Wednesday, 30 January 2019

New home for a new life?

Middle aged couple ready for moving day
There comes a time in life when you just know you have to make a move.

The ‘trigger’ for the decision to up sticks and move house is different for different people.

It often has to do with changing family circumstances. Maybe the kids have left home and you don’t need the sort of house that was ideal for a growing family. Or maybe your choice of location was dictated by the need to be close to particular schools and you’re now free to live somewhere different.

Changing employment can be another trigger for a move. You are earning more now that you were when you moved to your current home. You can afford somewhere bigger – so why not enjoy the fruits of your success with a better home?

And a house more conveniently located for commuting to work might be good. If you can save just 15 minutes travel each way on the daily journey to work and back, that adds up to around a whole working week of your life each year that you won’t spend travelling. What could you do with an additional week of ‘you time’ every year?

Or maybe you need to move closer to your parents. Or your children and grandchildren. Or the golf club.

Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to make a move.

There are lots of factors that influence where you move to. Location, obviously. Size of home. Price.

New build or second hand home?

Another factor you may want to give some thought to is the type of property. When it comes to moving home, you have two choices - new-build or used. Both come with their own advantages.

Things that you might want to consider when making that choice include:

  • You may actually be eligible for government help with the purchase. It is commonly believed that the Help to Buy scheme is just for youngsters and first-time buyers. But it’s not. You could get up to 20 per cent of the purchase price on what is basically an interest-free loan from the government if you are buying a newly built home with a price tag of up to £600,000.
  • A new-build home can be fully decorated to your own taste and ready to move in. Talk to the builder early enough and you can probably choose from a range of things such as floor and wall tiles, bathroom fittings, door handles, light switches and more - as well as specifying paint colours - to ‘personalise’ your home. If you buy a second-hand property you’re stuck with whatever the previous owners chose. And if you’re not keen on it, you’ll spend a great deal of your time (and money) over the next few months changing it. Do you really want to do that?
  • A new-build home will have a new central heating system and can come with new appliances in the kitchen, all covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. The garden fence is new, the windows are newly painted, there’s no moss on the roof and the gutters are clear. So, you know you’ll have no expenses in these areas for a good few years to come. 
  • Most new-builds will have a ten-year insurance-backed warranty that gives you security in the face of any major problems with the property. Even if you get a full survey done on a used home (which can be expensive) there is no guarantee that it will uncover all the potential problems with the property and you will not get any warranty from the seller.
  • You will get after-sales service with a new home that you won't get with a used one. It should be perfect when you move in, but if there are minor problems such as windows that don't lock or taps that leak, the builder will sort them out. In a used home, you're on your own from the day you pick up the keys.
  • If you are buying a new-build you won’t find yourself stuck in a property chain because you don’t have to wait for someone else to move out before you can move in. So, you can generally fix a moving date and stick to it. That really does make life much simpler!
  • Energy costs will be lower in a new-build property because it must meet tougher building regulations for things such as insulation and double glazing than older properties did when they were built.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Is it time to buy your first home?

First time buyer couple looking at smart phone
How old do you have to be to buy your first home? The obvious answer is that there is no particular age to become a first-time buyer. But sooner is probably better than later.

Research last year by Santander found that owning a home is cheaper than renting in every part of the UK. On average, across the UK, you could make a saving of £2,268 per year if you move from renting to owning. Savings are greatest in London where the average monthly rent is £289 more than comparable mortgage payments, adding up to a potential £3,500 annual saving.

So, if you can afford to buy, it’s the smart financial decision.

Rising house prices, though, have put mortgages out of reach for many young people. As a result, the English Housing Survey reports that the average age of first-time buyers is now 33 years, up from 30 years a decade earlier.

And research which we’ve done at Larkfleet found that 58 per cent of house buyers said that their parents bought their first home at a younger age than the survey participants had done.

Financial benefits of buying - not renting

Not surprisingly, research shows that one of the main motives of becoming a home owner is a desire to stop wasting money on rent and instead start investing in an asset that you own.

When it comes to buying your first home, though, it’s not just about the money. A survey for Yorkshire Bank last year found that more than 90 per cent of actual and prospective first-time buyers say they made the change because owning a property is a good financial investment. But nearly as many also cite ‘emotional’ drivers such as ‘it feels more like home if I own it’, ‘it makes me feel grown up’ and ‘it is essential to feeling like I have succeeded in life’.

In fact, first-time buyers say that owning their own home is the most important milestone in their lives – rated more important than having children, getting married or achieving career or educational aims.

So, if home-owning has all this going for it, why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, you probably don’t need us to tell you that the biggest obstacle is getting a mortgage. And, in turn, the biggest obstacle to getting a mortgage is putting together a deposit.

Help with the finance to buy your first home

Putting together the money you need to buy your first home may not be as hard as you think. Government schemes such as Help to Buy can make a big difference to how much you have to raise and how much you have to save.

And government isn’t the only source of financial help. Research has shown that 'The Bank of Mum and Dad' is the equivalent of a £5.7 billion mortgage lender. It’s supporting more people than ever - around 27 per cent of all buyers receive help from friends or family. And our own survey showed that almost half of the buyers who received financial assistance in this way were not expected to pay it back.

Even if your family cannot afford to put up cash, they may still be able to help you get a mortgage – without a deposit. Read our insight into ‘guarantor mortgages’.

So, maybe it is time to make a move. But what sort of house should you buy?

Buying a new home

Partly because of Help to Buy – which is only available on new-build homes – more than half of new homes being constructed by most builders are now being sold to first-time buyers.

But in addition to the financial incentives, first-time buyers say they buy brand-new homes (as opposed to ones that have been previously lived in) because:

  • Once you’ve bought the house, that’s it. It is decorated, ready to move into, and fitted with a new central heating system and new appliances. Buy a second-hand home and you may soon be facing big bills for redecoration, repair and replacement at a time when you are already financially at ‘full stretch’ with your new mortgage.
  • It comes with a ten-year guarantee. If anything significant goes wrong, the builder has to put it right – at no cost to you. With a second-hand home, you’re on your own from the minute you pick up the keys.
  • You will get help and support from the builder throughout the sales process in a way that is just not possible for someone selling their house privately.

So, how old do you need to be to buy your first home? The answer is ‘old enough’. If you can raise the necessary finance (and as we’ve noted above, that may not be as difficult as you fear) there is no time like the present!

Monday, 28 January 2019

A new home you can just lock up and leave

Middle aged couple getting ready for a hike
Owning your own house is great for independence, financial security and the feeling that there is somewhere you can really call ‘home’. But sometimes it can feel like a bit of an obstacle that’s actually stopping you from doing what you want to do.

Particularly when you retire, with all the additional free time that brings with it, you often simply want to ‘up sticks and go’ – a long weekend, a world cruise, a trip to somewhere warmer and sunnier than a UK winter (not hard to find!).

But if you’ve got to worry about the security of your empty home, or what state the garden will be in by the time you get back, it maybe spoils some of the fun.

That’s why there is an increasing interest in ‘lock up and leave’ or ‘lock up and go’ homes. Homes that you can be confident will be just as you left them by the time you get back.

Over-55 retirement communities often come with that sort of assurance ‘built in’.

Because they are real communities - not just housing estates – you can be sure that your neighbours will keep an eye on your home for you. In fact, in some of these communities there are formal ‘neighbourhood watch’ schemes.

If you are leaving a car at home while you travel, that same security looks after your vehicle as well.

If your lock up and go home is an apartment, you obviously don’t need to worry about the garden looking like a jungle by the time you get back. The communal grounds and gardens will be looked after by staff.

In over-55 developments such as The Croft at Baston, where the homes are all individual bungalows with their own gardens, these tend to be much smaller than you get with a ‘conventional’ home. There is therefore much less work involved in looking after them.

And smaller gardens doesn’t mean an absence of green open space around your home. There are well-tended communal spaces between the bungalows, creating a pleasant residential setting for the whole development.

In newly built over-55 communities the homes are all designed to be low maintenance, so there is just generally less ‘upkeep’ that you need to do yourself.

Of course, if you want your new home to be a base from which you can satisfy your wanderlust – now that you have the time to do so – you want to pick a location that is close to airports, seaports, rail stations or the places in the UK that you want to visit. That cuts down on your travel time and cost if you’re taking the car. And if you are jetting off overseas, having the airport nearby makes it feasible to get a taxi to the terminal without breaking the bank (and that will save you a fortune in airport car parking charges).

The Croft at Baston is just a few minutes from Peterborough rail station - with direct connections to Stansted airport and central London.

And talking of location and finance – ‘downsizing’ (we prefer to think of it as ‘rightsizing) to a home suited to your needs away from high-priced housing areas can free up a substantial amount of cash that you can spend on travel. Or whatever else you want to do with your expanded free time now that you’ve retired.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Move home – or extend your existing home?

Move or extend? How to get more space in your house.
Needing more space is one of the most common reasons for moving home. A growing family is often the trigger that starts the search for a new house. Or maybe you would like to work from home – either working for yourself or someone else – and just need a space where you can work in peace and quiet.

Whatever the reason, if you’re thinking about moving home, maybe you should also think about the alternative – extending the home you have already. It may be cheaper and less hassle.

And if you are happy with the home you have, and like the location, why move if you don’t need to?

Well, there may be lots of reasons. Extending your home isn’t always as easy as it appears at first. But it is certainly worth looking at and we’ve set out some of the ‘pros and cons’ in this blog post to help you come to a decision.

We are assuming here that you own your house rather than rent it. But if you are a tenant rather than a homeowner, don’t immediately assume you cannot extend the property. See our ‘notes for tenants’ at the bottom of the blog.

Practical issues

One of the first things to consider, obviously, is whether you have the space to extend your home. Is your garden big enough to allow you to build an extension? Will you be happy with the size of garden you have left afterwards?

An extended home with little garden or no car parking may be difficult to sell when you eventually do move home.

Think ‘upwards’ as well as ‘outwards’. Can you create an additional room (or more than one) in your loft?

And what about going ‘downwards’? It might be possible to add a basement. But this is not a cheap option and is probably only financially feasible in high-price areas such as parts of London.

Financial issues

An extension will add value to your home as well as creating space. But you may find that the additional value is less than what you pay to get the extension built when all the costs are taken into consideration.

And anyway, if you are planning to stay in the house for the next few years (that’s why you are extending it, after all) any increase in value is not going to benefit you now – you only see the benefit when you come to sell.

Unless you have the cash to pay for the extension you are planning, you will have to take out a loan or – usually cheaper – get an additional mortgage or extend your existing mortgage. Usually the new borrowing will be via a separate account and you will be able to choose from several deals on offer. In this case, the new loan will not change the terms of your primary mortgage, but lenders will limit your total borrowing.

Some mortgage lenders are more flexible than others, but all have a limit to the ‘loan to value ratio’ (LTV) that they are prepared to consider. The total amount of your loans – what you currently owe plus the additional money you need to borrow for the extension – cannot exceed the LTV that the lender is willing to advance. This is typically 90 per cent of the total value of your home once the extension is completed.

Some lenders will be willing to let you have access to the cash before building works are complete. Others will want to see the extension finished before they part with any money – which isn’t a problem if your builder is willing to wait to the end of the project until it is paid. But you will usually get a better deal from the builder if you are willing and able to make payments as the project proceeds. And you will certainly have to pay some fees and charges 'up front'.

It may be possible to finance your extension quite cheaply if you can remortgage all your borrowings on to a better deal.

Personal and secured loans are likely to be more expensive than a mortgage, but they are worth considering if you cannot get a mortgage. But make sure you are confident you can meet the repayments. If you cannot get a mortgage for the additional expense, it may be that mortgage lenders are not convinced that you can afford the new loan. If that is the case, it should make you stop and think.

Whether you are extending your mortgage to pay for the extension or not, you will need to talk to your existing lender about what you are planning – and it is best to do this before you sign a building contract. The lender may want to see plans and a valid planning consent before giving permission for work to proceed. And there may be fees to pay for varying the mortgage.

It is a good idea to get some independent financial advice about the best way to raise money.


Make sure you tell your insurer what you are planning before building work starts. Your existing policy may not be valid if you are making changes to the structure of your house.

There may be additional premiums to pay to cover additional risks during building works and for the larger house you will own when the works are finished.

What will it cost?

The cost of building works obviously varies according to what you are having done and also on where you live. Builders in some parts of the country are simply more expensive than in others, mostly because they have higher costs to cover.

As a rough guide, though, you can expect to pay something between £1,500 and £2,000 per square metre for a single storey extension. And then there is 20 per cent VAT to pay on top of that.

That’s not the end of it though. In addition, you will have to pay:

  • Surveyors’ and architects’ fees.
  • Fees to your local council for obtaining planning consent and inspections to ensure your new building work complies with Building Regulations.

These will typically push you costs up by another 20 per cent or more.

Planning consent

You will probably need planning consent for any extension to your property unless it is quite small.  There is a handy guide here to when you need planning permission and when you don’t.

Generally, planning consent is not difficult to obtain for any reasonable building works. If you live in a conservation area though, or in a listed building, things may not be so simple.

Your architect or builder should be able to advise you and handle all the necessary paperwork. Or talk to your local council – they are usually helpful, although frequently over-worked and under-staffed which means even simple enquiries can take a long while to be dealt with.

You will have to pay a fee when you apply for planning consent – and you don’t get it back if planning consent is refused! So, it is important to get the documentation right in the first place. You don’t want to have the application refused because of simple errors in the plans. There is a guide to the fees here.


Moving house can sometimes be a lengthy business - finding the right home, selling your existing property, dealing with the complexities of being caught in a ‘chain’, and all the rest of the problems that can occur.

So, building an extension may seem like a quicker solution to your need for more space.

In fact, that is probably not going to be true! From the point where you first start thinking about this through to the day when you start using your new extension, it will take far longer than you probably expect. Getting the plans drawn up, obtaining planning consent, finding a builder and then doing the actual building work will typically take a full year.

Hassle and stress

It has often been said that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do in life. So, ‘staying put’ and having an extension built may seem a good idea to avoid that.

It is not exactly without problems, though. There’s the stress of seeing the project through its planning stages. Then, for several weeks (or even months), your home is going to be a building site, with all the associated noise and dust. You won’t be able to park your car on the drive because it will be full of building equipment. Your lawn will be a storage area for bricks, blocks and other materials. And the patience of even the most pleasant neighbours can wear thin after a few weeks of noise, mess and builders' vehicles parked all over the road.

If you are having a loft extension built it can be even more intrusive. The builders will generally gain access through the roof, rather than tramping through your home, but they will be working right above your head with scaffolding up against your windows.

It’s definitely not stress-free!

A separate solution

You can avoid many of the problems of building an extension if you are willing to have your new space separate from the rest of the house. And this can be ideal if you need that additional space for a home office or workshop rather than for ‘daily living’.

You can buy some really excellent ‘sectional buildings’ (the posh phrase for sheds) that can be well-insulated to make them usable all year round and fitted out to a high standard of convenience and comfort.

You will probably need to put in proper foundations (your supplier will advise you) and you may need planning consent (talk to your local council).


So, do you move – or do you stay and extend?

With so many things to consider, each decision is different. But while staying put and expanding your existing home may at first seem like less cost and stress, it may not prove to be the case.

And with developers such as Larkfleet Homes offering a wide range of new homes that are ready to move into, and with many also offering schemes that will relieve you of the hassle of selling your existing house, making a clean start in a new-build home could be the better option.

Notes for tenants

If you have been a good long-term tenant, and are planning to remain that way, you may find the landlord is willing to consider helping you if you want to extend your home. After all, it could leave them with a bigger and more valuable property on which they can collect more rent. 

It is a bit of a ‘long shot’, though. You are much more likely to be successful if you are renting privately than if you are renting from a housing association or council. But it is always worth asking. 

The financial arrangements can be ‘messy’, though – who is going to pay the builder, who is going to meet any additional insurance costs, what is the impact on the landlord’s mortgage on the property, etc? These complications can be enough to put off even the most willing landlord.

It can be much simpler if you are planning on creating more space by doing something like putting in a large shed, rather than building an extension to the house. But you will almost certainly need the landlord’s permission. Make sure you have that in writing before you make any financial commitments.

If you do get permission to erect a shed, your existing tenancy agreement will probably mean that you are obliged to keep it in good repair, etc.

And consider what happens when you do eventually move. Will you be able to take the shed with you (some will come apart almost as easily as they went together – in theory, at least!) or will you have to leave this expensive asset behind you?

Monday, 21 January 2019

A home for a teenager

Teenager does her homework in her bedroomSo, you want a home for a teenager? We don’t mean that you want to ship your offspring out to a hostel for troubled kids (tempting though that may be, sometimes). We mean you want to create – or maybe buy – a home where your teenager will feel … well, at home.

Let’s think about buying a new house first. We’ll look at what you can do to adapt an existing home in another blog post later.

Many families with young teens or about-to-be-teens move house. Children growing up is a turning point in family life and often a trigger for a change of home.

Younger children can maybe share a bedroom, but as they get older this becomes a problem. For a start, they are just bigger. They physically need more space. And psychologically they want their own space. We all did, when we were their age.

You want them to have their own space as well. Partly to keep them out of your space. And partly so that you don’t have to be constantly intervening in arguments between the children about who can do what in a shared room.

And they have more ‘stuff’. They may be leaving toys behind, but they fill their lives with more things. Often more clothes as they become more design and fashion conscious.

The clothes are bigger, too. A single drawer that used to hold all of a toddler’s tee-shirts, for example, will not be big enough for many teenage tops.

So, let’s face it, you need a bigger house. One with more rooms.

You probably don’t want to move far. But the kids are now of an age where they can get a bus to school further away. Or go on their bikes. You are no longer tied to being within walking distance of the junior school.

So, you can move to a different location.

It can be as simple as that. A bigger house in a different place.

But there are some things you should perhaps look out for when house-hunting.

One is fairness. “It’s not fair” is a constant teenage complaint. And if one of your children has a room that is very much bigger than the other (or others) the complaints from those allocated the smaller rooms may have some justice.

There are ways around that.

The one with the bigger room may be expected to play and study within his or her room, for example, while the other(s) have some priority over space in family areas. But it is good to agree those bargains before you move in. While you are house-hunting, in fact.

Take the kids with you when looking at potential purchases (it is going to be their new home as well, after all). Maybe not on a first visit but when you have a shortlist for a second visit. Agree the ‘deal’ then – “Jackie gets the bigger bedroom, but John can use the dining room for studying or playing on his computer – but needs to tidy things away before bedtime”. Or something like that.

If the ‘rules’ are agreed and clear from the outset, there is less chance of argument later.

So, more rooms, certainly. But think about how they are going to be used. If you are going to expect your teenagers to use their bedrooms for play and study, the rooms need to be big enough for the appropriate furniture. A bed and wardrobe won’t meet the need any more. What about a desk? A chair?

And what about visitors? If they have friends around, do you want your living room full of noisy teenagers? Or do you want your kids to do their entertaining in their rooms? How much space and furniture will they need for that?

There can be issues there, too, as they get older. What are the ‘rules’ about visiting boyfriends/girlfriends? If the only furniture in the room is a bed …..

If your budget stretches to buying a home with a room that the kids can use for entertaining friends (on a rota basis – so one of your brood doesn’t monopolise the facility) and for doing homework, etc, you can get away with smaller bedrooms. And you will have fewer worries about what the youngsters are up to with their guests where you cannot see them.

Think about the layout of the house as well. Modern, new-built, homes are pretty well soundproofed. Older homes may be less so.

Having the family room directly under a teenage bedroom can cause problems if you want the TV or music on when you also want your offspring to be sleeping. And, similarly, that drumkit in the bedroom can be a headache (literally!) if you’re trying to read a book in the room below.

And what about location? Transport links should be a key consideration. If your teenagers’ interests (sports, dance, music – or even just socialising with their friends) require them to be in places more than a short walk away, you are going to be constantly in demand as a taxi service. A house close to a bus route that serves the most likely destinations to meet your youngsters’ needs is a good idea.

Finding a house to meet all of these requirements may not be easy. But house-hunting can be fun, especially if you involve the whole family. Including the teenagers.

Start by taking a look at some of the new-build developments on offer.

And come back to the blog later for ideas on how to make the most of teenage bedrooms, whether in a new home or your existing property.

Friday, 18 January 2019

The benefits of a new home in a retirement community

Over 55 couple in retirement village
‘Retirement villages’, ‘retirement communities’ or ‘age exclusive developments’ are a relatively new idea in the UK. Ten years ago you would have struggled to find one (OK – maybe ten years you weren’t looking for one – just take our word for it!).

But maybe you are looking for one now. If not for yourself, then for family members.

In our experience (and we’ve researched this topic pretty thoroughly) it is often the children of retirement village residents who first suggest the idea to them. When your parents are starting to ‘get on a bit’ and are rattling around in the old family home which is far too big for their needs, it’s maybe time to think of making a move. Especially a move that brings them nearer to you.

And there are lots of good reasons for making the move to a retirement village.

Typically, these are communities of from 50 homes up to 200. They may be apartments, bungalows or small houses. All are designed and built to require minimum maintenance and there are usually some shared services – such as a cleaner or gardener, for example, to look after communal areas.

What retirement villages are not is ‘care homes’. Residents live active and independent lives in their own homes. They are not ‘elderly’. That’s why the age limit for these developments is sometimes as low as 50 years. But 55 or 60 is more typical.

They are designed to appeal to healthy and active people – whether retired or still working – who are ‘downsizing’.

There can be a strong financial incentive to make a move to one of these communities. Some people can sell their current home for considerably more than the cost of a new one in a retirement village, allowing them to bank a tidy sum of money.

But it is the community aspects of these developments which are their key benefit. Residents make their home among a group of like-minded neighbours. Strong new friendships are often formed.

And research shows that this has all sorts of benefits. A report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation called ‘Making the case for retirement villages’ found that:

Retirement villages promote health and well-being. Increased opportunities for social interaction and engagement can reduce the experience of social isolation, with consequent benefits to health, well-being, and quality of life.
There is often a wide range of different resident-led interest groups in retirement villages and there is a pool of people from which to draw friends and companions.
The villages show ‘solidarity in ageing’, with people making organised responses to difficulties being experienced by individuals. For example, neighbours collectively organise assistance with shopping, meal preparation, visiting and so forth for people coming out of hospital. And the community as a whole gets engaged in things such as neighbourhood watch schemes.
Living in a purpose-built, barrier-free, efficiently-heated environment removes many of the difficulties and dangers of living in inappropriate accommodation, in particular the risk of falls.

The report also shows that residents see retirement villages as a positive choice. They are particularly attracted by the combination of independence and security, as well as opportunities for social engagement and an active life.

So, if it is time for Mum and Dad (or you) to start thinking about a home better suited to their needs, why not consider somewhere like The Croft at Baston?

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Bungalows for family living

An Allison Homes bungalow
The British have a bit of a love affair with bungalows. But bungalows also have an image problem. They are are seen as good housing for people who are, perhaps, getting on in years.

We think that’s all wrong and it’s time for a ‘bungalow revival’. Bungalows can be great places to bring up a family.

Here are a few things worth thinking about:

It is stating the obvious – but there are no stairs! So, if you have young children you don’t need to worry about stair gates to stop them falling down the steps. And when you trip over the toys they’ve left strewn around, you’re not going to fall down the stairs either!
Everyone is closer to hand. When the kids are playing in their bedrooms, they somehow seem nearer than when they are a floor above you. And if you need to make several trips to their room in a morning to get them out of bed or in an evening to drag them in to dinner, the closeness can have advantages. You won’t need to shout up the stairs any more (but maybe you just text them anyway, if you’re in a really big house!).
It may be a mixed blessing – but you won’t be constantly going up and down stairs to visit the loo, get the washing from the bedrooms, etc. But if that is the only exercise you get all day, maybe stairs are a good thing!
However, the fact that moving items such as furniture around the home is easier in a bungalow is definitely an advantage. If you’ve ever tried to get a wardrobe up a flight of stairs, you’ll know what we mean!
Bungalows can be easier to keep clean and tidy, inside and out. Apart from the fact that there are no stairs to keep clean, all your windows are on one level – so you don’t need to employ a window cleaner. If you have the time, you can clean all the windows yourself with no more specialist equipment than a step ladder.
Exterior maintenance of a bungalow can be easier than a house as well. If your window frames need repainting, they are all within easy reach of the ground. And a step ladder is all you will need to reach the gutters for clearing or painting.
If you’re surrounded by other bungalows, you won’t have anyone overlooking your garden.
Planning ahead, it’s a fact that most of us get less mobile as we get older. Having all your rooms on one floor may mean that, even if your mobility declines to the stage where you need a wheelchair or walking frame, you won’t need to move home.

But there are some downsides you may want to think about as well:

Some people are not happy sleeping on the ground floor, feeling that they are somehow more vulnerable. We’ve not seen any evidence that this is the case. But sometimes evidence isn’t what matters - it’s how you feel!
Some people feel that living on one level means that there’s not as much separation between living and bedroom areas. There is also a perception that there will be more problem with noise – eg, the TV in the living area keeping children awake – but again there’s no evidence to support this. Modern bungalows are built to high standards. You will probably have as much trouble with noise in a house traveling through ceilings as with noise in a bungalow traveling through the walls.
You may also feel there is less privacy when bathrooms are on the same level as other living areas. Again, it’s a ‘perception thing’. How do you feel about it?
Pound for pound, you will probably get more living space with a house than you will with a bungalow. In other words, a bungalow is likely to have a higher cost per square foot (or square metre – we really should ‘go metric’ in the property business).

A recent survey carried out by Tepilo, Sarah Beeny’s estate agency, found that people living in bungalows are the nation’s happiest homeowners. They were the most likely to say they are very happy with their property, with 51 per cent agreeing. This was followed by those living in detached properties (41 per cent), semi-detached homes (37 per cent) and flats (34 per cent).

Put all the evidence together and you can see that living in a bungalow has many advantages. So, while they are extremely popular with older homeowners, younger buyers are also realising the many benefits that these properties offer.

If you are interested in bungalow living, take a look at the Allison Homes developments at Pinchbeck Fields and Nettleham Chase.

And if you are over 55 and thinking about a bungalow in a ‘retirement community’, you could take a look at our development at The Croft in Baston.