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My dream home

My dream home

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Whether it's the bustle of a modern block or the tranquillity of a woodland hideaway, most of us have got a pretty good idea of what environment suits us best. Unfortunately, you can't always get what you want in this life and perfect homes are for only the very luckiest. The rest of us have to make do or compromise our dreams, especially whilst moving up the property ladder.

OK, so you realise that the 18 room, top 4 floor medieval conversion penthouse with a panoramic view over London, rooftop swimming pool and tennis court, library, private lift from the underground car park, helipad, river moorings, butler, maid, cook, nanny and fully stocked bar just isn't going to happen. A shame, yes, but you can always move without the kids and that way you won't need a nanny. Or you could be a tad more realistic and think about what the most important things really are.

What is essential? What would you really like? What could you do without at a push? And what must be avoided at all costs?

If you think in these terms and go through our ideal home exploration even the least artistic amongst you should be able to paint a pretty good mental picture of a home you could be happy in. As you are going through the categories, keep a note of your needs, preferences and dislikes and rate them as Essential, Prefer, Do without, and No way! You should then be able to pick out the most important have and have not features for your new home. Remember to think not just about today, but also the medium term. Will you be planning any new additions to the family? Will kids be moving away? Will you really need that extra space, or will it prove to be insufficient?

Use your notes to let estate agents know the specifics of what you are looking for and then take them with you whenever you go to view a property. You can then rate any property by a logical method as well as judging your gut reaction.

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