Buying

Upsizing: when and how to do it

Is your house feeling a little tight around the edges? There comes a time for many families where the home starts to feel a little cramped, like you no longer fit in. How do you know when it’s time to consider upsizing? And what should be in place before you do?

When to upsize

Growing family

If you have school aged children who are approaching their secondary years, you will find that they will become more interested in having their own space. It may be that they are sharing bedrooms, or you only have one living room for the family. As the children get older these space issues will become increasingly challenging.

New members of the family

With a new baby there are lots of changes in a household. If things are already tight for space, an extra family member will add extra strain. Consider the change in dynamic with existing family members and how an extra person will impact these. If you are feeling concerned, there is probably good reason for it.

Ageing family

Additional family members aren’t always babies. Elderly family members often need a little extra assistance as they age. If grandma and grandpa are re-joining the family home, living arrangements might need to shift to accommodate for them. Without spare bedrooms and bathrooms, this can cause problems for the other members of the household.

How to prepare to upsize

Financial

Larger homes often equate to more expensive homes. Before you make any decisions, you will need to ensure you have appropriate funds to afford the new property. Speak to a financial advisor to ascertain the value of your existing property and any other assets. Consider if you are in a position to refinance or consolidate your loan.

Costs

Aside from the expense of purchasing a property, there are the costs associated with running and maintaining one. Adding extra rooms to your home will result in increased bills for power and water, and increased cleaning and maintenance efforts. Make sure you are prepared for these increases in your budget.

Location

Are you just looking for a bigger house or for an entire change of scenery? Consider what the objective for your move is, particularly when looking at locations. Perhaps you want to be closer to better schools, move further away from the city to gain a bigger backyard, or move closer to the city and your workplace. Location is an important question for every move, and a crucial one when looking for a bigger property due to the aforementioned size to expense ratio.

Timeframe

If you are selling your existing property to move into the bigger place, time is one of the most important factors to consider. Without the funds of house A to purchase house B, you might be unable to make the move. But if you sell house A before finding your dream house B, you might end up homeless! Have a backup plan for a place you can stay in case the timing doesn’t all match up, or speak to your bank about a bridging loan so that you can move into a new place before selling your old place. Plan ahead and find a way to make it work.

Every family is unique and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. But if you think your family has started to outgrow your home, it may be time to consider an upsize. With a lot to think about and a big financial decision to make, ensure you arm yourself with the best knowledge before you make any decisions.