Kirsty McLuckie: Outgrowing your property needs

If you are as old as I am, you will remember a dim-and-distant time when £100,000 would buy your absolute dream home.

These days, that sum is the difference we would need to pay if we were to sell the house we currently own and buy the one which would suit us most, according to research by Zoopla

Almost half of Scottish homeowners in its recent survey say they are stuck in a place that is not suitable for their needs, and estimate they would require a average £100,000 on top of the value of their current home in order to buy a property that fits the bill.

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Most highlighted a lack of space as the main reason they would like to move and a high proportion mentioned specifically the lack of a place to work from home.

So why don’t they just move?

The most obvious reason is financial – getting the right house, with the best layout, in the most convenient location costs more, and there’s the not inconsiderable expense of moving plus taxes.

But plenty of respondents admitted to staying in a property that has outgrown their needs – or never met them in the first place – despite being able to afford to move.

It seems, for many, that they are just too emotionally attached to their home to feel able to flit.

Tom Parker, consumer spokesperson at Zoopla, comments: “It’s understandable that many find it hard to move on from a home that contains a lot of memories or that their children were brought up in, it’s perhaps more surprising that many find it hard to move on because they like the local coffee shop, pub, or because a pet is buried in the garden.”

During lockdown, I think our communities have become more important to us – certainly the friendly spirit displayed in my village in the last year would make it a real wrench to leave.

I know that there are probably properties out there which would be better for us, more geographically suited at least, and £100K would get us a lot closer to a train station, shops and even – heaven! – within walking distance of a pub, which certainly would suit us a lot better than having to take along a designated driver for every casual pint.

But for me, as well as the expense and the faff of moving, it is the garden that I can’t leave and yes, a pet’s graveyard is involved. Ours is home to three lamented dogs, and has played host to the lachrymose funerals of guinea pigs and hamsters too.

I look forward to the spring flowers that appear on the small graves each year and the memories they evoke. But even without the final resting place of pets, anyone who has invested in their garden will know that leaving it behind is much harder than anything on the inside of the house.

I’m fiercely attached to some of the trees, particularly the pear adorning a gable end, a willow which, after 12 years, is starting to weep and a fine horse chesnut grown from a conker.

While an extra hundred grand –if offered – would definitely buy a property more suited to our needs, it would cost near that amount to exhume the extinct fauna and transport our beloved flora to preserve the memories – so no deal.

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