House hunting - where to start.
What advice would we give someone who is just starting their search for a new home?
The first thing I would say is that if you are serious about moving, and you have the necessary funds at your disposal, then now is actually a really good time to be looking. There is a lot of choice, and plenty of deals to be done.
However…the very fact that there is a lot of choice out there makes it all the more important that you first of all define precisely what sort of property you are looking for. This may sound like common sense, but without a very clear idea of what you want, you could be about to waste a great deal of time and effort.
So, list the key features of your perfect home – the number of bedrooms, the location, the style, etc, etc. It can also help to divide these features into the absolute “must-haves” and those which, while desirable, aren’t complete deal-breakers.
That done, it’s on to the actual house-hunting. These days, the majority of people start their search online – but having said that, many still prefer to walk in and register with local estate agents in the traditional way. If you go for the latter, be sure to make your requirements clear, right from the start.
Before deciding which properties you want to view, read the details carefully to make absolutely sure whether they meet all your essential points. If you live close by, hop in the car and take a drive past, to get an initial impression. Alternatively, you can check out the area online, using tools like Google Streetview and UpMyStreet, which has lots of useful information about things like schools, etc.
When it comes to making arrangements to view, don’t try to see too many properties in one go. You’ll only wear yourself out. Also, draw up a handy checklist of the features you’re looking for, together with a list of questions to ask the vendor (or the agent, if it’s an accompanied viewing).
Finally, be patient. While a degree of compromise is almost always necessary, never make an offer simply because you are “tired of looking.” You’ll regret it in the long run!