Finding the home of your dreams takes a great deal of research – and leg work. Never buy unless you are absolutely sure it’s the place you want to live for the foreseeable future otherwise you could be making a costly mistake.
Here are 5 top tips to remember when you’re searching for a property.
Talk to a local estate agent
As well as using national online sites which list properties for sale, visit at least one local estate agent for a chat about what you are looking for. Having a good relationship with an estate agent could even mean finding out about properties before they are put on the books.
Give as much information about what you’re looking for and your budget. They can help with how realistically the two match up. Show you’re a committed buyer and they will more than likely do that bit extra for you in finding your new home.
Check out the area before committing
It may be the most beautiful apartment or house in the area but if the neighbourhood isn’t right for you then you’ll be regretting not checking it out before signing on the dotted line.
Visit areas such as bars and parks at different times of the day; are the evenings very noisy perhaps? Are public areas well maintained or are they untidy with graffiti perhaps on the walls? Ask to speak to a local community police officer or a representative of a neighbourhood watch group in the street if you aren’t sure as they will give you an unbiased opinion.
Ask about any plans for the area
If where you want to buy is very cheap or the sellers are being overly coy to give information about the area, be cautious. It could be there are plans for something major such as a new road or building and this could change your living environment from paradise to hell. Talk to the local authority planning department to ensure your new sea view isn’t about to disappear due to the construction of a new shopping centre or that your rural idyll isn’t about to have new industrial neighbours.
Take photos at the viewing
It’s always hard to remember the details of exactly what you’ve seen on a viewing, even more so if you’re seeing a few places in the same day. You’ll only have the original selling details to refer back to and they won’t tell the whole story. Take snaps during the time you’re there to have reminders of all the angles in all the rooms and the views from each window to give you the full picture.
Have a deal breaker checklist
Whilst you may be ready and eager to carry out some DIY in your new home, you need to know what you’re facing and factor the cost into the price you’re willing to pay. You also need to find out anything sellers may be hiding behind estate agent photos so when viewing look out for:
- Damp; black mould spots, peeling wallpaper or signs of water on the walls
- The condition of the ceilings; ask about cracks, stains and leaks as there could be plumbing issues
- The standard of fixtures and fittings. Open and close all doors and windows; do they stick or are there gaps? Also check out drawers and cupboards in the same way in the kitchen
Take your time when searching for a property. Don’t rush into buying the first place you see until you’ve at least compared it to others. It’s an active market with great deals so only settle for what and where you know is absolutely right for you.