Store First | How to find your forever home

How to find your forever home

12 Sep 2019 –– Tips & Advice

Surveys conducted by Nested.com showed that 53% of British people were looking to move house, as they were not satisfied with their current home.

Another study, by the Nottingham, revealed that the average age we expect to find out forever home is 41, although the average age of those who had already found it was a little younger, at 36.

What do people look for in a forever home?

So what's the most important factor we are searching for when we look for our forever homes?

You may think the famous "location, location, location" is everything. But in fact, more than 57% of people looking to move house and find their forever home said size matters. They said size was the most important factor in searching for their forever home, shortly followed by the number of bedrooms. In fact, location was actually the third most important factor in choosing a forever home, with 52% of people ranking it as a top criterion.

What else are we looking for in our seemingly endless quest for the perfect pad? Well, other factors that cropped up in the survey by Nested.com on what we look for when planning to move house for good included price, nearby green spaces and good public transport connections.

According to First Direct, women want their forever home to include a large kitchen, private garden, en-suite bathroom and bath. Location-wise, women are apparently keen to find a place close to a supermarket, family and friends, countryside and plenty of peace and quiet.

Meanwhile, men's priorities are slightly different, according to research by First Direct.

While men agreed that a large kitchen, private garden and en-suite bathroom were important, they viewed having their own garage as crucial.

Similarly, while men and women can settle on nearby green spaces, peaceful surroundings and a supermarket being key, a quarter of men surveyed thought a local pub was essential.

Where do people find their forever homes more easily?

People living in Glasgow and Liverpool are statistically most likely to have found their forever home, as 58% of those quizzed by The Nottingham claimed they had found The One. Other cities with high numbers of people living in their forever homes already were Sheffield, Cardiff and Manchester.

How much will a forever home cost?

The average house costs £227,000. However, the amount survey participants believed they would need to secure their ideal home was much higher at £474,389.

In fact, one in 10 people expect to spend as much as £1 million on their dream home, with one in 20 people open to spending as much as a staggering £5 million.

How old should I be when I buy my forever home?

Of course, there's no official age by which you should have found your forever home, just like there's no age you "should" be married, have had children or secured your dream job. It's crucial not to put pressure on yourself or compare yourself to other people, as everyone's situation is different (and we never quite know what others are going through).

However, research conducted by First Direct in 2016 revealed the average age people moved into their forever homes was 40. As the average age of a first-time buyer is 30, this gives you a decade from stepping onto the property ladder to finding your dream property.

Similarly, results of a 2015 survey of 2,000 homeowners by Tepilo, Sarah Beeny's estate agency, stated that we're most likely to move into our forever home aged 44. At this age, we should have enough time to pay off a 20-25 year mortgage in time for retirement.

What are the benefits of finding a forever home?

Let's be clear about one thing. Moving house is a headache! So really, who wants to keep doing it every few years when situations evolve and your current home no longer suits your lifestyle? And while we are, of course, here to make moving house easier and less stressful, we understand it's not the most enjoyable time in your life.

Evidently, finding your forever home at a younger age and saving yourself from a series of stressful house moves is a solid plan and one we can all get behind.

Financially, moving into your forever home around the age of 30 should give you plenty of time to pay off a standard 25-year mortgage and enjoy financial freedom by your mid-50s.

Plus, when you find your forever home early on, you have plenty of years stretching ahead of you to grow into your home, invest in it and adapt it to be the perfect property to suit your needs at every point in your life.

What should be on your forever home checklist?

If you're unhappy in your current home and feel like it doesn't offer the potential to see you through into the future, what should you be looking for in your search for a forever home? Here are a few guidelines on what to look for when searching for your ideal home.

Potential

Now, we're not talking about that estate agency code-word for a house in need of some serious TLC. In fact, we're referring to the actual potential for a home to grow with you and your lifestyle. Whichever stage you're at in life right now, situations change and evolve as your family grows. The trick is to find a home big enough to accommodate a growing family, yet not so big it becomes the typical "empty nest" in later life.

Therefore, when it comes to the size of your forever home, flexibility is key. Rather than looking for the largest home within your budget, think about one with an annexe or the potential to add flexible space. This can then be a separate area for teenagers, elderly parents or even for you if you wish to eventually downsize and let your children use the main property. It also provides the option to rent out space you no longer need later on.

If an annexe isn't on the cards within your chosen location or budget, assess the downstairs space to see if there is the potential to adapt it to accommodate a downstairs bedroom and bathroom - this could prove to be a lifesaver in later years.

Schools

The prospect of moving into good school catchment areas may seem premature or scary if you're searching for your forever home before planning to start a family. However, it will come around scarily quickly if you do choose to go down that path. So, when considering the location of your forever home, the proximity of good schools should be a significant factor.

Bills

Sorry to put a dampener on your search, but every home comes with the dreaded bills. And while sadly these can't be avoided completely, you can be smart about your choice of home by bearing in mind your future outgoings. Check out council tax bandings to strike a balance between the cheapest and most expensive options, and hopefully you can find an economical choice which will have plenty of kerb appeal.

Similarly, heating bills will become a major headache if you opt for a home which isn't energy-efficient. Check out a property's eco-credentials by examining the EPC (energy performance certificate), and explore other energy-saving measures you could adopt to save money on energy bills and keep the house warm in winter.

Access

Getting in and out of a property may be a breeze now, but access becomes a huge issue in later life as mobility decreases. So, while you might skip up a hill or take steps two at a time on your way into a beautiful home on a viewing at the age of 30, would this still be the case in your 70s or 80s?

Now, we don't want to be killjoys here as there are always ways to improve mobility in your chosen home, so you do have options - just be aware of this when making your choice, as a forever home needs to work for every stage of your life.

Local area

It's great to live close to good schools, supermarkets, green spaces and even pubs, so definitely keep these on your checklist. However, have you thought about the kind of local services you may need in your retirement years? Will you be close to family and friends, or even good home care and support services or hospitals if you end up needing them? Are you in a street or area that suffers from extreme weather conditions, like flooding or difficult access in snow and ice? All of these issues may seem so distant, but when it comes to forever homes, they need to be factored into the decision-making process.

However, if you haven't found your forever home yet, don't panic. Many people prefer to live in multiple homes over the years as their circumstances and needs change, which also makes perfect sense - so decide which is the right plan for you and don't worry about pressure from others who are navigating their own path in life.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on forever homes. Have you found yours, or are you currently looking? Or, do you hate the idea and prefer to stay on the move, living in different properties that work at different stages in your life? Let us know your thoughts on our social media pages!