Finding a property can prove a never ending task. If you haven't narrowed down which areas you want to live in, you'd best get that out of the way first. Settled on an area already? Time to start house-hunting.
Get the ball rolling by focusing on your own needs! Think of and write down features that are a must and are non-negotiable. This could be the property type, number of bedrooms, a driveway, or perhaps a garden? Once you have finished this list, you can use the filters on popular property search websites to narrow down the search quickly!
Here are a few things you might want to consider.
House or flat
Consider the space required, noise levels and how much privacy you would like. Houses offer more space, privacy and less noise whereas flats can offer more security and less responsibility.
Age of the property
Older and existing properties tend to provide better value for money by providing a great opportunity to refurbish and make the home your own. This might also increase its future market value. However, you’d need to make sure you have the finances, knowledge and resources for this. Newer properties generally require less attention and less scope for improvement. They often end up being more expensive in comparison to existing properties.
Energy efficiency rating
Always consider the energy rating of the property. Choosing a home with a better energy rating will help you save money on bills in the long term.
Think about possible ways to improve the property? Think about specific extensions, loft conversions and even potentially increasing the surface area? Any improvements you make will increase the value of the property and enhance your living experience. This will require extra savings to achieve and considering this early on will help improve your property search.
Consider the circumstances most likely to change. The more settled you are, the more space you’ll need. And even this can change quickly, for example, if you plan on having children. Taking note of the most likely changes will put less pressure on you to find a more suitable property when that time comes.
You should also look at potential changes to the local area which you can find via local authority websites. Local area developments are planned well in advance and can give you an excellent indicator of how the area will develop, in the short and long term.
Each local council has a record of planning permissions and you can find out if any applications were applied to on behalf of the property you want to buy. The records will tell you whether previous applications were accepted or rejected. You will get a great indicator of what is possible in terms of improving your home and can help you negotiate a better price.
Condition of the property
When viewing a property, you can save yourself a survey if you know what to look for. This is a great way to avoid wasting time and money on a property that potentially is not suitable. Most sellers will undertake some superficial work such as a new paint job in order to improve the look of the property and potentially hide any faults. Make sure to look for any signs, such as loose wires, cracks in the walls or floors, mould residue and rotten wood as they are often a sign of bigger, and expensive, faults.
Finding a dreamy property as your first home buy is incredibly difficult and you’ll need to make a few, if not several compromises to get on the property ladder. Each compromise is an opportunity help you get a better price and increase the value of the property. It’s super easy to fall in love with a property and let your emotions take over. Make sure you take time to think things through to take an objective approach. Researching and analysing the property properly will allow you to make an informed decision as you make the one of the most expensive purchases of your life.
Taking into account the aforementioned considerations will prepare you well when you start viewing properties frequently. Always go with a list of questions prepared and even better, click here to download and print off our detailed checklist.
If you use the banks’ calculators, you will be able to print an agreement in principle. It is not uncommon for estate agents to ask for proof of funds when house hunting so keep this document with you in case you need it.