What can you do when your house no longer fits?
The one thing that’s certain in life is change. If you’ve been in your home for a while the chances are that things will have changed, and that could mean your house no longer fits you properly.
It’s too big
Most commonly this happens when children grow up and leave home. A house that was packed with people and activity can suddenly seem huge and empty. It also can become apparent that it would be cheaper to live somewhere smaller and even free up some capital.
Things to think about if you’re downsizing:
Time and money
Living in a smaller property is almost certain to save you money. Utility bills are likely to be lower, as will council tax and insurance. You will also find that running the property takes up less time.
You may no longer be able to be the host you were. Your new home might not have the space to hold as many visitors as your old one. How do you feel about not being able to have everyone over at Christmas any longer? It may even come as something of a relief if you’ve felt people were taking advantage of your hospitality.
A dream home
Freed from having to choose a house, say, in the school catchment area, you may have the opportunity to see your dreams come true. With fewer people to consider, the world is your oyster. Have you always wanted a kitchen with an island, an art studio, a balcony or home cinema? This could be your chance.
It’s important to give your move a lot of thought. What do you plan to do and will you be able to do it in the place you want to live? Is the property you’re thinking about in a convenient location? Is it near to public transport? Are you prepared to get rid of the possessions that won’t fit into your smaller home? If you plump for a flat, will you pine for your own garden?
Downsize your stuff
Once you know where you are moving, draw up a floor plan and work out whether your current furniture is going to fit. You might face some tough decisions about items you have lived with for a long time. The other side of this coin is that clearing things out can be liberating and, if you sell the items, profitable.
It’s too small
Perhaps the number of people in your home has grown, with the addition of a few children or the children themselves have grown and now need more space. Some families also find their homes become a tight squeeze if an older person, such as a grandparent, comes to live as they need more help. What can you do when you find that your home is simply too crowded for comfort?
The obvious solution if you can afford it – but it’s important to look beyond the number of bedrooms. When choosing a new home, consider the storage, garden and number of bathrooms. Is there a large enough dining space for everyone and will it be useful to have a separate utility room?
Convert the cellar
If you have one, a cellar can be converted into additional living space. Generally, you won’t require planning permission if you aren’t changing the appearance of your property. It’s always a good idea to seek professional advice if your cellar requires much more than a lick of paint.
Spread into the loft or garage
Can you create more space by doing a loft conversion or extending into the garage? Obviously, the cost of this kind of improvement will depend on what you are having done. It’s important to seek professional advice and obtain the appropriate planning permission. While there is a degree of upheaval as the work is done, it usually works out more cost effective than moving to a larger property. In addition, you may add value to your property for when you are ready to sell.
Add a bathroom
It may be that the addition of an en-suite bathroom or downstairs toilet makes all the difference, especially if the pinch point of your overcrowding is the queue for the shower in the morning. If you have a large bedroom, it may be possible to install a slimline bathroom without feeling like you have given up roominess.
Adding a conservatory can be one of the easiest and quickest ways to increase your living space. It also adds to the appeal of your house. Once again, seek professional advice.