Monday 20 November 2017

'Moving is like childbirth- the memory of the pain soon fades because it's worth it'

Stock image Photo: Getty
Stock image Photo: Getty

Katy McGuinness

Moving house is an expensive business, everyone knows that.

By the time you've factored in the cost of getting your home ready to sell - finally getting around to all the niggling little jobs that you've spent years putting off, putting a new coat of paint on the walls and front door, de-cluttering, hiring a skip and making endless trips to the dump and the charity shop, replacing the threadbare carpets and cleaning it to within an inch of its life - you'll be hoping the estate agent could be persuaded to up their valuation by another €50,000. 

By the time you've dealt with the garden, it'll be more like €60,000.

And then there are the estate agent's fees, the cost of advertising, the solicitor's fees and the expense of moving your furniture from your old house to your new one. Once all these sums are taken into account, it's no wonder that many people decide to look seriously at the possibility of extending rather than moving.

Every estate agent will tell you that selling houses is about selling a lifestyle, so the money it costs to get your house looking its best is not something that you can afford to stint on - the price that you achieve for your property will be maximised if you present it as a home that prospective purchasers can envisage moving into straight away. Photographs are key, as virtually all initial viewing is done online.

You'll need new bed linen, luxurious throws and flowers - more flowers than you can imagine. Old hands will tell you that orchids are better value than cut flowers and a few strategically-placed pot plants work wonders. Around Christmas-time and into the spring, pots of hyacinths and paper-whites bring both colour and fragrance, and last for ages.

And while we're on the topic of fragrance, you'll need to invest in a signature scent for your house. It's no good lighting an array of competing scented candles that you've been given over the years and expecting them to meld together harmoniously. You're going to need diffusers - and plenty of them - all in the same fragrance.

The bad news is that the costs outlined above are only the half of it. There's a whole slew of other expenditure that you'll be hit with once you decide to take the plunge and put your house on the market, many of which will come as a bolt out of the blue.

You'll be spending a fortune on cleaners because if you work full-time, you are not going to have time to do all the cleaning that's required to keep the house in tip-top condition for last-minute viewings. You will learn to rely heavily on Hassle.com, and on the local laundry that irons the duvet covers for you.

You'll be buying more expensive ready-meals, pre-prepared food and takeaways than you are used to because home-cooking goes by the wayside when you're trying to keep the kitchen looking immaculate and ensuring there are no off-putting food smells lingering in the air.

You'll be eating out more because breakfast in a cafe is the only way to deal with morning viewings, especially if you have a house full of teenagers who are accustomed to sleeping in.

The prospect of pancakes and maple syrup is the only thing that's going to get them out of bed.

You'll be spending more on heating and light because your house has to be toasty warm for viewings and lit up like a Christmas tree at all times. Prospective purchasers like to do drive-bys at all hours of the day and night, and you don't want them to see a sad house with no lights on.

Once you do sell your house, you'll need to hire a storage unit in which to house all your belongings, and you'll have to pay for everything to be moved in and out of that space.

You'll end up needing to buy duplicates of the things that went into storage that shouldn't have done.

But the largest, by far, of all the costs you are going to have to cover is likely to be rent. Because the banks don't offer bridging finance anymore, unless you have a friendly family member willing to offer you a roof over your heads in the gap between selling your old house and moving into your new one, you are going to have to rent somewhere short term.

We all know the rental market is in crisis and there is a shortage of supply. Factor in wanting to stay close to schools and work, and the rental options open to you may be strictly limited.

Inevitably, families are going to end up squashed into accommodation that is smaller than ideal - something to bear in mind if you have children sitting state or college exams who really need a room of their own so they have somewhere quiet to study.

Phew. It's a wonder anyone ever manages to move house. Just remember - it will be worth it in the end and, as with childbirth, the memory of the pain involved fades quickly.

It must be so, because otherwise nobody would ever do it a second time.

Indo Property

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