Published: 03/02/2023Getting lost in the romance of everything can be easy when looking for a new home. The newly refurbished en-suite, the walk-in wardrobe and the established garden. All that stuff is important, and we need to feel the wow factor when we first look around somewhere. But many other things need considering before a decision can be made; practical questions must be asked.
So before looking for your dream home, write a list of things that are important to you…not just the exciting ones that give you butterflies in your stomach but also the practical things that will determine whether you can make roots there and build a life for yourself. While viewing properties, take the list with you and ask away…one question or ten questions, this is your moment, and you need to grab it with both hands. Don’t let your perfect home become someone else’s.
Style of Home
Whatever your preferred style, stay open-minded to the potential a property has. Remember that location, garden size, and distance from other houses can’t be changed, but the style of a home can be. You might prefer a modern, neutral home, but you can always create that. If a house you view has a dated kitchen and carpets in the toilets, that can be addressed. Even walls can be knocked down if you are looking for a more open-plan style of living. Ask yourself how you see your dream home looking and then question whether it is something you can achieve with what you have right in front of you. Think of it like a blank canvas; maybe finding somewhere that needs work is exciting for you; it could be a chance to create something unique.
Check Out the Neighbourhood
The area you live in is so important. Before you decide whether a property is right for you, take the time to research the local area. What are the schools like? You may not have a family now, but is it something you are considering in the future? Are you someone that enjoys a night out? If so, check out the selection of pubs and restaurants available. If you see a neighbour grab the opportunity to strike up a conversation. Don’t worry about coming across as nosey; understandably, you will be intrigued. If they are a friendly community, they won’t mind and might even have a few questions of their own – answering them is optional, of course. If you live nearby, you might want to check out the neighbourhood after dark…just for peace of mind.
Sort Out Your Finances
This is the boring one but an important one on the list. It is not just about considering the expenses involved in buying a property or getting a mortgage agreed; it is knowing that both these things can be done comfortably. If work needs to be done on the property, that will require additional funds or a loan that will need to be paid off. It is easy to get excited in the moment, but the last thing you want is to commit to a large project that is unrealistic. If you know that you won’t be able to afford any renovation work for a few years to come, then make sure the house you choose will be comfortable for as long as you need – and that you will enjoy living there. Your home is your castle, and it needs to make you smile even if the dated vinyl floors can’t be replaced for the foreseeable future. Weigh up what needs doing, whether it is affordable and most importantly, whether that financial commitment is worth the investment. You might be okay with a two-bedroom property now, but are you planning on expanding your family? Are two bedrooms enough, or is there room to extend? If you have a 5-year plan, your home needs to fit into that unless you would consider moving again. Only you can answer that.
Research Planned Developments
You don’t want to move into your perfect home only to discover that in 12 months, a new housing development is being built at the end of your garden, or your neighbour is converting their garage into a music studio. You might not mind the changes, but you have the right to decide based on having all the knowledge.
Look on the local council website and find out whether any planning applications have been raised in the area you are looking to move to. It might even help you decide where you want to live. If there is nothing in the pipeline, then great, and if there is, you can review the plans, assess how it would affect you, and weigh it up from there. It might not be an issue, but it is better to find out early on before falling head over heels for your next property.
Work With a Good Agent
This is the important part…of course! A reputable agent not only knows what they are doing, but they will also do it fairly. Yes, an estate agent’s role is to help their client sell their property, but it is also their job to ensure that the process runs smoothly and no one is mistreated…buyer or seller. By letting an estate agent know what you are looking for, they can keep an eye out for any properties that fit your criteria and send them your way before anyone else gets a look in. A great advantage is having someone in your corner who knows any new properties that come to the market before they are advertised for the world to see. Of course, you can’t only look for properties with agents you like, as this would rule out too many, but it might be a good starting point. Working with a good agent can make a world of difference when navigating through an already complex process.
Searching for your dream home is an exciting chapter in your life but can also be stressful. It comes with a whole series of pressures that can make anyone’s brain explode, but please try and enjoy it. Our home is the centre of everything we do and the base for our relationships, family life, and for many, our businesses. So, let’s get it right…no regrets. Enjoy the excitement of the search, and good luck finding the perfect property for you. Happy house hunting!