Trading up? Advice for second steppers

Whether you’re spurred on by the stamp duty holiday or have found being home together has highlighted a lack of space, we are a nation on the move to bigger properties. The rise of the second stepper – homeowners trading up from their first home to a larger residence – is more pronounced than ever, with upsizers fighting over three and four-bedroom houses across the country.

The scramble for more space is, of course, pushing up house values. Rightmove reported in September 2020 that prices continue to climb – up 0.2% in August 2020 when compared to July 2020, and up 5% annually. The online portal also noted acute activity and record asking prices in the second-stepper sector. 

If you’re in a one or two-bedroom property and intend to join the ranks of the second stepper, there are a few considerations other than a higher asking price. You may wish to think about the following before you ascend the property ladder. 

  • Moving costs: there’s a brilliant window of opportunity to buy your next home with no stamp duty or at least a reduced bill*. You’ll still have to factor in, however, solicitor’s fees, a mortgage arrangement fee (if applicable), removal costs and an agent’s fee if you also have a property to sell.
  • Redecorating costs: if you’re gaining more rooms or more square footage, your interior will cost more to change. Be mindful that you’ll need more paint and more carpet, for instance, plus there will be more windows to dress.
  • Running costs: a bigger property will cost more to heat and power. It’s also worth checking out the council tax banding of a bigger home you’re interested in, noting the difference when compared to where you are living now.
  • Budget for furniture: extra bedrooms are brilliant but to optimize the space, they need to be furnished, so factor in the cost of buying a bed, bedside cabinets and a wardrobe. Likewise, if you’re swapping eating from a tray on your lap for a dedicated dining room, you’ll need to buy a table and chairs.
  • The value of a home office: if your primary motivation for upsizing is to gain a home office, you may face stiff competition from others moving for the same reason. Be prepared to pay a premium for houses where there’s a dedicated study on the ground floor, or consider alternative options, such as using a guest bedroom as a home working hub or adding a garden room for the 9 to 5.

If an extra bedroom, a home office or extra outside space is on your moving wish list, tell us the size of your current home and we’ll show you properties for sale that give you the extra space you crave. Get in touch to start your search. 

*Purchases must legally complete by 31st March 2021 to qualify for a zero or reduced stamp duty bill