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Do The Shoes Fit

Sooner or later, it happens to us all. You go into a shop, spot a pair of shoes and try them on. They look terrific and feel great. You walk around the store a few times, buy them and take them home. The very first time that you wear them to go out, they prove to be excruciatingly uncomfortable!

In a rage, you throw them into the back of a wardrobe. There they remain, gathering dust until it’s either spring cleaning time or you’re packing up to move. You try them on again, hoping that your feet have changed shape and willing them to be comfortable. They’re not! You toss them back in disgust! If they were a cheap pair of shoes, you realise that you’ve wasted your money: if they were expensive, you realise you’ve wasted a lot of your money.

Astonishingly, buying a new home can be just as impulsive. Research has shown that it takes about 3 minutes, at most, for us to decide whether or not we like a home. Sometimes we make only one or two visits to a property and decide to buy it. We should visit at different times of the day to assess the natural light in various weather conditions and to experience the artificial, electric light at night. We should check how busy the roads are at rush hour and if they’re quiet on a Sunday morning and find out a little about neighbours’ habits. After all do you really want to live next door to an aspiring drummer or a house full of outdoor trampolining gymnasts? It’s also vital if buying a flat to check if the sound carries from the floors above, below and from the sides otherwise you may end up living there at your peril.

Leaving aside the legal formalities and searches, we do make enquiries about the quality of local schools. If we’re not familiar with an area, we may check out some infrastructure amenities such as local shops, bus routes, train services, access to motorways and proximity of pubs or restaurants. If we think we know a location well, we already believe we know the answers so rarely ask any questions. We may have fallen in love with the garden or the view and forget that we spend most of the time indoors.

We are notoriously remiss at considering how we’ll actually live in a home and how we want it arranged to fit in with our life style. It is invariably a completely different arrangement from the previous occupiers. In fact almost half home owners have changed the use of rooms from their intended use but didn’t necessarily think of this at the time of purchase. Consequently home offices are pushed into spare bedrooms (having a home office is already important for the 4 million home workers in this country). These are often the smallest, darkest rooms in the house even though they can turn out to be the rooms that are used the most. 13% of home owners want or need a home laundry or utility room but often overlook the fact that there isn’t one during early viewings. The garage is sometimes examined more closely than any other part of the house with the sole aim of finding out if it’s big enough to dump a whole load of rubbish.

How often have you heard the complaint that following a recent house move, the new place just isn’t what we expected or what we wanted? So, in just the same way as buying a pair of shoes, take extra time to check that not only does a home look right but that it’s also comfortable and feels right for you for a long time to come. After all, you can always throw a pair of shoes into the back of a wardrobe but you can’t do that with your home.