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Upsizing: what you need to know

Whether you have a growing family or you’re after a bigger garden, it’s crucial that you ask the right questions. This is everything you need to know about upsizing.

Has your property seemed smaller recently? Is an extra bedroom, a bigger garden or another bathroom becoming a priority? It might be time to upsize. There’s been a lot of talk of downsizing – moving into a smaller home as you grow older. However, if you’re only just starting to see your family grow, the opposite is a necessity.

While this is an exciting period, upsizing isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Some buyers find that their second home move is more complex than the first. Not only do you have to organise a purchase, but you’re going to be part of a chain, so selling your home and the timing of it all will factor in. Add to the mix an increased mortgage and the maintenance of a larger property, there is a lot to consider. Here’s everything you need to know about upsizing.


Your reasons for upsizing

There are a number of reasons for upsizing your home. It may be a necessity because your current home won’t accommodate your growing family. Perhaps you need a garden for a new four-legged family member or space for a new home business. Or maybe it’s an aspirational move - you’re after the wow factor you’ve always wanted from your home. Whatever the reason, if you’ve made the decision to upsize, go with your gut and go for it.


Finances first

First and foremost, can you afford to move? One extra bedroom or a small garage may not seem like much, but the addition of either can easily take you up into a whole new price bracket. Likewise, trading in a flat for a house or adding a garden comes with a serious difference in price.  

Next you’ll need to think about mortgage options, taking into consideration the price you’ll likely get for your existing property and how much of a deposit you can put down on your new home. Second home buyers will often feel the pressure to get together that second deposit, but a lot of it depends on the market in the area. You’ll find yourself in a fortuitous position if your current property has increased in value, but your new property has been reduced.

If you can see yourself upsizing in the future but you’re not in a rush, it might be an idea to overpay the mortgage on your current home as much as possible so as to squeeze maximum equity from it.

Lastly, remember that it’s not just the sticker price on the house, there are long-term costs associated with upsizing. Crucially, buying a second property doesn’t afford the Stamp Duty relief that comes with buying your first property. You’ll also get an increase in utility bills so do some research; what are the expected heating costs and council tax bills? Will you need to hire a gardener or buy equipment to tend the garden yourself? An increase in square footage comes with more maintenance and more rooms to buy furniture for.


Think long-term

Though you’ll likely be in your new, upsized home for the long-run, it makes sense to keep its resale value in mind. If you can, go for an area that will benefit from increased transport links and improved facilities in the future.

If you are only planning on staying for a few years, remember that moving is costly every time you do it so do take your mortgage options, the pricing and the cost of services like conveyancing, surveyors and the home move into account.

If, on the other hand, you’re thinking in terms of future expansion, maybe to cater for your growing family or to facilitate the dream kitchen you’ve always wanted, make sure you do your research. Is the plot big enough? How much of the garden would you lose with an extension? Will the parking facilities accommodate multiple cars when the kids start to drive? Make enquiries with the neighbours and speak to the local council to ascertain that your future plans will be feasible. Speak to local builders and architects to get their advice and approximate idea of costings.


Is bigger better?

Before you speed ahead with your new purchase, make sure that the extra space will actually be used. A home cinema or a games room are no doubt enticing, but more often than not, expensive rooms like this are the least used in the house. 

So you’ve looked ahead to the future, but don’t forget about what you know from your first property: the neighbourhood is everything. You may have chosen your starter home for its up-and-coming-neighbourhood price bracket, the transport links and its proximity to your favourite pub. But more space may mean a new neighbourhood. As with any move, do your research, spend some time in the area and remember that there may need to be compromises made. Yes you’ll have a gorgeous new garden but you’ll also add 20 minutes to your commute. Weigh it all up before taking the plunge.

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