You could be forgiven for feeling confused by the property market headlines; “House Price Bubble!” one headline screamed recently, completely contradicting another which cautioned “House Prices Still Falling”! In amongst so much controversy, how can we homeowners make an informed decision to stay, or to sell?
People decide to sell their homes for many reasons, both compulsory and discretionary. Compulsory sales usually involve what estate agents like to call the ‘Three Ds” – death, debt and divorce. Often, selling the property in one of these situations is necessary, and something to get out of the way. However, there are other, less negative reasons for selling a house: perhaps a new baby means that the current home is a bit of a squeeze, and you’d like a larger property. Or maybe you’ve reached that time in your life where your home actually feels too big: perhaps your children have left home, and you have ‘empty nest syndrome’, ready to move into something more manageable, and put away a lump sum for your next life chapter.
House programmes like Sarah Beeny’s “Double Your House for Half the Money” highlight what is a growing trend in some parts of the country – the choice to stay and extend, instead of moving home to gain more space. It’s certainly true that moving home can be incredibly expensive, and it’s definitely worth looking at all the options. For example, if you are in a home that feels too small, could you perhaps extend into the garden, or convert the loft? When I recently moved into a little cottage with no space to work from home, I found a company to build a garden office for me at less than £10,000. The corresponding extra room I would have needed would have cost around £25,000 as an extension to the house, so it was incredibly cost-effective for me to build in a corner of my garden instead, and lovely to work from!
Conversely, if you’re rattling round in a house that’s just too big for you, could it be divided perhaps? A client of mine in Selsey on the south coast once did this: she had tried to sell her beautiful Georgian rectory for several years without success, and was actually really attached to it. She knew it wasn’t very practical to live in a great big 6 bedroomed home once her grown-up sons had left, but she and her husband had lived there for many years, and didn’t really want to move. The answer was right in front of them: we engaged an imaginative architect who somehow managed to come up with plans to split the house into two in total sympathy to the original design. The planners were happy, the work went ahead, and within twelve months, my client was happily ensconced in one side of her home, with a mortgage paid off and money in the bank.
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Staying or selling is never an easy or clear-cut decision, and it’s always worth talking through your options with a professional. Whether it be an accountant, architect or estate agent, by discussing the situation from all sides, you will be able to make a much more informed decision that could prove to be a very worthwhile investment in the long term. Oh, and ignore those headlines!
Sam Ashdown runs the UK’s largest website dedicated purely to property sellers.
She has been featured in the Sunday Times, Bricks and Mortar, The Telegraph, House Beautiful and has also appeared on Homes Under the Hammer and on BBC local radio.
For more house selling advice, check out Sam’s Selling Secrets at www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets or her blog at www.home-truths.co.uk/blog
Double, Estate Agents, Home, Home-Truths, house, House Price Bubble, Sell, Value