Buying a new home is exciting, but it’s also a huge commitment and you don’t want to get it wrong!
Unless you have a limitless budget, there’s no such thing as the perfect property, but a little preparation before viewings, and paying the right kind of attention during them, will help you find something that ticks most of your boxes.
Drawing on more than 30 years’ experience in connecting people with property, Leaders offers some practical tips for house hunters. Follow these to make finding the right home a little easier:
Know what you want
Before you even begin looking, be clear about exactly what you want. Make a complete list of your requirements in advance – no matter how large or small - and grade them either 'must-have'; or ‘would-like’. If compromises have to be made, this will help you to be clear what your priorities are. Before arranging a viewing, ask the agent as many questions as you can think of to make sure the property meets your main criteria; this will help you avoid wasting time viewing unsuitable properties.
What to note on viewings
Try to arrange first viewings during daylight hours so you can check out the neighbourhood and the condition of the property, and so you can see how much natural light the property gets. As well as the obvious features, such as number and size of rooms, layout, location and overall condition, look carefully at the following (and take a notebook, tablet or smart phone with you to record the details, especially if you are viewing a number of properties).
- What are the road, surrounding properties and area like?
Is it quiet or noisy, do the neighbouring properties look well kept, where are the nearest shops and transport links? Think carefully about what it would be like to live not only in the house or flat you are viewing but in the area where it is situated.
- Which way does the property and its different rooms face?
The feel of a property, and different rooms within the same property, can vary drastically depending on the time of day and which direction they face. Make sure you know and are happy with the way each room faces, you may not want a north facing living room which is likely to be dark or an east facing bedroom which will get the full early morning sun in the summer. You can take a compass or use a compass app when viewing to check.
- Storage space
Storage space is important but often overlooked. Think about where you will keep things like your vacuum cleaner, linen and towels, suitcases and boxes. Is there built-in storage or space for shelves or cupboards to be installed?
- Note the details
Take note of the number of power points and where they are situated. Look at the fuse board as this can be a good indicator of the state of the wiring. Try the taps to see what the water pressure is like. Ask how old the boiler is. Note the size and shape of the rooms, thinking about how and where your furniture will fit. Try to look past décor and what’s in the property now and to visualise how it would look if you lived there.
- Look in the loft
If there is a loft check it out to see what condition it’s in, if it’s easy to access and how much storage space it will give you. Could it be converted into extra living space? Is there insulation?
If you like the property but it doesn’t tick all your boxes, think about its potential to be changed to meet your requirements, for example is there space to extend or the possibility to join two rooms by removing a wall? What work could be done to get it how you want it?
If everything adds up to the property being right for you, be sure to arrange another viewing so you can check out anything you may have missed the first time. It’s a good idea to do this at a different time of day so you can get a feel for how the area, light, sounds and overall experience of being in the property differs.
The agent and seller should be happy accommodate as many viewings as you need to be sure you are happy to proceed. It is no one’s interests for a sale to fall through due to doubts that could have been eliminated from the start. Getting it right from the beginning will make the path to buying your new home smoother for everyone.
For advice you can trust on all aspects of buying, selling, renting or letting, please contact your local Leaders branch.
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