The FINANCIAL — To the UK public, a ‘forever home’ is defined in different ways, however according to a recent survey from Barclays Mortgages 61% of Brits believe it is a property that they will grow old in, with a further 36% believing a forever home is where they’ll raise their family. Historically, a forever home was something that was achieved relatively early in age, however a change is clear to see when compared with the previous generations’ buying habits.
According to the study, one in four of the previous generation had purchased their forever home before they reached the age of 30, compared with just three in ten achieving this property milestone before they reach 40 in the current generation. Whilst almost half (45%) of homeowners believe they are currently living in their forever home, one in six are unsure either way.
Where we want to live as a nation also changes with age. For example, our interests change throughout our lives with just one in ten (10%) of people aged 18-24 wanting to live in a small town, whereas 40% of the 65 and above age group see this as a perfect location. The preference of different age groups extends to living in a city, with four times as many 18-24 year olds wanting to call a busy location home when compared to 55-64 year olds.
But what does a forever home look like for UK homebuyers? Interestingly, off-street parking topped the list of ‘must-haves’ showing the importance of transport and location for prospective buyers. Other key attributes included the property being close to transport links, a short stroll from local amenities and the home itself being detached, suggesting personal space is one of the top priorities for Brits when choosing our forever home.
For those looking to either buy or sell a forever home, the above features are challenging to change for an existing property, however there are certain changes you can make to ensure your property becomes closer to the ideal forever home.
Build a garage: Whilst there have been reports that we rarely use our garages to store our cars, this was voted as the top dream feature for forever homes in the UK. Even if we don’t use our garages for their traditional use, they often act as valuable storage facility so if you have the space, it’s worth investing in an extension for your property. For those who don’t want to go through this expense, consider if some of your existing space can be converted into a parking area
Bedrooms, bedrooms, bedrooms: A forever home is traditionally seen as a place where people will grow their family, therefore multiple bedrooms are a good option when making improvements to a property with the modern family often desiring to have a room for each family member rather than having to share. If you do have a vacant or rarely-used room such as an office, do consider converting it into a bedroom that’s marketed as a guest room so forever home buyers have the option of welcoming friends and family into their home
Bathrooms – upstairs, downstairs: A key feature on the forever home must-have list is the en-suite, proving once again how we Brits value our personal space. However, if you don’t have space in your property to install an en-suite upstairs, a downstairs toilet is another option that is great for entertaining guests for a buyers’ dream forever home
Go green: It’s not always possible to have a big large expenses of land tied to your property, however there are changes you can make to ensure you make the most out of what you have. Driveways and paved areas can both be converted into green space, ensuring forever home buyers have a little oasis of their own
Dine time: Shows like Come Dine With Me have revived the classic dinner party, so it’s no surprise the dining room is seeing a boom in popularity amongst forever home-ers. A dining room doesn’t have to be a huge space – if you have a large kitchen or living room, consider splitting a section to create your very own dining haven
Craig Calder, Director of Barclays Mortgage services said “A forever home obviously has a different meaning for everyone, so owning one that’s perfect for you might not be perfect someone else. But by having a checklist of the most common features ticked off, you can create a property you would want to grow old in knowing others are likely to broadly agree if you ever decide to re-sell. The trend towards hosting dinner parties is an interesting insight and creating a separate dining space provides a variety of options as a family’s needs change over time.”