualise where your furniture and belongings would go, but to imagine how you and your family would live there.

For example, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, you may love the view from a clifftop house – but your enthusiasm might wane if you think about always having to carry the groceries up several flights of stairs.

“And if you picture your ideal family home, would the outdoor entertainment area really lead straight off the TV-room? Might it suit you better if it led off the dining room or kitchen so you could still enjoy a watching weekend sport while your children had their friends around for a pool party?”

The main question to ask, he says, is: “Does this floorplan really fit our lifestyle?” because if the answer is in the affirmative, you’ll be well on the way to finding the right home.

“Conversely, you should never choose a home that will be awkward for your family to live in – even if it has many attractive features – because a bad ‘match’ usually leads very soon to another round of house-hunting and moving, which can be very expensive.”

Writing in the Property Signpost newsletter, Everitt says that of course there is no absolute right and wrong. “The floorplan that puts one buyer off will suit another very well.

“For example, a couple with young children will probably want their bedroom within earshot of the children’s rooms, while others may really want a “buffer zone” between them and their teenagers’ sound systems.”

Similarly, he says, a compact kitchen may well appeal to a jet-set young executive who spends a lot of time travelling and eats out frequently, but will probably be impractical for those used to entertaining their family and friends at home.

“The secret is to stay focused on what would suit you – and never be embarrassed to say that a home you have viewed, lovely as it may be, is not a good fit for your family.

“Experienced agents will never be offended by this because they know that there is ‘a lid for every pot’ - and they may well have something else to show you that matches your mental picture perfectly.”

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