Whether you’re getting ready to buy for the first time or are looking to find your next property, embarking on a property search can be an exciting time.
The more preparation you do beforehand, the better the chances of success, and the process itself can be made that much smoother. If you’re thinking about looking for a new property, consider these five steps as a starting point before you contact your local estate agent…
Work out your budget
This is the most important piece of the puzzle – everything else will need to factor around this crucial piece of criteria. How much you can spend (and how much you are willing to spend) will dictate your property hunt from the outset. Of course, there are also running costs to consider once you have selected a property, and if you are planning on using your property as a rental, you’ll have additional factors such as property management and ongoing maintenance to consider as well.
Determine “like-to-haves” and “must-haves”
There are some criteria that may be non-negotiable for you, such as location, number of bedrooms, commute time or proximity to schools. Others, such as the size of a garden, nearness to amenities or space to convert indoors may not be as high a priority. Determine what is fixed criteria and then decide what you can be prepared to live without, as this can be helpful if you reach a stage during the property search when you need to compromise.
Even if you’re not buying a forever home, it’s wise to think of your property as a long-term financial investment. Many people end up living in their property for longer than expected, and it could also be the case that market fluctuations prevent you from selling when you want to, so you either remain in the property or let it out. Try to visualize your future in the property – will you be having a family, and needing to add more space through conversions or additions? Will you be working from home and need a designated home office space? Are you likely to have elderly family move in with you at any point, and is the house adaptable for any mobility issues? These are just a few of the factors you may wish to consider.
Be ready to compromise
If you expect to find a property that ticks absolutely every box and is totally perfect, you may be setting yourself unrealistic expectations. Be prepared for the fact that some compromise may be needed, whether it’s to accommodate budget, location, or the wishes of a partner.
Work with a local agent
While online is a great place to start a property search, nobody will know the extent and potential of houses for sale in your area like a local estate agent. Working with an agent can often mean you receive information about properties that aren’t yet listed too, which can give you a competitive edge in the property hunt.
You may have heard it said that buying a house is all about “location, location, location,” but this is just one of the many factors you need to keep in mind when searching for a property. With some forward planning and help from a local expert – which can often be invaluable when you’re on the lookout for your next piece of real estate – you can maximize the chances of an enjoyable hunt and successful purchase.