House prices are climbing. With the demand for properties rising and the supply of new build homes still falling short, quality homes are scarce. Many houses don’t linger on the market for long – so when you stumble over a great-looking home, how do you quickly decide that it’s the right property for you before someone else gets their hands on it?
Whether you’re seriously searching with a budget in mind, or just having a casual nose around, finding a home isn’t always plain sailing. From dodgy surveys to being gazumped, house hunting can be a heart wrenching experience. However ugly it might be, it’s best to search wisely and weed out any issues early on to avoid the devastating realisation of finding structure problems and nightmare neighbours once you’ve moved in!
The following tips have been created to help you find your ultimate dream home.
1. Property Types. When you picture your future home, what do you see? Consider what you really want from the property. Will a mobile home do? Would you be happy squeezed into a terraced property? Or is a detached farm house perfect for your family? When considering the property type that would best suit you, have a look on Rightmove, see the floorplans and get an idea of what is available and at what price. The floor space must match your lifestyle.
Your current circumstances and your future plans will dictate what you need. A 2 bed flat or maisonette might be great for you now, but what about 3 or 7 years down the line? A mortgage is a huge commitment; you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the right property, even if this is just to get your foot on the property ladder.
You might also want to consider a self-build, where you purchase land and build your home from the foundations up. This is great if you’re a bit more adventurous (or too OCD to live in a home that doesn’t meet your exact needs). Self-building your property can give you the freedom to make your dream home a reality. You can read all the pros and cons in this blog post here.
2. Location. For some, location is more important than the property you’re buying. Consider things like commuting time to work; how close your family are; and distance to other important amenities like shops, hospitals, parks and public transport.
There are other little things to consider too – what’s the traffic like? Google Maps has an excellent tool to tell you what the average traffic is like on roads at different times of the day. This is an invaluable tool when you’re only free to view properties at lunch time, for example. Are you on the right side of town for access to motorways and train lines? How much does this matter to you now and how will that change in the future if you’re changing jobs?
You might also want to think nationwide – would you consider moving far, far away? Property up in the North of the UK (not necessarily Scotland) tends to be cheaper than down South. For the price of a 1 bed flat in London, you could potentially find a 4-bed detached mansion in the North, for example. We’ve written a whole blog post for you about the difference in house prices up North and how to beat the high prices down South, you can read that here.
3. Schools. This might not be relevant to you right now, or at all, but it is something you should consider. Access to quality schools can affect demand and prices of houses. Do you want to live in a neighbourhood popular with young families? Could you live just metres from a busy school bus stop? Which schools do you want your children to attend? Think about the future, check out the catchment areas, and take a look at things like the desirability of the schools. With this info you might be able to predict where your future children will go to school if you decide to live in this location. Try to imagine growing up in this location: is there plenty to do for young children, school-goers, teenagers? All of these are important considerations if you’re moving into a new home for the long term.
4. Prioritise. You need to divide everything into 2 sections: things you NEED vs things you WANT. For example, you might need to be within commuting distance of work, but being close to your favourite local takeaways may be less important (WANT). Do you need or want parking for 2 cars? Is gardening really on your priority list next summer? So when you’re looking for the right location for properties, you can instantly narrow it down to ones that fit your needs first, and then luxuries after.
If you prioritise right from the beginning, then you’ll end up with a property that meets all your needs perfectly and falls within your budget. Be strict; make sure the property meets everything in the NEED list, before you start to look at the WANT list.
Once you’ve decided on these points and found a property, here’s a few tips to help you decide if it’s “the one” for you.
Once you’ve found your perfect property, and checked the area and have looked thoroughly for any potential problems, you can start the process of arranging your mortgage. Applying for a mortgage can be tricky and confusing without the right support. For helpful advice to give you the best chance of securing your perfect property, visit the Active Brokers YouTube Channel.Go to our YouTube Channel