Can’t afford to move? The essential guide to staying put

There are many reasons why you might want to move house right now. You may be finding the commute to work tough in winter weather. Or maybe you want to be in a better school catchment area. Unfortunately, most people are finding they are unable to move because they just can’t raise the funds needed. Moving is so expensive, and the housing market is seeing home prices boom once again.

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Even if you feel your current home is no longer right for you, there are ways to make it work better. If you’re thinking of moving, then you probably have a pretty good idea what your perfect place would look like. It may be possible to make improvements to your current home. This could turn where you live into your dream property, and home improvements are often cheaper than moving.

Start with deciding what your home is missing from your ‘perfect home list’. Do you need another bedroom? Do you want a modern style? Sometimes a simple spruce up can help us fall in love with our homes all over again. Some new interior doors and a lick of paint can quickly modernise a tired house. Change the light fittings and install hardwood flooring, and you may even add some extra appeal and value to your home.

Many homes have the potential to be expanded. Garden space is often wasted because we don’t have the weather to enjoy them. If you find you’re only enjoying your garden for a handful of weeks a year, why not build your house out? It could create extra living space. Perhaps you would like a bigger kitchen? How about that coveted spare bedroom? Often, planning permission is not required so you can get started quite quickly.

You will need an architect to draw up plans if you are looking for something more substantial than a conservatory. Once you have agreed to them, you can search for a project manager to take on the build. He or she will contract the right people to undertake the excavation building and fitting for you. Alternatively, you could try project managing the build yourself.

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Project managing your extension can be great fun. You get to choose who works for you, and keep a close eye on the budget. There are plenty of ways to keep costs down too. Ordering the materials yourself from a builder’s merchant can help you stay within budget, and according to builders merchants, George Hill, it is possible to avoid those hefty delivery costs. You might even fancy taking on some of the labour yourself too.

If you’re not too keen to get involved with building, then you might consider a conversion instead. If you have basement or attic space, these can be converted into useful rooms like utility areas or bedrooms. Choosing a good builder who can share and realise your vision isn’t always easy. Searching online or posting the job on a dedicated website can help you find the right person for the job.

With the winter upon us, some people are worried about the cost of heating their home. If you live in a cold and drafty house, you can be forgiven for wanting to move, but it may not be necessary. Even listed buildings can be adapted to provide a warmer environment for you and your family. Start by checking your insulation. Modern houses have insulation in the exterior walls. There should also be several inches of loft insulation preventing heat loss through the roof.

Open fires can be very charming, but they take a lot of work to keep clean and safe. Many only heat one room in the house too. This leaves us still dependent on our boilers to provide heat. If yours is expensive to run, consider replacing it with a more energy efficient boiler. A good service can often help improve the amount of heat reaching your radiators. Are your windows double glazed? It’s important to install good quality windows to prevent drafts and heat loss through the panes. Many are considered acoustic glass nowadays, reducing the traffic noise coming in from outside.

Underfloor heating can be another way to help you and your family stay warm in your current house. Perhaps you are thinking about installing a modern kitchen. Underfloor heating here saves you the wall space a radiator would normally take up. Instead, you could have a table or extra cupboard units in the space.

There are often solutions to the problems we face in our homes. Even if your commute is long, you may be able to create a small office space to work from home.

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