Vote with your head when look­ing for a long-term home

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Tony Wright

RE­CENT de­bate about the mer­its of our vot­ing sys­tem has got me won­der­ing about my own sphere of in­flu­ence and how demo­cratic the process of choos­ing a house is.

If you think about it, while there is an ini­tial gut re­ac­tion to a prop­erty when you first walk through the door there are an aw­ful lot of other as­pects which have to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion, weighed-up and pri­ori­tised be­fore pur­chase. It’s not just the ob­vi­ous pri­or­i­ties such as af­ford­abil­ity, ac­com­mo­da­tion and, the es­tate agent’s mantra, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion.

Within a fam­ily unit, how­ever nu­clear or ex­tended, pri­or­i­ties are go­ing to be dif­fer­ent for each mem­ber, so there’s a coali­tion of in­ter­ests to bal­ance too, just to add to the demo­cratic anal­ogy.

It has al­ways been com­mon knowl­edge within the prop­erty world that it’s the fe­males of a house­hold who ac­tu­ally de­cide which prop­erty is bought and al­though I es­pouse the ben­e­fits of a demo­cratic sys­tem, it is the sys­tem we cur­rently en­joy i.e. pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion rather than the al­ter­na­tive vot­ing sys­tem. One man one vote that has just re­ceived a No vote from the coun­try.

With this in mind and with the ex­press pur­pose of main­tain­ing har­mony dur­ing what can be the fraught ex­pe­ri­ence of find­ing a new home, it seems only sen­si­ble that the male vote should count as two against the fe­male one.

Ini­tially, for a cou­ple form­ing an al­liance for the first time in buy­ing a home, the re­quire­ments are usu­ally sim­ple and dic­tated of course by avail­able funds and bor­row­ings. They re­quire space to en­joy both in­side the home and out­side in the gar­den, prox­im­ity to places of work and shop­ping and also to places of leisure whether that’s city liv­ing and ac­cess to bars and restau­rants or the more bu­colic en­joy­ments of parks and the coun­try­side.

But as this al­liance grows stronger and chil­dren come into the pic­ture, the land­scape shifts sig­nif­i­cantly. Not only that, but if you are in­tend­ing that the prop­erty sees you through the years while the fam­ily grows, pri­or­i­ties will change so in an ideal world, the ac­com­mo­da­tion and lay­out should give flex­i­bil­ity.

Par­ents of in­fants and young chil­dren want a prop­erty with a lay­out that gives the prox­im­ity to their chil­dren at all times so that a watch­ful eye and keen ear can be kept, whether in­doors or out in the gar­den.

For teenagers and, more of­ten than not, their par­ents too, dis­tance and pri­vacy away from the hub­bub of the heart of the home is very im­por­tant. Open-plan liv­ing may suit a cou­ple or even a young fam­ily, but teenagers are of­ten fiercely pro­tec­tive of their own pri­vate space.

But then when you come back to lo­ca­tion, the prop­erty’s dis­tance to schools and col­leges is al­ways a key pri­or­ity for fam­i­lies what­ever the age of the chil­dren.

When the time comes, tak­ing care of an el­derly rel­a­tive within the home can put added pres­sure on fam­i­lies. Hav­ing ad­di­tional space to ac­com­mo­date the needs of an­other gen­er­a­tion can al­le­vi­ate some of the strain and can lead to a more happy home life. The abil­ity to con­sider how your fam­ily set-up can live in the prop­erty now and in five, 10 or 15 years time is cru­cial if you are look­ing for a long-term home.

So, like politi­cians, it’s im­por­tant that you have the ‘vi­sion thing’ when you are house hunt­ing.

I’ve been in the es­tate agency pro­fes­sion for more than 20 years – that’s a pe­riod cov­er­ing five prime min­is­ters – and I have yet to see a house pur­chase made that didn’t in­volve any el­e­ment of com­pro­mise in weigh­ing-up pref­er­ences and pri­or­i­ties against gut in­stincts. It’s a ques­tion of bal­anc­ing heart and head.

But what­ever the out­come in choos­ing which prop­erty to buy, much like vot­ing, the most im­por­tant thing is that you feel you’ve made an in­formed de­ci­sion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.