Whether you’re moving from a rented place to your first home or looking for a bigger home to accommodate a growing family, it pays to spend some time thinking about your requirements before you start looking at properties for sale.
“Price, location, and security obviously play the most important roles in any home buying decision, but the type of home you want and its layout also deserve careful consideration,” says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.
“In fact, there’s not much point in buying a home that doesn’t feel comfortable or suits your lifestyle, as you’ll probably just end up moving again, sooner than you planned and quite possibly at a loss.”
To determine whether a home will be easy to live in, he says, potential buyers should first check whether space divides comfortably into the following three “zones”:
Secondly, they must ensure that the “flow” from one area to the next makes sense. “For instance, how are the various areas connected to one another? Are there any awkward passageways, or are some bedrooms only accessible by walking through others?
“Is there a separate cloakroom or family bathroom accessible to guests from the social zone? How far is the kitchen from the dining room? Can you easily get to the outdoor entertainment area from the kitchen or the living/ dining area?”
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, Everitt says each room’s individual shape and special features also need to be considered. “Fireplaces, bay windows and staircases may be attractive, for example, but can severely limit your furniture placement options.”
Fourth, you need to see if there are enough bedrooms for your needs and if they are well-separated from the social zone. Families with young children may also want an additional safe play area/ spare room with storage space for toys and games.
When you start viewing homes, he says, you should also try to imagine how certain areas could be adapted to keep pace with changing family needs. “For example, children will need somewhere to do their homework once they start school and you might need somewhere to house a home-based business. Family rooms or TV rooms where children can entertain their friends once they hit their teenage years may also be a boon.”
However, it is probably bathroom space that is likely to cause the most conflict if family members have to queue up in the mornings trying to get ready for school or work, so Everitt says more than one bathroom should be on your must-have list - even if you don’t really need a second one right away.
“And finally, you should consider the size of the garden, because while it’s great to have space for outdoor entertaining, games and pets, a large garden takes both time and money to maintain, and is harder and more costly to secure.”