Demand for bungalows is expected to grow over the coming years, with more older home-buyers seeking accessible properties. This type of home is in short supply in some areas, including south east London, so there may be pressure to agree a purchase quickly. However, before committing yourself to buy, it is essential to consult an expert property surveyor and make sure the home is in good condition.
The first bungalows were built in the UK in the second half of the 19th century, but they became more popular in the 1920s and 30s. In recent years fewer bungalows have been built because of pressure on land. However, the Government is now advising councils to build and approve more bungalows, since they are ideal for elderly people and those with disabilities.
There is often a greater choice of bungalows available in rural areas, because there is more space available to build – so, if you want this type of property, you may have more choice if you look on the edges of a town or city, or in nearby villages, rather than in the main built-up area. For instance, in Suffolk there are numerous bungalows in the Woodbridge area, especially in Kesgrave, near Martlesham.
The major advantage of bungalows over traditional houses is their better access. With all the accommodation on one floor, there is no need for people with limited mobility to struggle up and down stairs or fit stairlifts. The construction of most bungalows also makes it easier to make modifications such as widening doorways for wheelchairs.
What’s more, it is often easier to change the layout than it might be with a traditional two-storey home – with a popular trend being to turn much of the building into an open-living space. This can make your home more light and airy as well as having access advantages.
Another plus-point is the fact that each bungalow tends to take up a larger plot than a similar two-storey building, especially in the case of detached homes. This gives advantages in terms of privacy and peace, which can also be enhanced by planting a hedge or shrubs around the exterior of your home after you move in.
Also if you think you may want to build an extension in future, bungalows offer good possibilities for this. It’s usually possible to extend upwards, which will add value to your home without taking away garden space. However, if you are buying with a view to extending the property, it’s important to check whether planning permission is likely to be an issue before going ahead with the purchase, rather than just assuming this.
As with any style of property, bungalows do have some possible drawbacks for prospective purchasers to bear in mind. As well as the general points to consider, a building surveyor can advise you if you have concerns about the specific home you are looking at.
Because these properties only have one floor, you won’t have as much space available as in a two-storey home on a similar-sized plot, so this is something to think about. You also need to bear in mind that you are likely to pay more for each square metre of living space than with other types of housing.
Another possible concern when buying a bungalow is keeping the property secure. When all the rooms are on one floor, this can make it easier for intruders to break in, so there is a need to take good security measures. For instance, you will need quality locks on all external doors and windows, and may also want to install alarm systems.
There may also be privacy disadvantages as well as advantages. With bathrooms and bedrooms all on ground level, it’s worth considering whether you need to make changes to ensure people are not too visible to passers-by, for instance by adding frosted glass or blinds.
Before deciding whether a bungalow is right for you, you need to weigh up all these factors. It’s important to look at whether the property you are considering will be the right kind of accommodation for you now and whether it can be customised or altered if needed in the future.
Many people buying bungalows are likely to be paying cash rather than taking out a mortgage, for instance if they are moving there on retirement after selling another property. However, it is still essential to arrange a full building survey of a bungalow before deciding whether to buy. Even if you are buying with a home loan, the lender’s mortgage valuation report is not enough on its own, since the valuer is working on behalf of the lender. To protect your investment, it is vital that you appoint an independent property surveyor to act on your behalf.
Based near Ipswich, Anderson Associates are RICS registered surveyors and the Principal Paul Anderson, is a chartered surveyor (MRICS). We have carried out many full building surveys of bungalows in the Suffolk, Essex and Kent areas. Click on the link to contact us and find out about our services, including property surveys, or call us on 01473 623 656 or freephone 0800 652 8285.