The A-Z of moving house – as a result of the Ds
Death, divorce, debt and the dog. Why do people really move house? Estate agent Edward Stoyle reveals that professional experience has produced some illogical answers.
“THERE was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children she didn’t know what to do”.
You’d think she might have moved to a larger shoe but the nursery rhyme suggests she just beat the children and stayed put.
So why do people really move? The reasons range from the involuntary to the downright illogical.
As anyone in the property business will tell you, the three Ds are always with us – death, divorce and debt.
You could say, with some justification, that death does not involve moving, except to another world, but it is constantly feeding a supply of houses to the market.
Divorce usually creates two households and if the matrimonial home is sold, each of the parties will be looking for a new house.
Debt, sadly, is the biggest single threat to continued home ownership, with repossessions forecast at 40,000 in 2011.
That is a lot of involuntary movers, and the figures don’t include the estimated one-intwelve borrowers struggling to pay their mortgages.
Hand in hand with debt goes unemployment, where a new job may mean moving to another part of the country or world.
Age and infirmity are becoming more relevant as pensioners become squeezed and home owners trade their most valuable asset for something a little smaller to raise funds and move nearer to facilities.
You might think that involuntary moves form the majority but in fact most are discretionary.
A growing family is often cited as necessitating a house move but it is surprising how many you can squeeze into a small house if you have to.
We recently sold a threebedroom cottage near York which 80 years ago accommodated no fewer than 17 people. So perhaps moves to accommodate a growing family are as much an aspiration as necessity.
There was a time in the early 2000s when moving house became a business. People lost interest in having a roof over their heads and thought of little else than the tax-free profit they could be making.
With house price inflation running into double digits, it is not surprising so many people became greedy.
Fortunately that element has largely disappeared, as a house returns to being a home.
Now let’s look at some of the more unusual reasons for moving house.
Some people just love moving house, I knew of one estate agent’s wife who changed houses almost as fast as her clothes. Every three years she insisted on a move. At least her husband was in the right profession.
Tricky neighbours can drive even the most reasonable people to the brink, and the ultimate solution may be moving house.
One of my friends recalls buying his first house, only to discover that the previous owners had got fed up with the Peeping Tom next door.
We have had our fair share of lottery winners, to whom buying a large house seems to be a priority.
We have also seen many of them come back a year or two later having realised that lots of money and a large house do not always bring happiness.
You would also be surprised what consideration people have for their pets when it comes to moving house.
Perhaps it is understandable with horses that need their acre or two of grazing.
Less understandable was one client with a large country house whose wife refused to leave while the labrador was still alive.
With impeccable timing, the dog paid his final visit to the vet just a few months before the 2007 property crash, bequeathing his owners a premium deal at the peak of the market.
Finally, spare a thought for the Yorkshire woman who took a £100,000 hit on moving out only a year after moving in.
“I just made a mistake” she said philosophically.
CELEBRITY COUPLE: Divorce is one of of the main reasons for house moves – as Peter Andre and Katie Price discovered.