It’s common sense that if you wish to make a difference to the lives of others, it helps if you have a stable grounded life yourself. And part of that is a safe affordable home for you and those you love. But the powers that be make moving home one of the most stressful things you can do. But it doesn’t have to be that way. For a start, if you downsize and simplify your life so it reflects who you want to be, moving is sos much easier. Most people use conventional estate agents (as there are no fees). If you sell online, Strike has better reviews than most. It’s not really an estate agent as it’s free, but makes money by mortgages, hosted viewings, surveys and moving services.
This is a case where often you are best using a local indie estate agent, often because you don’t pay anything unless you sell. It’s a bit of a faff but it’s better than paying thousands online that you don’t get back, if your home does not sell. In Cornwall, there was a non-profit estate agent that gave all profits to the community – yet nobody used it so it folded?
a safer stress-free move for pets
For moving in (or people replacing you moving out), make gardens safe for pets (includes indoor plants to avoid). Avoid facing indoor foliage to gardens, to help stop birds flying into windows. Read this book to keep dogs safe (and pets tag) for advice.
Moving is stressful for pets, so have friends/relatives look after them while you move, then give a wlk and keep familiar smelly pet beds, clothes (not socks, choking hazards) nearby. If moving far, check train and tube info (avoid escalators). Driving with Dogs lists walks near motorway exits.
- Lets with Pets (run by Dogs Trust) has info for tenants and a free Good Practice Handbook for landlords (Endsleigh Insurance provides landlords with pet policy cover). Their advice includes:
- Begin searching several weeks beforehand, for plenty of time to find the best place. Know that if you work all day, your bored dog is likely best at work with you, or hiring a walker.
- Write a pet CV including references from friends, vets and previous landlords. It helps to introduce them to prospective landlords too.
- PetsLets (London) educates landlords and estate agents (half of all households have pets) to inspire them to allow pets. DogLaw has useful info, if you need help.
alternative ways to rent (or let) homes
In many countries with high rentals like Italy and Germany, the industry is more regulated. But elsewhere, renting is difficult as higher mortgages for landlords mean higher rents, yet available properties reducing. Read more on how to get out of debt.
Finland’s nonprofit landlord Y-Säätiö not only owns 20,000 homes to work with councils, but is the first country to have no homelessness (along with Denmark, the only country’s with falling rates). Its M2-Kodit homes are fully-furnished, affordable and safe with access to green space, public transport and laundry.
The government’s Rent-a-Room scheme lets householders earn up to £7500 tax-free income (halved if you share income) from letting furnished rooms (you can also use this to rent B & B and hotel rooms, out of season to earn income during winter, and avoid tax). Zero Deposit replaces the five-weeks-in-advance security property. FCA-regulated and accepted by most estate agents, you pay one week’s rent and a simple fee, with a Dispute service).
If you see an empty property, report it to You Spot Property. If it meets their criteria, they give you a £20 gift voucher. If they buy it, you get 1% of the price (capped at £10K – conditions apply).
Homeshare UK lets people at risk of homelessness live (after checks) in a spare room of someone that needs around 10 hours of help a week (housework, dog-walking, company, shopping) and the rent is around £200 a month. You could also housesit for someone (we don’t list sites as some have good or bad reviews).
how extended family homes can work for some
Extended family homes are common in Indian cultures, and sometimes they can provide a wonderful solution for families struggling on a budget. The caveat is that this solution is not for everyone, but for close families that get on, it could work sometimes.
It basically involves various relatives selling up and moving into one larger home. This can in some circumstances pay off mortgages (or drastically reduce payments) and mean elderly relatives are not isolated hundreds of miles away, and there is free baby/pet/granny-sitting on tap. It may take a bit of downsizing work (selling/donating/recycling clutter), but for a few weeks work, the results may well give everyone a better quality of life.
Let’s look at an example of how extended family homes could work.
You and your partner live in a tiny London flat, working 80 hours to pay the mortgage, and never see either widowed parent hundreds of miles away, nor the depressed granny with a dog who lives in her own house in a built-up area. If you all get on, you could all sell up and buy a nice big 5-bedroomed house with garden in a nice area, with no mortgage. Then you all regain time and money, live in a nicer area and granny gets a free dog-walker (and you have free sitters, if you decide to have children).