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decluttering - home storage unit

Getting Ready To Move House – Should I Be Decluttering?

 

After weeks (or is it months?) of limbo when nothing seemed to happen in the long chain I’m involved in with my house move suddenly it’s all systems go and panic has set in as everyone wants to exchange and move before the start of summer. At the beginning of the year we all knew when summer was but it seems to have been the effect of the Easter school break recently that has given everyone renewed impetus. I have spent all morning on the phone chivvying estate agents, mortgage providers, solicitors etc. and just generally keeping the lines of communication open. This is the 4th house we have tried to buy in nearly 18 months (yes, 4th, really) and after our “3rd time lucky” house failed to be lucky I have given up keeping my fingers crossed – now I just want it to happen.

I have lived in my current house for over 20 years and when we first decided to move it was with a mixture of excitement and sadness. We reminisced about the parties we’d had, the fun, the long hot summers in the garden (well maybe that’s an exaggeration) and the fact that our children have never known any other home. But as time has dragged on the sadness has waned and we are all just eager to get on with our new lives in our new home now.

I have started a bit of decluttering, bought packing boxes, had estimates for the removals and even spoken to some builders about the work I want to do in the new house but I can’t make any commitments yet – I can’t even make a proper start with packing up my belongings as I haven’t yet signed the contracts. For any of you living outside England you might be unfamiliar with the system where you can agree to sell your existing house and agree to buy a new house but it can be months before this agreement becomes legally binding for both you and all the other people involved in the chain of house sales and purchases.

This system has been the source of many a failed house move but I am consoling myself with the fact that during the time we have been waiting for all the legalities to be completed the mortgage interest rate with our chosen provider has fallen by 0.5%. Great news! But as my husband sagely pointed out we won’t be saving ourselves 0.5% worth of interest payments if the purchase falls through as we won’t be paying for that particular mortgage at all.

Realistically, I no longer have any hope of moving in before the warm weather arrives given that it is only a few weeks away and we haven’t yet exchanged contracts but after all the waiting I’m sure I can wait a little longer and it might just give me the chance to do some more decluttering so there is less to pack and less to unpack in the new house. If I can get into the decluttering habit now there’s a chance that we might all be able to live an organised, clutter-free life in our new abode (well, I can dream).

I’ve been reading some tips on clearing clutter and it seems the most important thing is to remember that a lot of the material possessions we own don’t have any sentimental value and no longer have any practical or decorative use – most possessions are just stuff filling up our homes. The decluttering tips also suggest that tackling the clutter gradually is more effective if you don’t want to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task and give up before you make any progress. So I am determined to sort as much of my junk as possible in the coming weeks.

 

 

stress free home move

Can a Home Move Be Stress Free?

In the high-end property market in London many of the specialist mortgage broking firms are booming as a result of wealthy overseas buyers investing in the better London boroughs. So the multi-million pound property market might be recovering (in fact, it never suffered the same level of stagnation as the mainstream market after the credit crunch) but what about the rest of us?

How easily you can sell a home is dependent on so many factors such as area, location within that area, type of property, property condition, local demand etc. Some of these factors are outside your control but others are not so you can minimise the stress of a home move by doing something about the parts you can control; for instance make sure the inside and outside of your home are clean, tidy and clutter-free. Do all those niggling little repairs and if anything major needs repairing get it done before opening your home to viewings. If necessary, invest in some new accessories to dress your home: lamps, new bedding and towels will make a big improvement for minimal cost and you can take them with you to your new home.

Of course, you cannot remove stress entirely from a house move because, fundamentally, it is a stressful business because it affects both our finances and our emotions. You are leaving behind an old home but there may be an emotional wrench, depending on your personal circumstances, if you don’t want to leave. Then you have to find a new home and we all have our own image of the perfect home but often we cannot afford it, or even find it. When some people find a home that ticks all their personal boxes they do not actually want it because there is no emotional draw to the home. Conversely some people fall in love with a home that ticks none, or only a few, boxes. And once you make an emotional attachment to a home by embarking on the buying process those emotions can just make the stress build up.

If you are buying a new home, whether it is your first or one in a long string of many, it is a complicated process. We often don’t understand all the financial and legal jargon involved and have to rely on others to deal with the process but if you don’t understand something then just ask for a simple explanation. Questions you have that remain unanswered will just fuel an already stressful situation.

Once you are ready to make an offer you need to be prepared for various outcomes if you are to avoid an emotional rollercoaster. House sales and purchases can be unpredictable: your buyer may pull out, your best offer may be turned down, you could be dragged into a bidding war, you could be gazumped (yes it still happens), the seller could pull out of the deal after accepting your offer, serious defects may be revealed by the survey, you lose your job and can no longer afford to move. The list really is endless…

But providing you are aware of such possibilities then you should be able to handle them calmly if they do happen. Have a contingency plan – for instance, if the seller pulls out but you have a good buyer then consider putting your belongings in self-storage and moving into rented accommodation rather than lose the house sale in a tough market. This could put you in a better position as a chain-free buyer; just remember that others might be doing the same.

pack kitchen

The Easy Way To Pack Kitchen Items Ready For Moving House

 

The kitchen can be the most difficult room to pack, especially if you don’t leave enough time to do it properly. Here we look at simple and easy ways to pack kitchen items ready for a move.

 

When you’re moving house it’s easy to feel like you’re getting everything together nicely until… you come to packing the kitchen. It is easily the most difficult room to pack because it’s got so many awkward shaped items in it as well as many, many breakables. Not many people get through a house move without mourning the breakage of at least one precious mug! But do not fear, pack kitchen items easily and efficiently ready for self-storage or your new home with these simple tips:

Allow Time

Allow the most time to pack the kitchen. It’s going to take longer than the other rooms in the house and that’s OK, as long as you’ve allowed the time to do it. Don’t make the mistake of simply leaving it until last the day before the move and having a meltdown when you realise you’ve no option but to throw everything in boxes and hope for the best! It should be the last room to complete because you use it the most for everyday living, so don’t put it off, just allow lots of time to do it when the rest of the house is packed.

Be Ruthless

Like everywhere else in your house, you should not be packing items you no longer need or want, regardless of whether or not the items are going into self storage in London or a new home in the country. Make a throw away bag and a give-away bag to put your unwanted items in. If you have time, sell anything you don’t want and get a bit of extra cash to help with your move, otherwise dispose of undesirable items responsibly and give the rest away to charity. Don’t hang on to anything that ‘might come in handy’, take this opportunity to clear yourself of the junk that clutters your kitchen – your new kitchen will be thankful for the breathing space!

 

Be Careful!

You are packing the room containing the most breakables so you must make sure you use the strongest boxes, the strongest packing tape and the best padding you can lay your hands on. Weak boxes will not do, things will simply fall through at the bottom when they are being moved. Make sure all electrical appliances are packed in waterproof packaging with their cables neatly secured. Ensure cutlery and sharps are wrapped up properly so they cannot poke through – tea towels are great for this as long as you use a few, plus you’re killing two birds with one stone by packing them both together. Keep liquids like bleach, washing up liquids and detergents separate from any food items and make sure they are in a no-leak container. Plates, glasses and bowls should be carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and newspaper in strong boxes, with special attention paid to delicate items like wine glasses. If your items are going into self-storage it is important they are clearly labelled so you don’t place heavy items on top of delicate ones in the removal van or self-storage unit.

Don’t Forget The Food!

Items from your fridge and freezer need to leave on the day of the move, so try to consume as much as possible so you don’t have to take it with you. Some items will need to be thrown away as they won’t be suitable for refreezing. You may also have to completely empty your fridge and freezer before the day of the move if the white goods are going with you – if this is the case prepare for this well in advance.

Make An Essentials Box

 

One of the most frequent mistakes people make when packing up a kitchen is packing away everything and then finding they have nothing to cook with. Keep out some plates, mugs, spoons and essential utensils and keep them in a clearly labelled box so you know where everything is. You could even make a box titled ‘tea’ and put mugs, teaspoons, the kettle, tea bags, UHT milk and sugar in it so you’ve got something to make everyone a brew with when you arrive at your new home.

And remember, moving might be stressful but new homes are always exciting so it will be worth it…

 

Sell a House without Stepping Inside

3 Ways to Sell a House without Stepping Inside

Moving is stressful enough, with finding a home of your own, settling into a new school and maybe even a new job, as well as packing up your entire house. Why make selling your home any more difficult than it needs to be?

 

If your home has great outdoor space, use it to your advantage when selling! While buyers will always care about kitchens, bathrooms and storage space, give them something else to love about your property with a lush, relaxing garden.

 

Even if your outdoor space is limited, these tips can be used to your advantage. Apartment dwellers may even benefit more from calling attention to a balcony or porch, if other properties nearby don’t have these amenities.

 

Stage Your Outdoor Living Space

When staging your home, don’t neglect your outdoor space. Continue making potential buyers feel at home when they step onto your porch, deck or balcony with cohesive outdoor furniture. Use enough furniture and décor pieces that the space is welcoming and functional, without overcrowding. If you plan on an open house, keep in mind that there will likely be extra people among the furniture.

 

Continue Themes from Inside

You should make your outdoor living space an oasis, but don’t make it so different from the rest of your home that people find it jarring. Compliment the style of your home and interior design, whether it be rustic, modern or classic.

 

Add More than Just Furniture

Chairs and tables are without a doubt important! However, don’t neglect simple elements that make spaces feel more inviting. Candles, weather-proof rugs and string lights are all inexpensive ways to make potential buyers feel at home.

 

Upgrade Your Kerb Appeal

The front of your home is likely what visitors will see when looking at your home for the first time. Make the most of this first impression with flawless kerb appeal. There are lots of simple ways to upgrade your kerb appeal, and many are quite inexpensive. Start by picking up things that don’t belong in the front garden, like bikes, gardening tools and sprinklers. If necessary, a fresh coat of paint on your porch or front door can also be a nice update that doesn’t take a professional.

 

Use Simple Landscaping Elements

Adding small touches of greenery and other landscaping elements is a great way to improve kerb appeal. Make sure your planters are cohesive, flowerbeds freshly mulched, and bushes and trees are trimmed. Unexpected details like decorative stones and a cute watering can help your house stand out.

 

Sell a House more easily

 

Appeal to Different Types of Buyers

You can make educated guesses about what type of buyers will be interested in your property, based on your location, size and price range. However, don’t fixate on that client too much, at the expense of ignoring potential buyers who don’t fit the bill. Make your outdoor space appeal to different types of buyers with different sections of your garden.

 

Make Room for Entertaining

Even if you’re not the entertaining type, let buyers imagine themselves hosting in this outdoor space. Create flow between the kitchen and the garden to show how easy serving can be. If there’s room, a tall bar cart can also be added to your staging.

 

 

Create a Kid-Friendly Space

Don’t leave all the fun for the adults! If you have a playset or swing, make sure it’s safe to use and looks well-maintained. Even without one, you can set up a little area with chalk, hula hoops and a soccer ball. This space will appeal to families who are looking for a new home, and also help keep kids out of the way while parents tour the rest of your home.

Houses in Hammersmith & Fulham

Moving to West London

West London is an area that is known for its gorgeous areas as well as its high prices. In fact, they range from pricey to unaffordable, so that should give you a good idea of what to expect. However, it remains one of the best areas in London to raise children, as well as one of the safest. In this guide, we help you to determine whether or not West London is the right move for you, as well as taking a look at what it has to offer as an area. You never know, your next home could be here.

 

Preparing to Move

There is a lot to do when you are preparing to move house, and it is far from an easy task. You have legal paperwork to sort through for both properties, finding a moving company, getting boxes together, and making sure that you have left nothing behind. This is just some of the stuff you have to do, and it takes a lot of patience and effort to get it done correctly. You have to be prepared, and you need to know what is involved.

Before you even take steps to move, however, you need to find a new place to live. You have to research the area carefully, understanding every aspect in full detail. Things like the good and bad areas, entertainment, suitability for families, and other such aspects need to be taken into account. Research is the key to success in all areas of life, and you need to make sure you know what you are getting before you even make a choice to buy.

 

Where to Go in West London?

West London is an economically thriving area, filled with fabulous homes and people. It is home to a beautifully diverse mix of people, 25% of whom were born outside of the EU. After the 2012 Olympics were announced, regeneration plans for the fringes of West London were put underway, bringing these zones in line with the rest of the area.  It’s a stunning mix of history and open green spaces and some of the very best areas to live in.

If you are looking at West London, here is all the information you need:

If money is absolutely no problem, a great place to look at is Mayfair. A classically stunning area right near the centre of the capital, it is a place that everyone knows for its fine houses and high prices. But places like Bayswater or Hammersmith are also a good bet for those with less cash to splash.

Although some parts of West London are highly exclusive that isn’t true of all areas in the west of the capital so do your research before you make your choice.

moving to west london - hammersmith bridge

Property Prices in West London

Some houses on the market in West London have asking prices not far short of £17 million but there are plenty of choices for less than that, thank goodness.

Taking a look at property prices as a whole for the area of West London, however, we found that the current average is £975,000. If we break this figure down further it’s clear that, unsurprisingly, house and flat prices differ quite a bit but perhaps less than in other parts of London.

 

Travelling in West London

Interestingly, two-thirds of the population of West London use a car instead of public transport, which makes it a rather unique case. However, this does not mean that West London is free from congestion, and you are likely to find yourself stuck in traffic on the way to work. If you live in areas that are subject to a congestion charge, you are entitled to a 90% discount if you are a resident in the affected areas.

Public transport is available, with buses being a good one to go for if you still want to use the road but don’t have a car. The underground is also an option, and while there is good coverage, it is not as extensive as other parts of London and is mainly used for commuting to central London as opposed to areas in the west of the city.

 

Meeting People in West London

Moving to West London is an adventure, and every adventure needs a band of friends who stick through everything together. The city is the perfect place to find people like this, and you might be surprised by how friendly the locals are. Of course, it can take a little time to meet like-minded people.

Heathrow airport West of London

Places to Work in West London

West London is one of the best places for making a living in the city. It has a thriving workforce and a good average salary that will leave you feeling tempted to move into the area (if only you could afford the property). It does have an unemployment rate of around 7%, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you will be out of work. Always take a look for open positions (and try to get a job) before you move.

West of London is Heathrow Airport, which is home to an amazing 76,000 jobs. It’s an incredible amount, and there are so many different roles there that you will likely be spoiled for choice. It’s a relatively short commute distance, and it offers a great work experience.

Office work is also quite prominent in West London, and if you are looking to be employed at the head offices of major companies, you might just be in luck. West London is home to the HQ of big brands like Disney, FOX TV UK, L’Oréal, and Betfair to name a few. It is a good opportunity to get in with the big names and advance your career.

 

kensington high street west london

Places to Go in West London

Within the W postcode, there are so many places that you can go, and loads of things that you are sure to enjoy. The West of London does tend to be one of the more expensive areas, but we promise that there are wonderful places to go for anyone on just about any budget. Here are some of our top recommendations for places to go in West London.

Mayfair is renowned for its superb shopping and jewellery (which it is especially famous for). A day of shopping in Mayfair might leave your wallet a little lighter, but it will have given you the retail therapy that you need and deserve. Plus, it’s home to some big names like Ted Baker and Karen Millen. And you could always just try window shopping – that’s still fun even if you have nothing much to spend.

You could also try out Notting Hill for something a little quirky and unusual. It’s the home of all things unusual, but in all the right ways. Think of High Grant’s little bookshop in the film of the same name, and you have Notting Hill in a nutshell. The Notting Hill Carnival also takes place each year and is led by members of the Caribbean community, with up to 1.5 million people taking part. It’s the largest street festival in the world.

Portobello Road’s famous outdoor market is also sure to attract you. Just about everyone has heard of it, and you need to take the opportunity to actually go out and visit it. This quaint little market is sure to have you leaving with some one-of-a-kind items. Plus, it really is an experience and a half.

If you are looking for somewhere to eat, then Westbourne Park and Notting Hill are the perfect locations for dining. It has everything from big names like Pizza Express and Ask, to smaller and more local places that are sure to give you a feel for the area. It prides itself on its eateries, and you will not be disappointed.

You can also experience some delicious dining on the edge of Hyde Park while you are in West London. There is a range of choices when it comes to the international cuisine, and you are right on the doorstep of the prestigious Knightsbridge if you are looking for a little shopping to keep you occupied.

Kensington Palace and the Commonwealth Experience Museum are great for those who want to experience a little history and also gain some more knowledge when it comes to the local area. They are spectacular places to visit, and you really won’t want to miss out on them.

Stamford Bridge is the place to go for nightlife. Home to a number of clubs and bars, you can party your way through the night without a care in the world. There are some pretty spectacular places here, as well as some fantastic and creative drinks to go with it. You honestly won’t want to miss out on this experience.

Wembley Arena is a great choice for musical entertainment, as they have everyone and anyone playing there. Whether you are into Little Mix or Slipknot, you can guarantee they are going to have your tastes on show. Tickets tend to be priced quite well, and you can expect a great crowd for every show – not to mention a breath-taking arena for the audience.

 

Things for Families in West London

West London is very family friendly, and it is one of the best places to raise kids – as well as entertain them. It is good to keep their minds and bodies active, so we have put together some of the best family activities in the area for you. Some of these might just make for your next day out together.

KidZania is an amazing amusement attraction for kids of all ages, and it is something that is sure to not only stimulate their senses and their minds. It gives them social interaction, an enjoyable play experience, and even the chance to make new friends. Plus, there is a place for parents to chill out for a few hours while the kids play.

Chelsea Football Club Museum is perfect for kids who are big fans of sports, and they are sure to enjoy the guided tours that take place each day. It’s a wonderful experience, and fans of the club are sure to be left feeling amazed and educated once the tour is over. Even if you don’t take the tour, it still makes for a wonderful day out.

 

To Conclude

Hopefully, this guide to life in West London has been helpful for you when it comes to deciding whether or not this is the kind of place you would like to live. Known for being one of the finest and most beautiful areas in London, not to mention among the most expensive, you are sure to find yourself swept away by the lifestyle and the people. There is so much to see and do, but it’s also an amazing place to raise a family.

What did you think of this guide? Is there anything that you would have added? We love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a message in the comments below.

moving to east london

Moving to East London

 

East London is an area that used to have a pretty bad reputation but it is fast becoming one of the most desirable places to live in the capital. It still has a little way to go, but the up and coming nature of the zone means that buying a house or flat here now will serve you well in the future. In this guide, we help you to decide if moving to East London is the right choice for you. Take a look and see if this is the London zone that appeals to you the most.

 

 

Where to Go in East London?

East London has been through a lot. It fell into a pit of economic despair and became one of the worst places to live in London, if not the worst. For a while, it was an area that was avoided by many people, and house prices never reached the giddy heights of other parts of London as a result. However, as the economy has made a steady improvement, East London has become a more vibrant and desirable place to live. Yes, there are some areas that are best avoided, but there are others that are now highly sought after locations to live in and work in.

If you are looking at E postcodes, here is all the information you need:

If money is no problem, a great place to look at is St Katharine Docks. A beautiful and upmarket area, it’s one to go for if you have no money concerns. Wapping is another gorgeous location, and one of the rising beauties in East London. If you are on a budget, but want to take advantage of the housing market, some areas of Hackney (but maybe not for long), Walthamstow, Dalston, and Whitechapel are good options.

However, there are a few places in the E postcode where regeneration has not yet started. These areas are Beckton, East and West Ham, as well as some parts of Hackney. It’s important to do your research before you make your choice, but these areas are ones you might want to avoid if you seek an already well-established property market or, alternatively one to head straight for if you hope to make a good investment and think E London might be the place.

 

Property Prices in East London

When it comes to the price of houses and flats in East London, you will find that there is quite a price gap. The prices start as low as £155,000 and can go as high as £4.6 million, all depending on the area that you are looking to live in. In the above section, we go through the best areas in the postcode area to live in according to your budget.

Taking a look at property prices as a whole for the area of East London, however, we found that the current average is £645,000. If we take an even closer look at this figure, we also learned that the average price for a house and flat differ quite significantly in terms of average price, with the former currently set at £807,000 and the latter at £598,000. Of course, the prices vary depending on where you decide to live, and you can expect the market to change as time goes by. You are also likely to find properties that are priced differently, with some at a lower price, and others at a higher one. As a note, all of the averages here are correct as of September, 2017.

Here are some statistics for the number of bedrooms you can expect to find in East London homes, and the percentage of total homes that they make up:

  • 45% 2 bed properties
  • 22% 1 bed properties
  • 20% 3 bed properties
  • 6% 4 bed properties
  • 4% Studios
  • 2% 5 bed properties
  • 1% 6 bed properties
  • 0% 7 bed properties
  • 0% 8 bed properties
  • 0% 12 bed properties

As with all other parts of London two bedroom properties outnumber all others quite significantly, which could be great for couples or young professionals looking for their first time buy.

westfield stratford east london

Travelling in East London

The 2012 Olympics being held in London did the East of the city a world of good. In fact, without them, it is likely that many of these improvements would still be underway, or possibly not started at all. The refurbishment meant that the underground and general stations were remodelled, and new stations were developed, creating a better-connected area.

There are a large number of rail connections and underground stations in East London, so getting around should not be a problem. A new train scheme is also enjoying further development to widen the reach of the East London rail network. If the train is not something you enjoy, however, there are plenty of buses that you can take instead.

Driving is an option in East London, but it is not something that is recommended. Aside from things like congestion charges, it often takes twice as long to get anywhere using a car than public transport. Traffic can be pretty terrible in the city, and so much of the time you are better off looking at an alternative mode of transportation for your daily commute.

 

Meeting People in East London

Everyone needs a social group, whether it is a small and close knit one or a large one. When moving it East London, one of the things you need to consider is how you are going to find some new people to hang out with. You will want to meet like-minded people, and this can take a little time. Of course, with many people working a standard 9-5 job, you will usually have better luck in the evening’s, but a growing self-employed population is making it easier to meet new people at all hours of the day. If you do a quick internet search, you are sure to find some great local hotspots that perfectly suit your mood on any day of the week.

 

Places to Work in East London

The East London job market is one that is rapidly increasing. With over 600,000 people making a living in the East End and Docklands, as well as an additional one million jobs coming by 2026, the East of the capital is really making a comeback after its economic collapse back in 2008.

It is true that blue collar jobs are no longer the most prominent in the area. The service industry is what now dominates the East of London, and it is an area that you are likely to find yourself hired in very quickly should you decide to move here. White collar positions, such as those in publishing, retail, and finance, have made quick work of replacing these blue-collar positions.

The Olympics really helped when it came to expanding the hospitality industry, which now accounts for 19% of East London’s workforce, making it an ideal location for those who are seeking hospitality work in the city. Similarly, the legal sector has seen a rather large increase in the area, and it now makes up 31% of the East London workforce, an impressive number that has been helped by Barclays and HSBC (among others) moving their headquarters to this area.

An amazing one in four jobs in the area belong to those who work in healthcare and the public sector, which is great for those who want to become teachers or health professionals. East London is most certainly making a comeback, and the amount of work that is currently (as well as soon to be) available is both good for the area’s economy and those who are looking to move there.

moving to east london

Places to Go in East London

There are so many places that you can go, and loads of things that you are sure to enjoy. The East of London has a lot going for it in terms of entertainment, and we promise that there are wonderful places to go for anyone on just about any budget. Here are some of our top recommendations for places to go in East London.

Westfields shopping centre is one of the best places to go if you are looking for an excellent shopping selection at a range of prices. There is something for everyone here, and it makes for a great day out with family and friends. You can shop until you drop, and then head off for a delicious meal straight after.

One of the nation’s favourite places is Spitalfields Market. A classic place to find unusual items and excellent bargains, everyone should visit this iconic location. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss, and one that every resident should have. You may even find yourself visiting more than once in a blue moon.

Canary Wharf is one of the most famous locations for shopping and restaurants in London. There are some amazing places here, some of which are the most renowned in the capital. When you are looking to spend some time away from home, you need to visit Canary Wharf at least once during your day out. The shopping and restaurants are not to be missed.

Probably the most iconic and memorable place in East London, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was home to the 2012 London Olympics, and it signified one of the proudest events that our country has played host to. Now a beautiful and fun place to spend the day, make sure you take the time to visit and have a little fun. We hear there are some great activities.

If you are more of a spectator sports person, Football and Greyhound racing takes place in the East London stadiums. Living here, you are never too far from the action, and it means that you won’t have to worry too much about travel when it comes to seeing a big match or race. Take your friends and family out for a day of adrenaline fuelled fun that everyone can enjoy.

Epping Forest is the perfect way to get away from city life for a few hours, and it makes the perfect location for walking and cycling. With a number of paths to follow, you can take time off from the noise and bustle of the city and just enjoy the natural world around you. Take the dog, or yourself, for a long walk and let yourself relax for a while.

If you are looking for good nightlife, Shoreditch is the place to go for cool restaurants and bars. It’s known for its excellent entertainment, and the clubs are something else. Make sure you take the time to explore this famous area and try out everything it has to offer. If you are the kind of person who lives for the night, you are going to love the Shoreditch clubs and bars.

victoria park - moving to east london

Things for Families in East London

East London is not as family friendly as other areas, but it is certainly getting there. While it may take a little time, you can rest assured that you will find more family activities to get involved in as time goes by. In the meantime, here are some of the best places for you to go if you are looking for a fun family day out.

The Royal Maritime Museum and the Museum of Childhood are just two options when it comes to taking your children out on a fun and education day trip. Museums are great places to learn and have fun, so you are sure to find a lot of benefits to taking your kids here. Out of the East London museums, these two are definitely two of the best.

The London Aquatics centre is also a great place to visit if your little ones are looking to make a splash with this exciting watery wonderland. For more aquatic adventures, you also have the Victoria Park fountain playground for kids, which is sure to excite quite a few of your smaller family members.

City farms are a great place for kids to learn about animals and where things come from. Living in the city, many children are not going to see farm animals, and some even wonder where milk actually comes from. Giving them the opportunity to visit a real farm shows them what these animals are and where milk and eggs actually come from.

 

To Conclude

Hopefully, this guide to life in East London has been helpful for you when it comes to deciding whether or not this is the kind of place you would like to live. While it has had a bad reputation in the past, that’s exactly where it’s staying, and its new reputation is one that is continuing to grow. Fast becoming a sought after place to live, you are not going to want to miss an opportunity to snap up a house here. There’s something for everyone in East London, and it could very well be your next home.

What did you think of this guide? Is there anything that you would have added? We love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a message in the comments below.

wimbledon village south west london

Moving to South London

South London has a lot to offer, and it is home to some of the most prominent landmarks in the country such as the London Eye. There is so much to see and do, that you will be spoiled for choice when trying to plan a day out. Whether you are single and ready to mingle or have just started a family, South London has something that will suit your current situation. We have created this guide to help you decide whether or not moving to South London is right for you, but also to see what the city has to offer. Take a look and see if South London is your next stop.

 

Preparing to Move

Moving to a new area requires energy and effort – researching new places, checking out facilities, wading through properties on RightMove and then actually going to view them – it’s exhausting! And once you find a place you need to organise the removals, make sure you pack up all your possessions carefully so that nothing gets damaged and unpack again at the other end.

Before you get to that stage though you need to check out all the possible areas you might want to live. Knowing a bit about an area before you move there is essential for a contented life and an exciting adventure.

 

Where to Go in South London?

South London offers some amazing places to live, as well as some areas that are definitely best avoided. There isn’t actually an S postcode in London, instead you have SE and SW. In this section, we take a look at each postcode area, showing you the best places to live according to your budget – as well as the ones you should really be careful about.

clapham-common-band-stand

If you are looking at SE postcodes, here is all the information you need:

If money is no problem, a great place to look at is Blackheath. A beautiful and upmarket area, it’s one to go for if you have no money concerns. If you have some cash to spare, but still need to keep an eye on it at times, Greenwich is the place for you. A classic location that is one of the most popular and well-known in the city, you’ll find that life here is quite fine. If you are on a budget, but still want to experience a nice living location, Peckham, Abbey Wood, New Cross, or Kennington make excellent choices.

If you are looking at the SW postcodes, however, then here is a little information for you:

Wimbledon is one of the best, and most attractive, areas in south west London. Clapham is pretty good too, depending on the actual part you choose. If you’re on a budget, you can still live in some lovely areas. The best places if you are a little strapped are Tooting, Streatham, Battersea, and Wandsworth.

 

Property Prices in South London

When it comes to the price of houses and flats in South London, you will find that there is quite a wide variation. The prices start as low as £150,000 and can go as high as £8.7 million, all depending on the area in which you decide to live. If you take a look at the section above, you can find the perfect locations to live in according to your budget.

Taking a look at property prices as a whole for the area of South London, however, we found that the current average is £660,000. If we take an even closer look at this figure, we also learned that the average price for a house and flat differ quite significantly in terms of average price, with the former currently set at £925,000 and the latter at £545,000. Of course, the prices vary depending on where you decide to live, and you can never rely on the London property market remaining unchanged for long. You are quite likely to find properties that are less, or even more, than the averages here. As a note, all of the averages here are correct as of September, 2017.

clapham houses south london

Here are some statistics for the number of bedrooms you can expect to find in South London homes, and the percentage of total homes that they make up:

  • 40% 2 bed properties
  • 22% 3 bed properties
  • 19% 1 bed properties
  • 11% 4 bed properties
  • 5% 5 bed properties
  • 3% Studios
  • 1% 6 bed properties
  • 0% 7 bed properties
  • 0% 8 bed properties
  • 0% 9 bed properties
  • 0% 11 bed properties
  • 0% 12 bed properties

As you can see, there are a large number of two bedroom properties. This is perfect for families, or friends who are looking for a flat to share while they save enough money to live on their own. No matter your plans or circumstances, South London has a property that is sure to be perfect for you.

 

Travelling in South London

As with the rest of the capital, South London does suffer from some serious traffic issues. For those that drive a car around the city and end up in traffic, there is a Congestion Charge that could almost certainly put you off using your own vehicle in this busy part of the city. As with most other areas in the capital, using public transport is often the fastest (and most environmentally friendly) way to travel.

Of course, buses travel on the roads and so they are bound to get stuck in traffic from time to time. For those that want to ensure that they are almost always on time, the underground network is probably your best bet. You’d be surprised how low the price is, and it’s definitely the fastest way across the city.

In the South East of London, you can use the river bus as well – a nifty and relatively quick form of transport that can take you from one side of the city to the other. It’s pretty fun to ride, and it also allows you to avoid all of that dreaded morning traffic. Definitely give it a go at least once!

Greenwich-Market

Meeting People in South London

If you are moving to South London, you are sure to meet some like-minded people and build some strong friendships. Of course, many people work standard office jobs, and so you are likely to meet more people after work hours and on the weekends. Of course, you may still find some luck during the day, as there are those who are self-employed or who have shift work. Try to find some local hotspots and see if anyone interesting makes their way there.

Of course, we are here to help you move and to make it as smooth and easy an experience as possible. Moving to a new city can be terrifying as well as isolating, and that is not something we want you to experience So, here are some of the top ways you can meet new people, battle your fears, and make some new city friends:

  • The local pub or bar. Many people will be here after work for a drink alone or with others. Don’t be shy, most won’t mind you going up to say hello and introduce yourself.
  • Sports Clubs or Gyms – get fit and meet like-minded people
  • Work – many Londoners socialise with colleagues either in the centre of the city or in more local drinking spots and eateries.

 

Food Shopping

Living in London, as with many major cities, is more expensive than other parts of the UK. Fares, petrol even getting a simple repair job done on your new home can all cost more. Fortunately some things are the same price as any other area of the UK and that especially goes for groceries – if you buy at the major supermarkets.

 

Places to Work in South London

South London has a growing population of over one million people, and an incredibly active workforce. Parts of South East London are rapidly becoming some of the most popular places to live and work, especially with generally lower prices for homes – although still a long way from cheap. South West London, on the other hand, is home to some of the best shopping and leisure centres, with jobs in these areas being in quite high demand and property prices rivalling the most expensive parts of Central London.

Croydon is home to some of the biggest head offices in the country, and it is one of the top locations for businesses to plant their HQ. Everything is there, and it is the ideal place for those who want a stable office job with a big company. Plus, it is continuing to expand and increase in popularity – making it a good place to start looking for work.

Start-ups are all the rage at the moment, and we are seeing more self-employed people than ever in this country. It is a wonderful time to be innovative, and whether you want to start your own company or work for a start-up that you admire, South London is the perfect match for you. Now is the time to do something you love, and this is the location that will serve you best.

Retail is an area that always needs employees, and with some of the best shopping in the city, South London is ideal for those who want to work in this sector.

imperial-war-museum-south-london

Places to Go in South London

Whether you are living in the SE or SW postcode, there are so many places that you can go, and loads of things that you are sure to enjoy. The South of London does tend to be one of the more expensive areas, but we promise that there are wonderful places to go for anyone on just about any budget. Here are some of our top recommendations for places to go in South London.

You simply have to try Frank’s Café in Peckham during the summer months. Located at the top of a multi-storey car park, it offers a unique location as well as some spectacular views while you sit back and enjoy a spectacularly cool drink. Even if you don’t end up moving to South London, you need to take the time to visit.

Southwark is famous for its entertainment, shopping, and stunning cathedral. If you want a fun day out, then this is where you need to be. It’s a beautiful area and it has so much to offer, both in terms of luxurious shopping and delicious local places that you won’t want to miss out on. It’s an area that really gave the economy a boost, so go and pay thanks by treating yourself to a little fun.

Within easy reach of the main South London residential areas, King’s Road and Knightsbridge are the most chic and glamorous shopping areas in the capital, not to mention the home of Harrods – everyone’s favourite department store. Plus, Harvey Nichols is just a few doors down, giving you the high-end shopping experience that you deserve. Kensington High Street is another popular shopping area, especially when it comes to women’s fashion – and these could all be just a short trip from your new home.

If you are looking to treat yourself or loved ones to a delicious dinner, there are only two places to go – Kensington and Chelsea – and again these are within easy reach of most of South London. These areas are home to restaurants owned by the likes of Gordon Ramsay, and while the prices are high, the quality is well worth the extra expense. However, if you are looking for a wider range of restaurants at a more reasonable price, Clapham has a great selection for you.

When it comes to general attractions and days out, South London has a lot to offer. Southbank is just one of these, which is home to the London Eye, the London Dungeons, and a whole host of other exciting events. You also have the Palace of Westminster and Parliament, as well as the Tate Britain and Battersea Power Station. Plus, you have the beautiful Hyde Park to relax in on sunny days.

wimbledon village south west london

Things for Families in South London

You will find the SE postcode is a little more family friendly than the SW one, but either way, South London has a lot to offer, and you are sure to love it all. There are loads of activities available for every member of the family, and we are sure you will find something that is perfect for you. Here are our top recommendations for family activities in South London.

The London Aquarium on Southbank is an amazing place to take children for an experience that is both fun and educational. The entry prices are relatively low, and there are plenty of special offers running throughout the year to keep the costs as low as possible for you. With a great range of sea life to discover, hours of fun are sure to be spent here.

There are also plenty of museums that you and your children can visit to learn more about the history of the city, England, and the world. Some of the museums in the area are the Imperial War Museum, the Greenwich Maritime Museum and the Horniman Museum. These offer a range of history and experiences that every child (and adult) can benefit from.

There are also a number of farms in the South of London that children can visit to learn about animals and how to look after them. For children in the city, it is rare to see farm animals, so this is often a great experience. If farms aren’t your thing, however, you also have some great bowling alleys and entertainment centres, not to mention swimming pools (including several open-air Lidos) and jungle gyms.

 

To Conclude

Hopefully, you have found this guide to South London helpful, and it has given you a good insight when it comes to deciding whether or not you want to move to this part of London. With a lot of things to do, it is perfect for those with families, as well as those who find more enjoyment in the nightlife scenes. Regardless of your budget, there is an area here that will fit your needs, not to mention a range of stunning locations to visit on a day out. For other areas of the city, check out our guides on moving to North, East, and West London.

What did you think of this guide? Is there anything that you would have added? We love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a message in the comments below.

cost of moving house

How to cut the cost of moving house

Smart savings on the cost of moving house for an expensive time of life.

 

Alongside divorce and the death of a loved one, moving house is said to be one of life’s biggest upheavals. Uprooting yourself – and your family, pets and possessions – to another location presents some pretty steep logistical challenges and costs can soon spiral out of control. However, if you’ve got to move house to a strict budget then there are ways to help cut the costs.

 

Estate agent fees

 

The new generation of online estate agents has caused buyers, sellers and renters to re-examine whether it’s even necessary to pay agent’s fees anymore. Many online sites offer fee free sales – “no commission” – and there’s no doubt that this can considerably cut the cost of your move. Estate agents usually charge 0.75% – 3.5% of the price of the property, which can end up being a substantial sum. The key is to work out whether a full service estate agent is likely to be worth their weight in gold if you don’t have time to manage any of the process yourself. Or whether cutting them out of the loop will provide a bigger saving.

 

Removals

 

If you want to absolutely slash the cost of your removals the cheapest ways to do it is to hire a van and manage the entire operation yourself, perhaps with the help of friends and family. Depending on your possessions and where you’re moving to this may not be possible. If you’re bringing in the professionals then shop around before agreeing to anything. The range of quotes you’ll receive is likely to be vast so it’s worth the effort to find the cheapest. Don’t be afraid to negotiate and if you find a cheaper quote elsewhere then ask other companies to match it.

 

The cost of your mortgage

 

According to Lloyds, mortgage fees have more than trebled over the last decade. This extra expense can add substantially to your moving costs and rarely feels like value for money. If you want to reduce your mortgage fee – or remove it altogether – you can opt for a fee free mortgage. The trade off is that your interest rate rises slightly. However, if you’d rather bear the cost of the mortgage via the monthly payments, rather than in a lump sum on moving day, it can be a more attractive choice.

 

Reduce stamp duty

 

Stamp duty is one of the most significant moving costs but things have changed in recent years with a system better designed to be less expensive. Although you can’t haggle stamp duty, you can haggle the price of the property down so that it sits within a cheaper stamp duty threshold. Some new build homes also offer stamp duty paid as part of the deal – and it’s a feature of negotiations that you can always request.

 

Buy the freehold

 

Although buying the freehold will add to your initial moving costs it’s something that could save you thousands further down the line. If you’re not the freeholder then you’ll have to pay ground rent and service charges each year to whoever is for as long as you own the property. If you’re the freeholder then there’s nothing to pay.

Little Venice - North London

Moving to North London

 

North London is an exciting place to live. With a bustling and busy community, you will never be short of entertainment in this part of England’s capital. With some amazing places to live and exciting things to do, North London has a little something for both families and those who like to party through the night time hours. In this guide, we take a look at moving to North London – giving you all the information you need before you decide to take the next step.

 

Preparing to Move

Of course, preparing to move to a new area takes a lot of patience and effort if it is going to be done right. You need to sort out all of the legal work for your new and existing property so that everything can be exchanged both legally and efficiently. After that, you need to organise movers, try to locate boxes, and ensure that you pack your home up carefully so that nothing is forgotten – not to mention get rid of any of the old furniture or items you won’t be bringing with you.

However, before you do any of that, you need to research where it is you are going to be living. You need to know all about the place you want to move to – from which areas are good, to those that are a little more dangerous, as well as the things that you can do for fun or to form new friendships. Research is the key to successful living, so that you know what you are getting before you even get there.

Preparing to move involves quite a few different steps, and it is important that you go through each of them carefully so that you can ensure everything is done properly. Do this, and you will be enjoying your next home (and newest adventure) in no time at all.

Hampstead Heath - Moving To North London

Where to Go in North London?

There are some great places to live in North London, and you will be pleased to know that very few areas are ones that you should be cautious about. If you are looking at N postcodes, here are some of the best areas, depending on your budget, as well as the ones to be careful about:

If money isn’t a problem, one of the best places to live in the N postcode is Highgate. If you have money to spare, but still need to watch it a little, Crouch End is your best bet. For those who are on a budget, you might want to take a look at Finsbury Park instead. A lovely area, but with much lower prices.

There are some areas in the N postcode that you might want to be cautious about, as we mentioned before. They tend to be a little rougher and require some research if you are planning on moving to them. These areas are South Tottenham, Seven Sisters, and Edmonton.

NW postcodes also offer some great accommodation. If you are looking at this postcode area, here are some of the places you should consider living, as well as those for which you should exert some caution if you are looking at homes there.

If money isn’t a problem, take a look at Hampstead and Primrose Hill – there are some beautiful properties there. If you have money to spare, but still need to keep an eye on it, look at Belsize Park, Tufnell Park, or Queen’s Park. If you are on a budget, Kilburn, Kentish Town, and Willesden are lovely places that offer a lower price.

When it comes to areas in the NW postcode that you should be cautious of, these places are Camden Town, South Hampstead, and Somers Town. They tend to be a little rougher, so research carefully if you do decide to move there.

hampstead and highgate - north london

Property Prices in North London

The price of houses and flats in North London can vary massively. Prices can start as low as £175,000 and go as high as £15 million – it all depends on where you decide to live. In our Where to Go in North London section (above), we look in more detail at the best places to live in North London according to your budget.

When looking at property prices, however, the average property value for the area is currently £768,965 (correct as of September 2017). Looking more closely at property types, it is also clear that houses and flats have different average values. Flats are averaging at around £650,000 whereas houses are at an incredible £1 million. Of course, the price will vary depending on where in North London you live, and so you may find properties that are less (or possibly more) than the averages we have listed here. All averages are correct as of September 2017.

Here are some statistics for the number of bedrooms you can expect to find in North London homes, and the percentage of total homes that they make up:

  • 40% 2 bed properties
  • 21% 3 bed properties
  • 20% 1 bed properties
  • 10% 4 bed properties
  • 4% 5 bed properties
  • 2% Studios
  • 1% 6 bed properties
  • 0% 7 bed properties
  • 0% 8 bed properties
  • 0% 9 bed properties
  • 0% 13 bed properties

As you can see, there are a large number of two bedroom properties. This is perfect for families, or friends who are looking for a flat to share while they save enough money to live on their own. No matter your plans or circumstances, North London has a property that is sure to be perfect for you.

 

Travelling in North London

North London does have quite a large population. As a result, you can expect to experience congestion on the roads – and the growing number of people living there will only make this worse. While public transport can be busy, this is definitely recommended as your primary form of transport. It is cheaper, often faster, and also helps you to avoid things like congestion charges.

Many road routes have designated bus lanes to prevent public transport from getting caught up in traffic. However, the fastest way to get around is by using the tube. North London boasts an excellent 27 underground stations – allowing you to get around much faster than if you were using the roads. Just remember that peak times can leave you feeling a little squished.

camden-lock moving to north london

Meeting People in North London

If you are moving to North London and you are looking to meet new people, you are both in and out of luck. You see, during work hours you will find that the majority of residents are very conservative and unwilling to stop and chat. The work day is a busy one, and any time away from it is fleeting and to be savoured. So, if you are working night shifts, you might find yourself out of luck during the day.

However, evenings and weekend are a different story. You will find that during these times the city is bustling with people – and with so many around, you are sure to find at least one that you get along with. Moving to the big city can be a pretty scary move, and one that leaves you feeling quite alone.

To help you battle your fears, here are some of the top places you can go to try and make some new London friends:

  • The local pub or bar. Many people will be here after work for a drink alone or with others. Don’t be shy, most won’t mind you going up to say hello and introduce yourself.
  • Meetup websites. Meetup.com is the most popular one, and you can use it to find people in your local area who share your interests. It’s one of the best and easiest ways.
  • You might actually find yourself socialising with your colleagues from your new job. This stuff takes time, so make sure you don’t get too down if you have no work friends after your first week.
  • Dating websites. You never know where you will find love, but dating sites can be a good place to start. Try a few out, because you never know, you might meet a new friend or partner.

 

What About Groceries?

It is a well-known fact that the cost of living in London is more expensive than other parts of the UK (and in some cases, the world). However, are groceries really more expensive in London than they are across the rest of England? The answer is no. Of course, some supermarkets are more expensive than others, but you will often find the pricier places have the best quality food. Regardless, they are still priced the same as they would be outside of London.

Here are supermarkets on the budget end of the scale:

  • ASDA
  • Iceland
  • Lidl
  • Aldi

Here are the supermarkets that are considered to be in the centre of the scale:

  • Tesco
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Morrison’s

Here are the supermarkets that are seen as ones on the pricier end of the scale:

  • M&S
  • Waitrose
  • Ocado (online only)

 

Places to Work in North London

North London has a growing population of over one million people, and an active workforce of around 300,000. It is an important part of the city’s economy, with the public sector being the largest contributor in this area.

This includes public administration, health, and education. In fact, around 40% of the workers in North London are employed by the public sector, so if this is where you are moving, you might want to consider work in this area. Additionally, Hackney and Camden Council are two of the largest employers, so take a look at these locations first.

Retail and restaurant/bar work are two of the next largest job areas in North London, accounting for 23% of the workforce in the area. There are quite a number of town centres in North London, each of which boasts an exciting and new range of shops, cafes, and other such locations. Major shopping areas include Edgware, Enfield Town, Walthamstow, and Wood Green. As for restaurants, bars, and similar premises, you are going to find them all over North London, as well as in the areas we just mentioned.

The creative sector is also one that is growing rapidly. Currently, there are 3,000 arts and creative businesses, and these employ around 12,000 people. You’ll have a lot of luck finding work in this area in Muswell Hill, Waltham Forest, and Barnet.

Little Venice - North London

Places to Go in North London

When it comes to things to do or places to go, it really can depend on whether you are living in an N or NW postcode. The former is great for families, but poor in terms of nightlife, whereas the latter is the complete opposite. In this section, we look at some of the best places North London has to offer in terms of food, drink, shopping, and a generally good time.

North London isn’t home to trendy designer clothing stores, but it does have Camden Market. This is one of the most exciting shopping areas that London has to offer – as well as one of the most iconic. Lined with rows of unique stores and stalls, you will find things here that you simply can’t anywhere else. Camden Passage itself is home to over 350 retailers, each of which sells something a little different. It’s the perfect place to go for a quirky or unique gift.

If you are in search of a shopping bargain, then you are in luck when it comes to the north of London. Finsbury Park is one of the best places to go for bargain goods, but you are also likely to find this (as well as some interesting independent shops) on Blackstock Road, which runs between Islington and Hackney. There are a few hidden gems here that you won’t regret finding.

For days out, you will find that there is a lot to see within easy reach of North London. Kensington is home to a wide range of museums, including the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Design Museum. It is also home to Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre as well as some really special boutiques.

Hackney offers a wide range of Victorian warehouses that have been turned into galleries, showcasing some of the most spectacular designs that London (and further places) have to offer. Just about every part of North London is host to some of the finest cafes and restaurants, not to mention some pretty fabulous bars.

The nightlife in the NW postcode is excellent, and you will not be short of clubs to visit if you are looking for a night of fun and partying. In Camden, you will find that some of the clothing stores are also nightclubs – make sure to check out Cyberdog for an interesting combination of shopping and clubbing.

For those that are not into nightclubs, as well as those who are perhaps morning people, there are some wonderful parks and green spaces to take a stroll or run along at any time. Check out Alexandra Palace Park or Highgate Wood, for instance, but you will be hard-pressed to find a place that doesn’t have at least one green location for a run, stroll, or even some yoga.

 

Things for Families in North London

If you are looking for family activities, the N postcode is a much better location than the NW one. While you are likely to find some family fun in both, there is a wider range to be found in the N area. Here are some of the top North London areas for families.

Islington is one of the best areas you are likely to find if you have some money to spare and want to live in a stunning family friendly location. There are some areas that are more affordable than others, but each of them is equally beautiful. The Angel Centre boasts some fabulous boutiques and coffee shops that you won’t want to miss during a family stroll. A generally safe neighbourhood that is abundant in families, it is one of the most ideal areas to raise a family in North London.

Primrose Hill is also a lovely place to raise a family. With varying property prices, it does tend to be an area for those who have a lot of spare cash, but you might find a few hidden gems at a much more affordable one. Finsbury Park is a low-price alternative to Primrose Hill, and it is still just as safe and wonderful a place to raise a family. Plus, you have everything that North London has to offer relatively close to you.

North London is also home to the London Zoo, a perfect family day out. With a host of animals that are sure to fascinate and amaze your children, you will find that time flies by when you are hanging out here – plus, you’ll all come away from it having learned something new. It’s an interactive day out that is sure to create some fantastic memories for everyone.

Of course, you also have a wide range of stunning parks and play areas that you can take your children to for a fun family afternoon – not to mention a host of restaurants that are more than happy to have them.

 

To Conclude

Hopefully, this guide has been able to provide you with some insight into what North London has to offer if and when you decide to move there. With areas that are perfect for families and party animals alike, there is something to make everyone happy. It’s a wonderful place to live that can also accommodate just about any budget that you have in mind. Just remember to always do your research and ensure that you are ready to move to somewhere as large and bustling as London. For other areas of the city, check out our guides on moving to South, East, and West London.

What did you think of this guide? Is there anything that you would have added? We love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a message in the comments below.

extending your home

Extending Your Home: The Pros and Cons

At some point, you might at least consider the prospect of extending your home. It can be a great way to add some much-needed additional space, but it can also add value to your property if you do it right. As with anything, extensions come with a list of pros and cons that need to be carefully considered before you make the commitment and decide to extend. In this article, we look at some of the main advantages and disadvantages, helping you to decide whether or not an extension is the right path for you.

 

Sell or Extend?

The most common question people ask themselves before they even look into extensions is whether or not they should sell or extend. After all, moving house can provide a lot of adventure, but it can also wind up being a very expensive affair. Similarly, while extending your home tends to be a cheaper route for many and can add value to your home, the costs can add up to more than your expected.

The main thing you have to ask yourself is whether or not you need to move. Do you want more space? Will an extension provide you with that space? Is the reason you are looking to move due to no longer enjoying where you live? These are essential questions, and they need firm answers before you can make any decisions regarding extending your home or not.

 

Why Extend Your Home?

People like to extend their homes for a number of reasons. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Need additional space
  • Have family members coming to live with them, or moving back in
  • Want to add value to their property
  • Don’t want to move from their current neighbourhood
  • Don’t want the stress that comes with moving house
  • Like the neighbourhood they are in and don’t want to move

If you are still undecided with regards to whether or not you should extend your home, continue reading this guide. Below, we explore some of the biggest pros and cons when it comes to extensions – helping you to make a more informed choice.

modern extension

The Pros of Extending Your Home

#1 Can be Cheaper Than Buying a New Home

Purchasing a new home can end up being very expensive. Of course, you have the cost of the house itself, but you also have the additional fees that you need to pay in order to buy your next house. These are things like stamp duty and conveyancer/solicitor fees – all of which can add up to be a few thousand pounds by the time you are done. And, of course, you have to sell your existing home first, which isn’t always easy depending on economic conditions at the time.

An extension will usually cost a fraction of what you would end up spending purchasing a new home. Of course, the price of an extension can vary greatly, as it depends on the size, shape, and general layout of the additional space that you wish to have constructed. Prices can start as low as £1,500, and range far beyond the £50,000 mark.

So, if you are looking for a way to create new space in your home, but you also want to save money, an extension is an excellent option. Plus, it means you don’ have to leave your current neighbourhood – which is especially great if you have become a little attached to it.

 

#2 Certain Extensions Increase Home Value

It is true that some extension can increase the value of your home. The first of these is a conservatory. This is seen as a very desirable addition to any home, as it provides a place to relax with friends and family during the summer months, as well as the winter. For this reason, orangeries are also a popular choice. These are similar to conservatories, but are made with brick as well as glass.

If you are adding additional rooms to your home, it is important to make sure that you add bathrooms where necessary. For example, if you are adding new bedrooms upstairs, a family bathroom and an ensuite are very desirable. Similarly, having a bathroom upstairs and downstairs will certainly add a little more value to your home.

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An office or study can also add some value, especially for those who are self-employed and work from home. Having it listed as an option when you go to sell your home can be very beneficial, and may also increase the amount of interest in your home.

Loft conversions are also a good choice to make if you are looking to increase the amount of space you have, but also add some value to your home. It allows the buyers to use it as a bedroom, study, or other room when they buy it, making it a versatile choice of extension. These are becoming increasingly popular, and so it is important to make sure that you have the conversion done professionally.

 

#3 Less Stress and Hassle Than Moving Home (Usually)

When you move house, it comes with a great deal of stress and hassle. After all, there is a lot to organise, a good deal to pay for, and the waiting period can be stressful at best. A solicitor and conveyancer will deal with the paperwork for you, yes, but you still have to pay them once this is done.

On top of that, you also need to pay stamp duty, and you must also higher someone to survey your new home to ensure that it is not damaged in any way. All of this together will end up costing thousands of pounds. Plus, you have to factor in the additional costs to repair damage to your home before you sell it – even the small cosmetic items.

Aside from the cost, you also have the stress of the sale. Until the contracts are signed, and the exchange finalised, the whole thing could fall through at any time – especially if you are part of a buying chain. If the chain collapses, your sale falls through, as does your purchase. If this happens, you still have to pay all of your legal fees, which will leave you out of pocket.

The moving process can also be stressful, as you need to move all of your possessions from one home to another, which requires hiring and using a moving van. Plus, you need to make sure you have the manpower to lift all of your heavy items into the new house. Aside from hassle, this also adds additional costs.

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#4 Allows You to Stay in an Area You Like

One of the top reasons people choose to extend their home is that it allows them to stay in an area that they know and love. When you move house, you never really know what kind of area you are going to end up in, nor do you know what your neighbours will be like. Even if you do a lot of research, you know nothing until you arrive.

If you like the town, city, or village that you live in, then you may not want to move away from it. Many people form close friendships with the local people, and not everyone wants to leave that kind of atmosphere or routine. As a result, extending your home can be the better option. It means that you can expand your living space and play around with the layout, all without the hassle of moving.

 

The Cons of Extending Your Home

#1 Garage Conversions Can Decrease the Value of Your Home

If you convert your garage, it can add a lot of extra space to your home. This may seem great, but it can actually cause the value of your house to decrease. If you convert the garage, but leave nowhere to park, people will often be dissuaded from putting an offer on your home. After all, many people prefer to leave their car in a locked garage, and some garage conversions mean that you have to park on the road.

You need to consider the balance in your home as well when you go to extend. An unbalanced layout will cause the value of your property to decrease. A lack of bathrooms can be a big minus, as can extending the living room instead of converting loft space. Similarly, a lack of bedrooms and a tiny kitchen are very unattractive to families who are looking to buy a home.

The best thing you can do is talk to your estate agent before you put your home on the market. Ask them what they think, and also which extensions are popular and which will add the most value to your home. Speaking with an expert in the field is your best bet.

 

#2 Limited Space

One of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to extending your home is the fact that you are, ultimately, limited by the amount of land that you possess. Of course, if you own many acres, this might not be an issue, but for many, the available land is small. This means that while you may be able to extend your home, you could end with little to no garden (which will devalue your home), or you might not be able to extend as much as you originally wanted.

If you extend your house to the point where it appears to be squeezed into its lot, this can leave many buyers feeling put off and disappointed with the appearance of your home. It can also be unsightly for neighbours, and ultimately leads to you running out of space outside of the house.

 

#3 Can be Limited by Planning Permission

Planning permission is the bane of many extensions. After all, it only takes a few complaints for the council to consider denying you the permission you are looking for. This can be a very stressful period, as the waiting time for planning can last a few months, and in that time your neighbours are free to state whether or not they agree (and accept) your choice of extension.

You may also live in an area (or a home) that has limits on the amount of planning permission that can be granted. This can massively impact your extension plans, and sometimes even thwart them completely. Getting planning permission can be a tricky, time consuming, and stressful process. Before you extend, make sure you think carefully about whether or not it’s worth it.

 

#4 Extensions Can be Messy and Time Consuming

One of the things you can never predict about an extension is how long it will take to build. You will be given an estimate, but the majority of the time you will find it takes several months more than planned. Delays happen, and sometimes you may need to demolish and reconstruct parts of the extension if the council inspector deems the current building work to be outside of the guidelines and rules.

Before you opt to extend your home, it is first important that you decide if you are comfortable with the process being completed at least six months after the expected date. Putting this extra time on gives you a good estimate and helps you to be prepared – emotionally and financially.

Having an extension built is also messy work a lot of the time. Your house will practically be a building site for the duration of the extension work. You can expect to find dust, debris, and muddy footprints throughout the main area of your home while it is being worked on, and there will likely be a few cold nights when new areas are being constructed. Before building work commences, you need to take this into consideration and ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

 

Other Things to Consider

Here are some of the other things you may want to consider if you are thinking of having building work done on your home. After all, there is more to think about than the pros and cons listed above.

 

Finding a Good Builder

If you have made a choice to go forward with your extension, you need to make sure that you employ a good builder, and that they have reliable workers. Of course, this is never a simple task, especially with the number of ‘cowboy’ companies that are out there. A lot of people feel quite tense when they go to choose a builder, but a lot of the time it will work out well.

Recommendations from family and friends are a good place to start, as they can tell you about their own experiences, as well as which companies they think are the best. Often, you will be steered towards online reviews on websites like Facebook. While this can be a good place to get a general idea, reviews on these sites are often left by friends and family to get the rating higher.

The council can also be a good place to look, as they will have a list of companies that they have used for work in the past. If you are struggling to find a company based on recommendations and reviews, this can be one of the best paths to take. Generally, the building companies used by the council are reliable and offer a fair quote, which is always beneficial.

Before you make your choice, make sure you get a quote off each of the builders you have spoken to. That way, you will have a list of prices so that you can choose one that suits your budget. However, it also gives you some space to negotiate a higher price with your chosen builder if they have a higher quote than your other options.

Most will be open to the prospect of negotiation as long as you are both polite and fair when you initiate the process. Asking for too much off is insulting, so make sure you are prepared to haggle and that you treat the builder with respect when negotiating.

 

Stay or Away?

When extensions are being built, and work is being done on the home, some families choose to move away from their houses while the job is being done storing furniture and belongings elsewhere, and others choose to stay. This is something you will need to consider should you decide to expand your current home.

For those that work nights, and for those that have children, staying away from the home can often mean a less disruptive schedule. Night workers are less likely to end up with disruption during the day when they are trying to sleep, and children are more likely to remain in their usual routines.

Staying away usually means that people take one of the following options:

  • Stay at a hotel or B&B
  • Stay with relatives
  • Stay with friends
  • Rent a flat or house

Some of the choices are more expensive than others, so make sure you consider the cost before you make a decision if you are staying away. Remaining in the home is often the cheapest and easiest option, and it also leaves you with the freedom that comes with having your own house. Just make sure that you won’t find yourself too disrupted by all the building work.

 

Who is the Extension for?

This is a question that you might not have thought too much about. When you go to extend your home, ask yourself who this extension is for. Are you building it for your parents or adult children? Is it to give you extra space to work? Do your young children need a larger place to sleep and play?

An increasing number of families are moving in together, with parents and adult children having separate houses on the same land. It is cheaper, easier, and it also means that everyone is close together just in case they need anything. However, it also offers everyone their own space that is completely private.

If this is your plan, you need to carefully consider the extension, but also the amount of land you have to play with. Is it worth moving house and finding somewhere that comes with more land so that you can build an additional house? Some people will convert the space over the garage for a parent that is moving back, but others will require additional space for a larger number of returning family members.

The reason for your extension should be something you put a lot of thought into. It’s good to ensure that you are extending for the right reasons, but also to make sure that it’s worth it and that it’s easier than moving house. Once you have confirmed the reason for your extension, as well as who it is for, you can then take a look at how to go about it.

 

To Conclude

Hopefully, this guide has given you some insight into the advantages and disadvantages of extending your home. It’s never an easy choice to make, nor is it a decision that should ever be taken lightly. As with anything, it also comes with a number of risks that could end up causing the project to cost a lot more money, but also take up a much larger amount of time than previously anticipated. However, once the job is done, you should be left with a wonderful extension that allows you to open up your home and use some much-needed extra space. Despite the risks, it can be a wonderful solution for those who need space but don’t want to leave their home (or their area).