Our homes are the centre of our lives, so it’s no wonder we spend so much money and time trying to find the right property or improve our existing residence. Apart from the few who are happy living a life on the road, everyone needs a home of some kind, and we all aspire to have what we perceive to be our dream property. Whether you ever achieve your dream will depend on how realistic it is, because not everyone is going to be able to afford a French Chateau with its own forest; but if your aspirations are more modest than turrets and ramparts, then there’s every chance you can make your dream come true.
Knowing what you want
Even if you have a very clear idea what you’d like to call home, there are still decisions to make that can affect what you end up looking for. For example, you know your dream home would be a beachfront property close to your family, in peaceful surroundings and with beautiful views. With your dream life whirling around your head, you contact real estate agents in your area to find out more info on prospective properties, but they have a whole host of questions about what you’re looking for. It’s much better to go over all the various aspects of your plans and have a clear picture of everything you want so that you don’t waste time looking at unsuitable properties.
- Where would you like to live? You’ll probably have some idea about whether you want to live in the city, the suburbs or the country, but what sort of environment? You need to take into account all the facilities you’ll need, not just have a rosy vision of living wild in the mountains for instance. If you need regular medical treatment for a chronic health condition, being too isolated will be inconvenient and put you at risk. Better to live nearer civilization but close to the wilderness rather than in it. There are similar other factors to consider, so think about every aspect of your life and what you need to feel comfortable, happy, and able to do all the things you want to.
- Do you want to stay close to friends and family? Do you need to consider your children’s education prospects? How about working? If your dream involves a drastic change in your lifestyle, such as moving from an apartment in the city to a rural homestead, do you have the knowledge and skills to become self-sufficient? Have you got a realistic outlook on what it will be like, and how different life will be? Give yourself a reality check and make sure you’re fully aware of what your new life would involve rather than daydreaming about endlessly sunny summer days watching the cows graze in the meadow.
- If your dream is to move overseas, the first thing you must do is check whether this is possible for you. Countries have many different immigration policies and requirements, and there may be restrictions if, for example, you have a criminal record. Unless you know for sure how any of these factors will affect your application, you won’t know what you need to do to achieve your dream – or whether you need to find a new one.
- If you have commitments, how will these be affected by your move? It could be anything outside of work, for example, your pets, volunteering, community activities, sports and social activities, and classes or college courses. Are you happy to leave things behind, and do you have a plan for severing local ties? How might your pets be affected by the upheaval?
- What size home would you want? Take into account who will be living with you and for how long. If you have teenagers at home, they will need their own space, but you don’t want to be saddled with a house that’s too big when they leave. Do you want to allow for the fact that your parents are becoming increasingly frail and you want them to come and live with you in the next few years? How much time do you want to spend cleaning, is the plot size more important than having a big house? Or do you dream of a large, palatial dwelling and plan to use a maid service? Do you want any non-standard rooms or facilities such as a studio, extra garaging or a swimming pool? If you find the right plot but the house needs remodeling, are you prepared to wait for the works to be completed?
When you’re thinking about your dream home, there’s no escaping the fact that the money you have available is the deciding factor in where you move to. It’s the most frequent handicap to buying the ideal property, but before you write off your dream as being financially unachievable, have a look at ways in which you could realise more capital or make some small adjustments that could get you close, if not all the way, to where you want. The values of property can vary so tremendously according to location, that you could be in a position to buy your dream home just in a different place than you originally envisaged.
First things first, how much cash do you have available? You will have to make a choice about how far you want to dig into your savings, or whether you want to cash in any investments. There is also the possibility of renegotiating your mortgage or using a bank loan to make up a shortfall. You will also have the value of your existing property, which is likely to be your chief source of capital. When it comes to finances, it’s best to get some professional advice so that you can make an informed decision on how to proceed. A financial advisor will be able to offer you options you may not even have known were available and can create tailored solutions to fit your position and help you access the optimum amount of finance.
With a life-changing decision like this, take your time and be sure of what you want, and when you have all your ducks in a row, you’ll be well on the way to moving into your dream home.
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