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20 Reasons to Renovate Rather Than Move in 2020


In 2020 we’ll have been in business for 20 years! To celebrate, each month we’re sharing 20 top tips about topics that are closest to our heart. Our aim is always to provide you with the best possible information so you can make informed financial decisions. This month we’re talking about why we believe it’s wiser to improve your home rather than move in 2020.

20 Reasons to Renovate Rather Than Move in 2020

Upgrading your property is one of the biggest financial decisions in most people’s lives. Both renovations and moving involve a substantial investment.

2020 is not only our company’s 20-year anniversary, it has also been a year of significant change and financial uncertainty for most of the country. COVID has caused a global impact. In addition, the UK was already battling with the implications of Brexit. This combination of factors has caused major disruptions to the housing market and many are realising that improving your current property is a safer investment than moving.

We understand it can be a difficult decision to choose between renovating or moving, especially if you recognised during lockdown that your current home is no longer working for your family. However, Downton & Ali’s experts can assist you in making the right decision. In fact, we have 20 very compelling reasons why we believe you should improve rather than move in 2020.

Selling & Buying Property Has Always Been a Challenging Experience

  1. Housing shortages – It’s no secret that for several years the government has been aware of a severe shortage of affordable housing. This is especially true in desirable areas. If you’re looking to move, you may not be able to find a suitable property in the right area for your budget.

  2. Stamp Duty Uncertainty – The recent stamp duty rates cuts in response to COVID have only been promised up until March 20211. Prior to COVID they had risen in the wake of Brexit and we’re likely to see this trend again.

  3. Stress – Buying, moving and selling aren’t for the faint-hearted. According to a survey, 70% of participants cite the process of moving home as the most stressful life experience there is, worse than divorce or having a child!2

  4. The Double Impact – We don’t deny that renovations or improvements can be more than a little stressful too, yet a large proportion of moves also involve building works at the new property. You may need to opt for a house that’s less than perfect and requires work. This results in a move and a building project at the same time which can be daunting.

  5. The Financial Cost of Upgrading – In many cases a move is prompted by a desire to upgrade. While downsizing does happen, most people desire more space and to live in a better area. Upgrading from flat to terrace or terrace to semi or detached can come at a financial loss if the property you sell is worth less than the one you want to buy.

  6. Attachments – Moving isn’t just stressful because of the legal and financial implications. There’s also an emotional impact. If you’re moving far from your previous property it can mean uprooting a career, disrupting children’s schooling and losing social connections you’ve built up, possibly over years. This can be lonely, and it can also take time for a new property to feel like home. 50% of those surveyed cited this as a reason not to move.3

The COVID Pandemic Had Made Property Buying Even More Stressful

We know it’s a gloomy subject, but the unfortunate reality is that COVID has and will affect many people for the worse. We aren’t just talking about loss of life. Health, careers, savings and prospects have been thrown into difficult circumstances. The housing market has also been affected.

  1. Spiralling House Prices – Larger properties, more suburban/rural properties and properties with gardens or land attached are in increasingly high demand due to COVID. People are valuing home and garden space over other, previously desirable, features, such as good transport links or access to facilities, restaurants, leisure etc. Interior and outdoor space are at a premium and this is driving the cost of those properties sky high.
  1. Fear and Risk – Viewing properties and accepting viewings in your own property increases the risk of contamination from COVID. For those of you who are older or in vulnerable health, this risk understandably can make you think twice about moving, unless it’s absolutely essential. Most renovations can be centred around one area of the house at a time, and the infection risk is, therefore, reduced.
  1. Career Insecurity – COVID has led to widespread redundancies, failing businesses, and some industries may never recover e.g. the events industry. Job loss and insecurity mean a less financially stable situation for large portions of the population. It’s natural and sensible that you would want to keep hold of your savings.
  1. Challenges Obtaining Mortgage Loans – Career insecurity doesn’t just mean less income, you might struggle to find a mortgage in the first place. Even if you haven’t lost your job so far, banks and mortgage lenders may fear lending to those in industries especially hit by COVID.
  1. Mortgage Rates – Mortgage costs had been rising and becoming less affordable before COVID. While a mortgage holiday has been provided by the government, this is only for existing mortgages and is only guaranteed for three months.4
  1. Rapid Change – Uncertainty and instability are sadly the name of the game in the COVID world. This doesn’t mesh well with the fact that properties can take a long time to sell. Putting your house on the market in these uncertain times invites more risk than normal. The whole financial and property landscape could change by the time you get a decent offer on your house, and your own circumstances could shift dramatically too.
  1. Hang On to Your Assets – Given job and financial insecurity, it makes perfect sense that you would want to hang onto valuable assets that you already possess, like your current property.
  1. Keep & Improve Assets For Future Generations – It isn’t just about holding onto property assets for yourself. COVID has most aggressively impacted the careers of the young and many people of working age have been hit hard. Holding onto current property means you can have more chance of paying off your mortgage and leaving guaranteed property assets to children and grandchildren. Renovations will add longevity and value to existing property.
  1. Accumulate Wealth – With uncertainty comes the desire to save, rather than spend. A renovation usually involves a smaller upfront cost than a property purchase.

Renovating Has Never Been Easier

16) Make Your Money Go Further – Research demonstrates that a renovation, extension or reconfiguration can be more cost effective than a move.

17) The Right Property Type Could Mean you can easily add an extension. Certain property types make adding extra space much easier and cheaper than moving. If you have a detached or semidetached house, you may be able to build a small rear, side, or attic extension without planning permission.

18) New Planning Laws Make Extensions Straightforward – Relaxed planning laws make it simpler to get planning permission for bigger renovations and extensions in England.5

19) No Chains – The housing market and the buying and selling process is fraught with obstacles caused by your property chain. You usually need to sell your home to have the cash to buy the new home. But what if an offer falls through on your house? What if you are outbid? With COVID, some areas, properties and estate agents are demanding that you have your house on the market before they’ll even let you view. Some even request that you have an offer on your house! If you’re outbid or the sellers change their mind, and your own home sales goes through, where will you go? COVID has made staying with family or renting more difficult in the interim. There are no chains with renovation.

20) Downton & Ali’s One Stop Shop to Improve Don’t Move – We’ve put together a specialist one stop shop to help advise, finance, design and build your home improvement. Our skilled architect, Una, will help you to design a dream home, our very own Brian is on hand to help you finance the build, and then finally it’s over to our talented builder Alan to bring it to life for you.

The decision of whether to move or renovate ultimately comes down to your personal circumstances and choice, but we dedicate ourselves to understanding your individual situations and helping you to reach the best outcome for your needs.

The realities of COVID have made moving far more difficult for many people. Therefore, our experts have devised a way to make home improvements even easier, more successful, and, best of all, more financially beneficial.

Our development of the Improve Don’t Move one stop shop will enable home owners to recognise how to make the most of their property, whether that’s increasing your square-footage, reconfiguring your home, or better utilizing the space you already have.

Contact us to get started.

YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE The building and Architect services promoted here are not part of the Openwork offering and are offered in our own right. Openwork Limited accept no responsibility for this aspect of our business. These services are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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