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Home buying advice

Me, my home & I

Making your house a home isn’t easy. Our research* has found that many UK homebuyers will spend an extra £5,462 to make a house feel like their own, with some spending up to £10,000.

Almost half of buyers will install a new kitchen, bathroom or change the layout. While the building takes place, this can make it more difficult to settle in. For one in five people, they only feel at home after 50 days and for one in ten, it can take over three months.

Moving in milestones

  • Putting up photos – 35%
  • When the house feels lived in by the whole family – 20%
  • Familiar smells – 18%
  • When a letter arrives with the new address on – 11%
  • The first Christmas – 7%

Personally decorating your home plays a big part while settling in. For 48% of people, the lounge is most important, followed by the bedroom (20%).

Tips for making a house a home

  • Hang photos and things that mean something to you on the walls. Old memories can help make a new environment more comfortable.
  • Get the family together for a Saturday night film night.
  • Consider a new build home where everything is already new, to avoid expensive DIY costs.
  • Spend as much time in your home as possible.
  • Invite family and friends over to begin creating new memories.

“Making a property feel like a home is really important to establish an emotional connection with your house or flat, and it’s a shame to see that this is an expensive and time process for many recent home buyers – making what should be an exciting and special time more stressful,” says Kate Fox from the Social Issues Research Centre.

“Prospective buyers should ensure they have considered this aspect before choosing the type of property they want to move into.”

Patrick Law at Barratt Developments also adds, “The research today highlights that making a house a home can be a costly and time consuming process for many home owners. It’s particularly interesting to see that almost half of recent home buyers are making alterations to the layout and refurbishing old kitchens and bathrooms.”

"For those that are keen to avoid this it is certainly worth considering a new build, which eliminates this obstacle and ensures you don’t have to spend a large additional chunk of money on top of purchase price. In addition, new builds provide new owners with a blank canvas they can personalise as they like, helping to make it feel like home from the offset.”

The home buyer's guide

Buying a home may be one of the biggest choices you’ll ever make, yet most of us spend an average of only 25 minutes viewing a home before making a final decision. This is less time than the duration of an episode of Coronation Street, and roughly seven and a half minutes more than what you’d spend deciding which pair of jeans to buy.**

With the average UK home now costing around £250,000***, this means you’re potentially spending £9,804 per minute when deciding to purchase a place**** you’re likely to live in for many years.

To help you make that all-important decision, here are a few tips and things to consider when you’re viewing potential homes:

Bring a checklist

When viewing a property it can be easy to get carried away, so make sure you stay objective and take a checklist with you. Taking a list to a viewing can help you spot deal-breakers, enables you to remember questions that you might want to ask, and reminds you of your most important priorities.

Organise more viewings

With almost a third of people saying they find it difficult to decide on which property to buy*****, you need to make sure you are 100% happy and have as much information about your future home as possible, both inside and out. So make sure you visit your potential new home more than once, consider seeing it at different times of the day to get an all-round feel of the space and surrounding area. You’re likely to pick up on things that you might have missed the first time around.

Consider new

If you haven’t in the past, do consider a Barratt home. There are many benefits to buying new, including a warranty on fittings and fixtures, which may eliminate the risk of unexpected and expensive maintenance issues that can come with some second-hand homes. You can also visit a Barratt development as many times as you like, and depending on when you reserve, you’ll be able to personalise your new home with optional design extras.

Look out for money saving features

During your viewings, make sure you ask about the potential money saving features that the property comes with. For example, ask if the kitchen and bathroom fittings are water-saving, if the windows and doors are double-glazed, and how energy efficient the boiler and other appliances that come with the home are.

Potential savings such as these are worth knowing about, especially when you’re trying to budget ahead. One of our new homes is 45-55 per cent more energy efficient than a similar sized older home******, meaning you could save as much as £1,312 per year on your energy bills.

Ask about personalisation options

Don’t forget to ask whether you can choose your own finishes and personal touches. When you buy with Barratt, depending on when you reserve you can perfectly tailor aspects of your new home, making it feel like yours the day you move in.

If this is an option, remember that the earlier you buy the more choice you have in terms of personalised, tailored features. These features include creating open-plan, multi-functional rooms to suit your needs and lifestyle and creating hidden spaces for added storage. And if you’re wondering if your existing furniture would fit, bring a tape measure with you so you can make sure there’s enough space for all the things you care about.

Get practical

  • Have you visited the house multiple times, and at different times of the day?
  • What’s included in the price of the home?
  • Does your furniture fit?
  • How energy efficient is the home, and what EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating does it have?
  • Is there a warranty on the fittings and fixtures? How long is it?

How to future-proof your home

  • Will this home fit your future plans? Marriage, kids, retirement?
  • Does the property fit your lifestyle? For example: is it close to parks, transport, schools, your friends/family, work etc.?
  • Chat to any neighbours and ask them what it’s like to live in the area.
  • Do you feel secure and comfortable?
  • Can you see yourself having Christmas here? Can you visualise where the Christmas tree would go?

Footnotes to the Home buying advice page:

* Research carried out by OnePoll on behalf of Barratt Homes, August 2014, among UK 2,000 adults.

** The research was carried out by One Poll on behalf of Barratt Homes, in Aug 2014 among 2,000 adults. Additional research carried out by SIRC on behalf of Barratt Homes, Aug 2014, among 2,000 UK adults.

*** The ONS 2013 average house price is £250,000.

**** The decision cost of a new home was calculated as follows - average cost of a property (£250,000) divided by time spent viewing a property (average of 25 minutes and 30 seconds) = £9,804.

***** Survey conducted by ComRes on behalf of Barratt Homes, 2012.

****** Costs based upon the comparison of a new build four-bed detached house built to 2010 regulations vs. Victorian property (upgraded with modern-day improvements). An upgraded Victorian home means one which has the following improvements over original build specification: 200mm loft insulation, double glazing to half of all windows, a 72% efficient (non-condensing) gas boiler and insulated hot water cylinder. Source: Zero Carbon Hub and NHBC Foundation 2012.