Wednesday, 18 March 2020

How to find the right home

Buying a home can be an incredibly stressful undertaking, as it is probably the biggest and most important purchase you will make in your lifetime. Setting some parameters from the offset can give you the focus to determine what you are looking for and how to go about finding it.

Think carefully about your budget - and then stick to it.
Buying a house can end up being quite an emotional process so when it comes to what you can afford you need to set a clear budget. It’s all too easy to get lured in by properties outside your price range, especially if you don’t have a clear cut-off. It is worth stretching yourself slightly, especially if you are early in your career - for most people their mortgage gets more affordable over time. However, you need to be able to weather interest rate rises and manage costs comfortably. Speak to a mortgage provider before the search to ensure what you plan to borrow is in line with what they are happy to give you. It’s also important to do your research so you know what you can afford for your budget, and you can start house hunting with realistic eyes open.

Get to know the local estate agents
These days many people will start their search online. This is a great way to get a feel for what is out there and the prices. But once you decide where it is you are looking and what you are looking for, it can pay to think offline as well as on. People looking to sell their homes will be getting valuations and talking to local estate agents. If you ensure you are too, it might just be that you are one of the first to hear of a new property on the market. Jamie Gray from Nexa Estate Agents in Portsmouth, says “Local estate agents have years of experience of the full surrounding area and are the first port of call as people value their houses so it makes sense to check in with them regularly.”

Allow for growing space - think ahead
You are planning your future when you buy a new home. It is a time to think about what you want for the longer-term as best you can. Even if its not your forever home, people often end up living somewhere a lot longer than they initially anticipate. Think carefully about the size of a property, the number of rooms, the garden and the location - will it meet some expanding needs? You may find that all of a sudden the years have passed and you are still there!

Know what is important and where you can compromise
There is likely be a type of house that you are more attracted to. But be clear on what about a home is fundamentally important to you and what is just nice to have. Certain features will obviously increase the price. Unless you are right at the top end of the market, you will probably need to compromise, so be sure on what bits you are happy to compromise on. Be really honest with yourself about the importance of the type of house or street, the size, number of rooms, garden, off-street parking, views, proximity to public transport, etc.

Also consider the amount of work you are prepared to take on. If you are happy to buy a project house make sure you understand how much work and expense will be involved. Under-estimating this can be very costly physically and emotionally.

Train yourself to see beyond the decor
Ok, some people may be more creative than others, but you must not be swayed by the decor of a place. It’s easy to get sucked in because the style and furnishings of a house really suit you. But will it still feel worth the price tag when all the nice interiors have be taken with the owner? Equally, don’t overlook a great property because the style is not to your taste. A home will quickly look very different with your possessions and it is amazing what even a lick of paint and a change of curtains can do.

Ask the right questions and get the right insights
When you finally find somewhere that feels right, before you get too attached be sure to ask all the right questions. How long has this house been on the market, why is the seller selling, and what has it been sold for previously? With the rate of development in the UK, it is really important to check the plans for the local area. You’ll want to know if those lovely fields behind you are earmarked for anything. Also, be sure to view the property at different times, properly check out the neighbourhood if you are not familiar with it and perhaps visit it in the evening. And of course, your second viewing should be thorough. Use a checklist to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Finally, be prepared for the unexpected. The head often gives way to the heart in the house buying process and you may find somethings end up being more or less important than you thought. Good luck in finding your home sweet home.

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