They say you often find the love of your life when you’re not really looking; that isn’t true of houses.
It’s fine to leisurely scan the property pages of your local paper, nudging your partner and saying “isn’t that one lovely?” Just don’t mistake that for house hunting.
Buy your next home like you bought your first one – by listing what you want, settling on what you’ll pay, registering with builders and estate agents, getting alerts from Rightmove, Zoopla etc. Otherwise you’re daydreaming, not shopping.
Also, consider whether all the little niggles about your present home are really building up to “we’ve got to move”?
Clearly, if your new job is 250 miles away, then it’s a no-brainer. An expanding family may also push you into your next move, as indeed would other family obligations like being closer to those that need your help, school considerations etc.
The chances are that, if you’ve already reached this point of considering it, you are serious – but it’s just worth checking before you dive in.