Choosing Where to Compromise When You Can’t Afford Your Forever Home
The say moving home is one of the most stressful things you can do, and honestly, I’ve still not quite accepted that it’s actually happening. Of course, at this early stage anything could yet go wrong and it could all fall through, so any excitement is being reserved – as is the inevitable stress! Besides which, we have mixed feelings: the house we’re buying is not our dream home. Whilst searching for a new property it became apparent that our Forever Home was still out of budget – but what compromises should you make when buying a house?
Our move will definitely be positive, but also bitter sweet: we love our current home, and it’s where both our babies were born. That little road is where we’ve laid down roots and sleepy babies, many times over.
Truth be told it makes me want to cry a little thinking about leaving the place where so many happy memories have been made. It’s served us well and in so many respects we’d be happy to stay – but we know that moving on is the right thing to do for multiple reasons.
Previously I’ve been the one to take the lead role in buying and selling properties, but this time around since I’m at home with two small children and a burgeoning business, my husband has been a bit of a rockstar. I’ve mostly left him to it, simply showing viewers around and looking at the online photos he’s shown me of potential new houses. Except they were few and far between and left a lot to be desired in most cases – the area we’re going to has very little available which meets our strict criteria.
In fact, we’ve had no choice but to compromise – and not where we expected to!
Here are my top tips for making those difficult decisions…
What Compromises Should You Make When Buying a House?
Make a Joint List of Wishes
This will feature everything which combined, make up your Forever Home. Be mindful that you’re unlikely to meet every point on this list unless budget is no object!
Make Independent Lists of Non-Negotiables
To each be really clear of your individual feelings this is a good exercise to begin with. It’s great to discuss them later, but I recommend writing your necessities down first – before chatting influences or clouds your must-haves.
- We Created This Awesome Space in Our Understairs Cupboard!
- Putting the Finishing Touches to Our Playroom – With Posterlounge
- Creating a Garden That’s Perfect for the Whole Family
Compare and Qualify
Once you have your lists, you can cross-check for which requirements you agree are necessary to comfortably justify the stress and expense of moving. Hopefully they won’t differ too much! Anywhere you disagree, it’s time to discuss why you feel so strongly about a specific need. This is an opportunity to problem-solve together, and potentially find solutions to those issues.
For example, one of my non-negotiables was a utility room. My reasoning was two-fold: partly because I want a space for our laundry, and partly because I don’t want the noise of a washing machine in the kitchen.
In the event, the house we’re purchasing technically does have a utility space – but currently no plumbing! Luckily my husband is a plumber, but also we’ve been very fortunate that I’m currently collaborating with AO as a product tester and we’ve been gifted a fantastic machine which is very quiet. That’s one of my issues resolved!
Consider Financial Cost and Inconvenience of Rectifying
For each negative point, consider the cost of putting it right, versus the result. For example, you may need a little more space, but have the option to extend or add a conservatory. It’s important to consider:
- The hassle involved;
- The potential for adding value
- Whether you’d be able to make it closer to your dream home by doing this, rather than buying something that already has the desired extra space – but perhaps not quite to your taste.
You should never concede something which is going to make you miserable on a daily basis, but there are some ‘critical’ points which upon discussion you’ll realise are merely assumed essentials and not, in fact, truly necessary.
In our case, we were determined to not only get away from the dual carriageway close to our home, but also to move into a fully detached house with a large driveway and a garage. Our search quickly showed the reality: we were not going to find everything we wanted; we had no choice but to reconsider. We found houses that were perfect but for one or other of those points, and for every one we tried to get around each particular concern.
We solved my utility/washing machine issue, but one house which did not have a driveway (very odd setup – it had a carport built into the house, with garage behind) – I vetoed. With small children there was no getting around that for me.
The house we’ve settled on is not fully detached, which nearly prevented my husband from even looking at it. But I convinced him to take a look and actually, in the grand scheme when there’s little else on the market and it serves every other need for us, I’ve persuaded him to relent!
Compromises on Selling
Of course, it’s not just about the house you’re purchasing – you may have to accept a lower price that you want to for the property you’re selling too.
We got the price we wanted but with one caveat: we had to leave our white good behind!
This was a massive pain, but thankfully through my ongoing relationship with AO I’ve also procured a fridge-freezer (and a cordless vacuum – not white goods but something we need nonetheless). The compromise we’ve made has almost been negated, but it does mean that in the meantime we’re living with more appliances than we need cluttering up our home!
My greatest fear was of being unable to reconcile with my husband on one or more of our must-haves. Thankfully, we’ve managed to get to a point where we’re both pragmatic:
It’s not our forever home, but it’s a pretty decent stepping stone.
What compromises did you make when moving home?
I was gifted the appliances featured in this post.