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Think ... then stop and think again.

Buying and selling your home is one of the most expensive and stressful things people do in their lives. Its up there with death, divorce and Christmas on stress and cost. It may go wonderfully - you find the house of your dreams, your offer is accepted, you get the mortgage you need easily and the move happens without a hitch, but STILL it'll be expensive and stressful! If things go badly….well, let's just try to make sure they don't.

At a conservative estimate, buying and selling your house will cost at least 5% of the property price and typically takes around three months to complete. Consider your options if you don't move - can you fix the reasons you need to move without moving?

So, before you rush into anything it is worth trying to list why you want to move and then to examine each of those reasons one by one. Here is a completely subjective and biased view of reasons to buy and sell:

Good reasons to move


Bad reasons to move

We need a bigger house

Once the 3rd kid arrives, the batchelor pad in the centre of town, which seemed so convenient for the night clubs, may seem a little cramped.

However, all is not lost. There are lots of things you can do with your current home (although many do involve builders). See below for ways round the problem of not enough space

Over the past fifty years or so property has been a great investment - but so has the stock market. Shares have the advantages that you can trade them whenever you want and much more cheaply than a house. Also, when you move your portfolio you don't have to shift it round in a large truck.

For a very cogent discussion about the finances of owning a house, take a look at The Motley Fool

We need to get on the 'Housing Ladder'

We don't want to live together

If you really don't want to be with each other, somebody's got to move out. Do some careful sums on the finance side to decide what's the best option. If you can avoid divorcing at the same time as dealing with property, it'll help. You're 2 people with 2 homes - and you want to be 2 people with one home. So sell one and move into the other - then have another look at this list. You'll probably still want to move but at least you will have thought about it a bit more

We want to live together

My work is moving

If you're being moved for work, you'll need to decide if you want to go. If its only for a few years, it may make sense to rent out your existing property. Alternatively, if you like where you live and you've got transferable skills - tell them to take a hike and get a new job! This demonstrates that you are a normal person. It does not demonstrate that you need to buy or sell your property.

Before you look for home moving services, look at the Relate website

We've had a huge row and I want separate houses

I want my kids to go to a decent school

Two things to check with this point:
  1. Is the school that you want really that much better than the alternatives. To check, have a look at the DfEE's website or the acclaimed Schools Net. Coming soon, our Find the Right area facility.
  2. Can you be sure that you child will get into your preferred school. It really would be a shame if you went to all the trouble of moving and then found out that you weren't in the right catchment area.
Well, change it then.

If all it needs is a lick of paint here and a dado rail there, see below for info on DIY interiors, getting an interior designer in or some hints to consider before calling in the decorators

I don't like the décor

So, a few changes are in order. Here are some options


Why not extend your existing home? It will probably add value to your house (but usually not as much as the cost of having it done).

This may be as simple as adding a conservatory or it may be something more complex like building over the garage on the side of the house. Check here for an online list of builders or architects who might be able to help


If adding a new room or two is a bit drastic, have you considered converting your loft or knocking through the lounge and dining room into a single bigger room? Again, consider a local builder or architect before attempting this sort of work yourself - some things, such as converting your loft, are not as straight forward as they might appear and there may be complex building and planning regulations that apply.


Lets face it - everyone gets bored of the same four walls after enough time.

There are four main ways round the problem:

  1. Move to somewhere new
    A bit drastic - there must be cheaper ways than this
  2. Do It Yourself
    Check out this
    online Do It Yourself warehouse that will even deliver
  3. Get the decorators in
    First you will need to choose one. Here is an
    online list of decorators
  4. Instruct the Interior Designers
    Lets do it in style; call in someone who knows what will look good and what won't. Getting interior designers in may work out cheaper in the long run if what you think looks good often ends up looking like a teenager redecorated on one of his off days. Check out this
    online interior designer company who will help sort you out
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