Tips On Finding Your Perfect Home

Whether you are buying your very first property or looking for your next home, the process of finding a home which matches all of your requirements can be challenging.

For some, it can be as simple as walking into their very first property and knowing that it is the one for them; however, others can find the search for the perfect home a little more difficult.  And in some ways it should be. After all, it is one of the biggest financial commitments you are likely to make so by really knowing exactly what you want will save you both costly mistakes and time.

We have put together a list of important aspects to consider before beginning your search. By having a good idea of what you are looking for, what you can afford and what you are willing to compromise on you will find the home buying proccess much easier and enjoyable!
1.    Location, Location, Location
A bit of a cliché but location is one of the most important things to decide on before beginning your search. Even if you don’t 100% pinpoint your search to one town or area – having a good idea about a few potential areas will give you a good filter. If the location is completely none negotiable then your search may be a little harder. Try where possible to be flexible or have a couple of options. You may just find that your dream home is an area only ten minutes from your preferred location and offers everything and more to where you thought you wanted to live.

2.    Schools
Depending on where it is that you want to live and your personal requirements, it is always a good idea to have a look at the schools in the area. There are a few reasons for this:
  •  If your home is in a catchment area for a school (particularly a good school), it is likely to keep its value - there are always families looking to move into catchment areas.
  • You may be a long time off planning for a family, however, in the long scheme of things it can work out more expensive to move into an area without a school (which will be cheaper initially) but then decide to move into a catchment area. The cost of selling, buying, plus natural inflation means this is likely to work out more expensive long term.
  • In competitive areas, moving to a catchment area can sometimes be the only way to ensure that your children get into a specific school. As the population grows, the catchment areas for schools are getting a lot stricter and smaller so ensure you check out where your home sits within that area before committing to a move.

3.    What is Really  Important to you
I'm sure you all will know what I mean by that statement. Do you really need that fourth bedroom or is it a ‘nice to have’? Can you live without a garage? Whilst I appreciate that most of us have a minimum requirement, the ‘nice to haves’ can sometimes narrow  your searches down to the point of making them impossible. By all means, look to get as much for your money as possible, but also make sure you have put together a list of requirements which you would be willing to compromise on to amplify your search success.  Also, see as many properties as possible – even if they don’t always have all of your requirements on paper– getting a feel for the property is just as important as making sure it ticks all the physical boxes.

4.    Set Your Budget and Stick To It
From the outset, it is crucial that you have a realistic idea of how much you can afford. From the deposit and stamp duty to mortgage repayments and council tax. Once you have a figure, make sure you only search for houses within that region – estate agents usually recommend adding on a little extra as the vendors are sometimes in a position to accept less than the asking price – however, looking too high over your budget will only make you tempted to compare your search results to properties you cannot afford.

Once you have found a house that you love and put your top offer in, it can be difficult not to up and up your budget to get the offer accepted. But make sure you take time to consider if the house is actually worth the extra money and if you can really afford it. The last thing you want is for the mortgage repayments and bills to drain you of your income every month.

5.    Forever Home or Stepping Stone?
A really important aspect to consider which is often overlooked is whether or not the property you are purchasing is a ‘Forever Home’ or a ‘Stepping Stone’. There are a couple of reasons why this is important.
  •  Forever Home – If the property is going to be home you plan to spend the rest of your life in it will be important for you to expand your criteria to account for any future plan you may have. For example, are you planning to have children/more children? Is there enough bedrooms if you do? Can you extend the property? What are schools in the area like? If your children will be moving out in 2-3 years will the property be too big? Whilst it may be difficult to tick every box, it will be worth considering these points to help you decide which property will be right for you long term.
  • Stepping Stone – If this property is set to be a stepping stone on the property ladder then look at ways you can add value to the property – is there land/permissions to extend? What is the rental value? How much are you likely to make on the property?  How quickly do properties in this area sell? It is important to consider these points for when you come to resell the property. Be wary about converting rooms such as garages. They may put buyers off as opposed to adding value. 

Publish date: 18/09/2017