Does your current home make you unhappy? - July 2020
It’s been a very strange couple of months and all of us have gotten to know our homes a lot better than we ever thought.
Spending the majority of time inside during the coronavirus lockdown was an enlightening experience. Things we never noticed about our abodes were slowly revealed – interesting quirks, design flaws and other oddities.
What happens if you truly don’t like what this unique home-dwelling time has uncovered? What if you’ve fallen out of love with your place?
Some newly discovered bugbears
I’ve heard from a couple of new clients recently who found that working from home and limiting their going out time to be a catalyst for change.
Taking up baking, particularly making your own bread, has been one of the main trends of self-isolation and, unexpectedly, people who didn’t spend much time in their pokey kitchens are realising how poorly designed they are.
Suddenly, you might find yourself realising there’s not enough storage space, small benches with nowhere to prepare meals or mix ingredients, particularly poor natural light that makes it feel like you’re cooking in a cold dungeon, a fridge cavity that doesn’t allow for an upgrade to a bigger model, and no room to move while you’re exploring your culinary genius.
Another shock discovery over recent months has been the inability to find peace and quiet away from little ones. Kids who are either doing school from home or spending more time in need a lot of space to expend their energy, but mums and dads also require a place of their own for time out.
Family homes should cater to the whole family and a lot of people are realising that their castle but be a little too cosy. The level of enquiry I’m getting from families keen to upgrade to something a bit bigger has illustrated this strongly!
Working from home has been a revelation too. It was once something most of us dreamed of doing – the flexibility and time-saving benefits of not having to commute to an actual office seemed like the best of both worlds. But if you don’t have anywhere to actually work, it can quickly become a nightmare.
Having space to put in a desk so you’re not hunched over a dining table or making your future physiotherapist rich by laying back on the couch with a laptop, has become very important.
But getting away from the common space and finding room for a work desk is just the start.
A study nook could be your solution in an apartment – particularly for solos and couples – but if you’ve got a house full of kids, pets and life in general, you might as well throw productivity and serenity out the window without a dedicated work room.
No – work from home is ‘the new black’ and allowing for productivity is a priority. To this end, nothing less than a separate office in a house where you can labour uninterrupted is needed. All the better if, at the end of each workday, you can close the door and ‘shut up shop’ until the next morning.
In fact, I predict this will be one of the major home design changes resulting from COVID. Work areas, from functional study nooks in units through to lock-off offices in houses, will become as necessary as a laundry and separate toilet.
Another factor that people are realising is important is access to outdoor space. We know this isn’t always possible, particularly in sought-after suburbs, but at least being in proximity to nature is important.
A nice leafy street, a nearby park, a suburb that’s more trees and flowers than concrete and bitumen, or somewhere close to the water are all things that we might find ourselves prioritising of late.
What’s making you unhappy?
If you find that you’re looking at your home in a different light having spent so much time in it, I suggest conducting an audit.
What’s causing your dissatisfaction? Is there not enough space to actually live in? Do you wish the kitchen was bigger or overlooked the garden and brought the sunshine in? Is your home too small for your kids to grow up in?
Maybe it’s the area itself – now, perhaps more than ever, we feel that a sense of community is essential to wellbeing. Maybe you feel that you’d prefer to live somewhere that feels like a village, with local shopkeepers you can get to know and parks you and your family can claim as your own special backyard.
Come up with a list of things that are making you unhappy. While it doesn’t seem like it, this is actually a positive audit of your dissatisfaction.
This list is the foundation of your hunt for a new happier home. An independent, experienced and qualified buyers' agent can work with you to find a place that ticks the majority of your boxes and offers the features you want and need.
They can narrow your criteria and work within your budget to find the best home in the best area for the best price. And best of all, they take care of all of the hard work for you – the search, the negotiation and the haggling.
It’s a good time to be in the market and with your current home proving itself to not be quite what you need, it’s the perfect time to make a change.
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