Is ‘Forever Home’ A Myth?
There are quite a few people who search for a property that they consider a ‘forever home’ where they will live for their lifetime or at least settle there after retirement. Many people consider it a dream situation keeping the current job situation in consideration. However, a few people go for it from a long-term perspective. In fact, statistics reveals that people plan for it from a much younger age in the UK. It is essentially a family place where big space is needed to live comfortably along with the kids and to see them growing up. It has to be a cozy and comfy place that can handle the unexpected twists and turns of life and accommodate guests without disturbing privacy. No wonder, it needs a great research and effort while looking for the perfect place. Here are a few key elements that need attention while looking for a “forever home”.
Proportion and flexibility
Always go for a house that has a flexibility of opening or closing space as on demand. It not only makes maintenance easy, but there is no wastage of space. Rooms should have a good proportion, and it should be possible to change the usage of rooms according to the need. For example, rooms on the ground floor may be required to convert into a bedroom if you have mobility problems later in life. Similarly, a bedroom needs to be changed into study room when your kids grow up. Regular shaped rooms are good instead of peculiar designs that offer limited versatility. Something exceptionally big or awkwardly small should be avoided.
If you ask people about how the importance of energy efficiency factor while buying a “forever home”, then a handful of people talk about it. However, it is a highly important aspect when you are looking for a place from a long-term standpoint. Today, people look for a warm home because it is easy to maintain and cost-effective in a long run. Removing old-styled heating system and installing a new one is quite cumbersome. Therefore, pay attention to this aspect before going for a purchase.
There is a scope for adding value to it
Certainly one doesn’t look for a “forever home” from a resale value aspect because it loses the whole purpose of it. However, the ability to add value to it is still an important factor. Circumstances may change over a period, and you may feel the need of selling the property. Hence, it is always important to look at the resale value. The house you are planning for should sustain with the ups and downs of the economic scenario and housing market. There should be sufficient addition to its value without spending additional money on renovation, extension, and overhaul. If the bare bones are strong, then you can be least bothered about its long life. It is a wise thing to find out a right architect who is well-verse with local restrictions on planning and development.
Schools and the locality
Remember, you are looking for a permanent residence. Hence, it is critically important to look at it carefully. Keep a long-term view and do not get satisfied with good primary schools. Focus on secondary schools or more that will be needed after a few years. Locality or surroundings are equally important. Again you have to be skeptical about it because your kids are going to live, grow and develop there. Good quality people and community put a great impact on their overall improvement. Similarly, look at the services around. You need shops and markets, entertainment centers and recreation centers, clubs and health centers and hospitals and restaurants around.
Sometimes, people are reluctant to go in suburbs because they are far from the main town. However, it is important to study the growth perspective before moving on the edge of the countryside. Recently planning rules have been relaxed to allow development of areas that were off the table earlier.
Don’t feel pressured
Brokers are always in a hurry of closing the deal as quickly as possible. Hence, don’t get panic. Take your time in exploring everything you require. Visit every property patiently and check every minor detail. Make a checklist if possible. Ask questions whenever something is unclear or ambiguous to you. Try to get deeper into it by asking questions about the reason property owner want to sell it. Keep your information channels open and catch every bit of information. Ask neighbors and others if there is any doubt about it, you should have authentic sources though.
Go for a second look when you are not happy with the first visit. Some people prefer surprise visit to check the actual status. However, it is not possible when the property is under construction, or nobody lives there.
Be realistic and practical
It is quite easy to list down super-high ambitions about a property, but you need to think with a realistic perspective. Do not go for it with a totally idealistic view where superficial issues disturb you. Make a vision about it and compare each house on the set parameters. Sometimes, people assume unrealistically and land up in trouble. Hence, go through the wish list multiple times before you crystallize on one or two options.
The above points are just indicative. When you search for a “forever home”, it is your decision that is important ultimately. When you are satisfied with a house, then there is no second thought required. Check all possible aspects and go ahead with the deal. Indeed, a broker plays an important role in finalizing a property; he or she can’t be a “know-it-all”. There can be a mistake from their side also. Therefore, self-study is always beneficial. Study the local market and identify areas where there is a possibility of finding the dream home.
A “forever home” needs clarity about your personal planning also. Imagine yourself ten or twenty years down the line and plan the future needs. Family expansion, financial growth, change of job and many other things affect your decision.