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How to upsize to a bigger home

Outgrowing your current home is a natural process, but how do you make sure you get the best deal on a bigger property, and how do you choose the right one for you?

How to upsize to a bigger home
So you’ve been in your home a while, and as much as you love it, it’s starting to feel a bit…cramped. Perhaps you’ve had children since you bought it. Maybe you picked up new hobbies that come with a lot of equipment. Maybe you just want a garden and a guest room.

Whatever your reasons for moving, it sounds like it’s time to upsize. Second time buyers (or ‘second steppers’) can find that their second home move is more complex than their 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 timing it all will factor in.

It doesn’t have to be difficult though! If you’re looking to upsize to a property with a bit more space, have a look at our top tips below before you start booking those viewings

Thinking finances

The first thing to do is to figure out if you can afford to move. Adding an extra bedroom may not seem like much, but it can take you into a different price bracket. Similarly, if you’re looking to trade in your flat for a house, or add a garden or parking, you’re going to be looking at a significant difference in price.

Now is the time to consider how much of your mortgage you have paid off, what price you’re likely to get for your existing home and whether you can afford a 10% deposit on your next property.

Second steppers are feeling the pressure when it comes to finding the money for a second deposit, but much of it is dependent on how the markets have been – if your property has increased in value, but you’re moving into a property that has been reduced, you may have found a sweet spot.

If you’re planning on moving this year, but aren’t in a rush, then one option would be to overpay your mortgage as much as you can, in order to get more equity in your current home.

Also, don't forget to account for the cost of the move itself. Because the deposit is such a large sum it can be easy to forget about the other costs involved, but with conveyancing, surveys, removals, Stamp Duty and other fees, they can stack up and end up being quite high. Be sure to use our Moving Cost Calculator to get a rough figure of how much your move will cost.

Thinking location

A follow on from thinking about affordability is location – you may not be able to upsize in the area that you’re already living in. You may be considering moving further out to get more for your money, or starting over completely in a new area.

Certain towns will always have space as a premium, and so it’s worth considering what compromise you are willing to make for a bit more space.

If you are eager for extra room, moving further out or into a more affordable area is likely to yield better results. If you want to stay in your area, looking for ‘fixer upper’ properties, or ones that have space for conversion might be a more affordable option.

Thinking long term

As much as it’s unlikely you’ll be thinking about moving again, choosing your home with resale value in mind just makes good sense. Choosing an area that may have increased transport links and improved facilities that will make a good family home will lend you value later down the line.

Also consider whether you plan to stay in this property a long time, and if it fits your needs. No one can predict the future, but if you know you plan to have multiple children, or pets that need outdoor space, or have family visiting from afar who’ll need a place to stay – choose with the future in mind.

Moving costs money each time, so if you’re buying your next home and only planning to stay a few years, take your mortgage options, the pricing and the cost of services like conveyancing, surveyors and the home move into account.

When and if you you do move, don't forget to update things like your will. It's so easy to forget to do things like that, but when you buy a bigger property and your assets increase, the last thing you want to do is let your paperwork become defunct. Learn more about the importance of updating your will after a move on our sister site, The Law Superstore.

Thinking staging

As a second time buyer, you’re also a first time seller. Presenting your home in the best way possible will make a difference to how long it’s on the market and the price you sell it for. Clearing away clutter, and knowing who you’re marketing to (a family home, a flat for a young couple) along with the main selling points (nearby local shops, great transport links etc) will help you sell.

Stage your home in neutrals so that viewers can more easily imagine themselves in the space. Now is also the time to 'spruce up' your property by identifying any easy fixes - the wobbly door handles, the front door in need of a fresh coat of paint, the weeds creeping up the driveway. Small elements can make a big difference to a first impression.

One of the most important elements of selling your home is pricing it correctly. An estate agent may originally suggest a high price in the hopes of getting your business, but be aware that a property priced too high will sit on property portals for longer, and viewers may wonder why it hasn’t been sold.

Discuss what price you need in order to upsize to your next home, and look to recent sales in the area to figure out what price is reasonable. Be aware of the market and how sales are faring in your region.

The differences in a bigger home

Whilst it’s easy to think that upsizing will solve all your problems, it’s important to be aware of all the elements of your move. The advantage is more space for all of your stuff, so make sure when packing that you label the room you’d like the boxes placed in.

Consider how a bigger home may come with more responsibility and extra costs. 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?

You may find that you need more or bigger furniture to fill all the space you have, and decorating may cost more as there’s more of the property!
Upsizing can feel like it’s complicated, especially in comparison to being a first time buyer. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult. When you’ve decided what you can afford, what you need and where you want to be, the rest should take care of itself. Always remember to ask lots of questions when viewing a potential new home (you can use our Property Viewing Checklist so you don’t forget anything!) and choose a property that won’t put you under pressure financially.

Finding the right home for the next stage of your life is exciting, so take the time to enjoy the process and get excited about having all that space!

Updated January 2020

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