Are you Ready to Make the Biggest Purchase of your Life?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Growing up can catch you off-guard.

Seems like it was only yesterday you were sat in a share-house, sitting on a sofa you salvaged from a council clean-up. Now you’re married, with a baby on the way, and about to move into your first family home.

Not only will you need a bunch of new furniture but you’ll also need a reliable home and contents policy to insure all of your grown-up acquisitions.

Here’s how to make sure you’re adequately covered. A new home brings with it new challenges. Your old place might not have had a back garden, storage, a study, or a nursery. So, what do you need to fill all that extra space?


1. A good nights sleep

Assuming you’ll spend an average of 25 years asleep, a decent bedstead is a worthy investment. But there’s a lot to consider: wood or steel? Contemporary, traditional or “colonial”? Double, queen or king?

It’s important to measure the available space. As a guide, your bed should be 10-15cm longer than the tallest person sleeping in it, and able to accommodate the pair of you comfortably. Go down to the shop and roll about together. There should be absolutely no sag in the mattress and the base should be sturdy enough to last a decade: if it creaks, it’s too weak.


2. Sofar, so good

Life’s too short for flea-bitten, mismatched sofas. Like your bed, comfort and support are key. But you’ll also need to match shape to shape. Don’t overpower a narrow, or smaller, living room with one monster couch.

Instead, consider a couple of “sectional sofas” that fit together, in an L or U-shape. Look for strong upholstery and durable fabrics like leather, cord or chenille. And the younger your family, the darker the colour; nothing spoils a pristine white chaise-lounge quite like a child who has been playing in the garden.


3. Home is where the office is

Why not turn your spare room into a fully-functional home office? Not only will it save you spreading your files across the kitchen table but any purchases (desktop computer, stationary, oscillating fan etc) can most likely be claimed as a tax write-off. Worried Nanna Maggie won’t have a place to kip? Consider a futon, or a folding bed, that can be kept in the corner and rolled out for guests.


4. Decorating is child's play

They may seem little, but your bundle of joy will take up an astonishing amount of space. A newborn needs a place to sleep, a change area, and storage for clothes, nappies and a seemingly never-ending supply of muslins (either a wardrobe or chest of drawers). As they grow, you’ll need a safe play area, a fully-stocked toy box, a toddler’s bed and, for the creative types, a pint-sized desk and chair for messy art projects.


5. A cut above

Nothing says “responsible adult” like giving the lawn a haircut. Larger properties may require a petrol (or even a ride-on) mower - these generally have a larger cutting diameter (between 45 -50cm), while those with smaller, inner-city gardens (50sq m or less) may prefer the electric or battery-powered options (30-40cm).

Look for a mower that’s easy to push and manoeuvre – for instance, the cord on an electric model can become frustrating for the more free-spirited – height-adjustable and reasonably hard-wearing. And remember: cheapest isn’t always best.


Ask the experts, what do you need to know?

What’s your top tip for people upgrading/moving home (in terms of insurance)?

First things first, always check the small print of your existing home and contents policy. If you are adding new big ticket items to your home, such as a big screen TV or a top-of-the range desktop computer, you’ll want to be sure they’ll be covered. Call your insurer before you move to avoid any nasty surprises.


When adding valuables/new possessions to your new home, how do you adjust your existing home and contents policy accordingly?

Ensuring your home and contents insurance policy is up to date and covers you for ‘all that you have’ is surprisingly easy to do. Whenever you make a new purchase, or make changes to your home, it is important that you contact your insurer and update your policy – whether that be increasing your contents cover, or you sum insured for the value of your property. If you’re unsure if it is necessary to update your existing policy with the new purchase, we recommend contacting your insurer and asking – they will be able to assist you in making the right decision to ensure you have adequate cover for your needs. It is important that you do this as soon as possible, to ensure you have peace of mind and can relax in the knowledge that you, your home and any new possessions you may have are covered in case the worst does happen.


What’s the one thing people tend to overlook when purchasing home and contents insurance?

People often forget to notify their insurers of any change in circumstances. Insurance should not be a set-and-forget investment – it should be something you review regularly – we recommend at leaste each year. You may have taken out home and contents insurance six years ago, say, but since then you’ve renovated the kitchen, upgraded your home office, and you’re now married – which means you have an expensive engagement and wedding ring at home. It is vital that your insurance policy reflects these life changes. 


Article written by Richard Scott. Repurposed from the original post, Moving into Your First Family Home, on The Courier Mail.