When does your new house become a home?

A new study has revealed what Brits do when they move into a new home, including the jobs we tackle first, the DIY tasks we prioritise and exactly how long it takes us to unpack.

The in-depth research of UK homebuyers, found that it takes an average of 4 months for a new house to feel like home and that Brits aren’t the quickest when it comes to unpacking, taking an average of 3.4 months to do so completely.

First jobs we tackle

After moving into a new home, the first five jobs Brits tackle are sorting the broadband, TV and phone (53%), cleaning (49%), putting the bed up (47%), calling utility suppliers (47%) and putting up blinds and curtains (36%).

Just a quarter (25%) say the first thing they do is change the locks, and only 24% say their first job is to install a smoke alarm or check the existing ones work, proving safety isn’t a top priority for many of us.

And one in 10 of us skip all the usual formalities, prioritising heading to the local pub to check it out before doing anything else. 

Home Improvements

When it comes to larger scale home improvement projects, the things we tackle first are decorating (55%), getting new carpets and flooring (41%) and transforming the garden (33%).

Over a quarter of us (28%) install a new bathroom, 25% rip out the existing kitchen and replace it with a new one and 20% invest in new windows. 

Brits also like to change the layout of their new homes, with 18% doing so and a further 12% extending to create extra space.

On average, Brits spend £15,419 on transforming a new house, with those living in London being the biggest spenders (£25,215), followed by the North East (£19,943). People living in Yorkshire and the Humber (£8,436) and Wales (£8,504) spend the least doing up their homes. 

The room Brits tackle first after moving in is the living room (38%), followed by the kitchen (17%) and the main bedroom (15%). Just 3% of Brits say the first room they do is their kid’s bedroom.

Making a house a home

When it comes to a new house feeling like home, it takes Brits an average of four months to get there. However, a lucky one in 10 (11%) said their new house felt like home the moment they got the keys.

A new house starts to feel like home when people have unpacked their belongings and put them in place (33%), when people have decorated and put their own stamp on it (26%) and after doing a deep clean (17%).

One in 10 (11%) also say a new house feels like home once they’ve cooked their first meal in it and 8% say it’s once they’ve enjoyed their first cup of tea in it.

Good neighbours can often make people feel at home, and the research also revealed how people met theirs after moving in.

Almost four in 10 (39%) met their new neighbours when they bumped into them on the street, 21% knocked on their neighbours’ doors to introduce themselves and 14% invited their neighbours round for a drink.

Celebrating the big move

In the first month after moving into a new home, Brits get an average of seven visitors coming to have a look their new digs.

And when it comes to celebrating a move, we’re a divided lot, with 50% saying we’d host a housewarming party and 50% saying no way.

Of those that would, one in 10 (10%) would host a party before doing anything to the house so there’s no risk of damage, with almost three in 10 (29%) stating they’d host a party once they’ve got the house exactly as they want it. The other 11% who’d host a party would only do so in summer when they could have it outside.

The research demonstrates that Brits are a house-proud lot and are happy to invest time and money transforming a new house into somewhere they can call home. Good décor, new kitchens and bathrooms and well-designed layouts and extensions all add to the value of a property, so by tackling these jobs, Brits are creating homes they love whilst adding value too. And with property prices at an all-time high, it’s a good idea to improve your home as much as possible. 

However, one startling revelation is how few of us prioritise tackling safety-related jobs after moving in. Brits should make changing their locks and sorting smoke alarms out a priority when they move into a new home to create a safe and secure environment. Everything else can wait – even broadband!