Should I move house?

Should I move house?

There are two main things to consider if you're thinking about moving house. Can you afford to move house? And instead of moving, if you own your property, have you considered renovating instead?

You also need to ask yourself: Do you really want to move house? Are you deeply unhappy with your current home? Would you be a lot happier if you lived in a new house in a different area?

Can I afford to move?

Moving house is expensive. If you're a first time buyer, the biggest cost is likely to be a deposit. The minimum deposit is usually 5% of the house price. That's £11,500 you'll have to save up if you want to buy a £230,000 house.

Outside of the current stamp duty payment holiday, if you're selling your current home and moving somewhere new, the biggest cost will likely be stamp duty.

On a £350,000 house in England, the stamp duty tax would be £7,500.

Do you really want to move out?

Your emotions will have a lot of say in whether you stay or go. Do you like your neighbours? Are you happy with your commute? Does your local café know your order by heart?

Be honest but realistic here. Just because you like things how they are, does not mean they could not be better elsewhere. Use online property portals like Zoopla and Rightmove to see what you could get within your budget.

Remember to factor in the added expenses of moving like stamp duty, exit fees, arrangement fees and removal costs.

A fruitless property search (along with today’s unpredictability of the property market) may make you decide to stay put after all. If this is true for you, think about your initial reasons for considering a house move and if they can be rectified by renovating or remodelling. Read more about that below.

You might use your home equity to pay for the improvements, which lenders generally allow.

Should I renovate instead?

Instead of moving house, another option is to renovate or remodel where you currently live.

This is a great way of adding more space for a growing family or reorganising your rooms, which can significantly improve your quality of life.

The usual way to fund a renovation or remodelling project is through a remortgage. If you have enough equity in your home, you may be able to borrow more money with a remortgage.

If you're considering an extension, try to think long term. Do you plan to have more kids in the future or care for an elderly parent? What will add more value when you eventually sell, an extra bedroom or a new bathroom?

But if you live in a relatively undesirable (but affordable!) neighbourhood, bear in mind that it might not be worth turning your home into a super high end property. There is usually a "ceiling" on how much people are willing to spend on a house in each area.

How to make the most out of your current house

If you can't afford to move, or you really like the area you live in, there is a lot you can do to make the most of your current home.

1. Sort through your belongings

Get rid of anything you no longer need or want to free up some space.

2. Re-arrange your furniture and optimise your space

Now you have more space, do something with it! If you need that second bedroom more as an office than a bedroom, then replace the bed with a sofa bed and put a desk in there.

3. Update your furniture

Upcycle what you have with a lick of paint, or sell it and find quality pieces that work better with the space you have.

4. If you can afford it, extend it!

As we’ve said above, think as long term as possible here. Do not just make changes that are specific to you and your needs as you may struggle to sell it on in the future if it’s too niche.

How do I move house?

If there are insurmountable problems with your home or where you live, then it's time to move house.

If you're renting and want to move into another rental property, then moving house is relatively easy. Load up Zoopla or Rightmove and find a new place to live!

If you're renting and want to buy your first home, then head on over to our first time home buyer guide. You're about to embark on an exciting (and quite complex) journey!

If you want to sell your current home and buy another house, the general process is fairly similar to when you bought your first home. But now you're part of a chain, which can cause some extra complications.

Generally it's better to put your house on the market and get an offer before you put an offer on another house. You should also get a mortgage agreement in principle.

18th June 2020