Just as there is a distinct difference between a house and a home, it can arguably be said that there is a difference between a home and a 'forever home'.
The concept of the ‘forever home’ means finding a space that suits your needs, is flexible and can adapt with you in the future - so it’s important to consider a number of things to ensure what you’re looking for is right and can grow with you.
Homebuyers looking for properties with a ‘forever home’ appeal can look to these seven simple considerations from the property experts at North Sands Developments.
Undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of finding a ‘forever home’ is finding the right location. This is crucial to the needs and priorities of everyone in the household now and in the future. Consider the property’s location in regards to school catchment areas and do some research into how those schools are performing and how well they would suit your children.
Whilst a garden is a wonderful feature, it’s also important to ensure that there are nearby outside locations for you and your family to enjoy outside of the garden – whether that’s parks, woodland, walking or cycling trails or any nearby countryside where you can enjoy fresh air and exercise with family and pets.
It’s also important to ensure that transport links are convenient for getting to your place of work and to the nearest city or town centre and nearby major motorways for commuting, so be sure to do your homework.
Having a ballpark budget figure in mind will allow you to search for homes, but dependant on what you find, it’s always important to keep money aside for sprucing up the interior and for future extensions. It gives you a good guideline as to what you can realistically afford and what you need to compromise on, but don’t forget additional fees on top of the deposit for the cost of solicitors, mortgage booking fees, arrangement fees, valuation and surveyor fees, as well as lender/broker fees if you choose to use them.
From the quality of fixtures and fittings to the size and placement of rooms - the interior of a home is obviously a very important consideration. Consider the internal layout of a home to ensure it works for your family’s lifestyle and provides plenty of space. Again, ask yourself some questions about your preferences: is the kitchen the heart of your home? Would you like an open plan living space? Do all the bedrooms need to be the same size? Will you need all bedrooms moving forward, or will you need more?
4. Spaces with value
Based on the interior of the home – think about where you can create spaces of value for yourself and your family. In these uncertain times, with many having spent time at home, living and working remotely, it is important to ensure that your property possesses suitable spaces to ensure that your living quality is good should a pandemic arise in the future. Quiet, tranquil spaces for relaxation and reading, a study for remote working, and a good-sized garden are just a few suggestions when considering how to ensure your property is a ‘forever home’.
5. Quality appliances and electronics
Once you’ve decided if a property and its spaces are a good fit for you – to keep your home running smoothly it’s important to choose quality appliances and electronics to improve your quality of living. Do your research online, ask trusted friends and family and choose a good standard of main appliances and electronics - such as ovens, fridge freezers, internet, tech, heating controls and good WIFI, should you need to work remotely. The better the investment, the longer these will last, so it’s worth paying out for quality.
6. Scope for extension
It’s also a good idea to consider if the property has the potential to be extended in the future, providing you with further space that will help to raise the value of your home. Increasing the space in your home with an extension can be a great investment for your family, and is another option to consider rather than moving to a larger house and paying stamp duty.
It’s worth looking into the viability of whether a property can legally be extended and dimensions for any potential works before saying yes, so you can have an idea of what you can do with the property in future.
7. Future plans
A property is one of the biggest purchases of a lifetime, so it’s important to think about what the future may bring as this decision will affect the entire family. For example, a growing family might need more space in years to come while a family with older children may wish to downsize after retirement.
James Hartley, director at North Sands Developments, said: “Whether you are new to the property market or have moved multiple times, finding a home can be difficult, especially somewhere you would like to stay for the long run. It’s important to take into account a number of considerations when looking for the ‘forever home’, to ensure it’s a space that can suit and evolve with you.
“In these uncertain times – we can learn a lot about how to safeguard ourselves and our families by future-proofing our homes and livelihoods, so these considerations talk about the importance of ensuring our forever homes include spaces to accommodate remote working and ensure comfort if spending a lot of time in the home.”