There is something about the New Year that inspires many of us to look around and start thinking about our dream home.
For many, it is the allure of a fresh start and new surroundings that can prove very appealing as we enter a new year, full of new possibilities!
If this is you and you are serious about moving home, or perhaps thinking about buying your first house, it pays to be prepared and to plan your next steps very carefully.
This may appear a tad dull but it is sound advice. Even if you are the sort of person who is ruled by your heart, it will do no harm to take some time and properly consider what it is exactly that you are looking for in your new abode.
Get your list of ‘must-haves’ on paper to give you a clear focus so that you can begin your search in earnest.
On the other hand, bear in mind that it also pays to be a little flexible. For example, what would happen if you found a property that ticks most of your boxes but misses one or two? Would this be a total deal-breaker or could you look past it?
To help you on your way to finding the perfect property we have outlined below a few things to consider before making that all-important offer:
Location, Location, Location
First and foremost, think long and hard about where you want your dream house to be. Have you a specific area of town where you want to base yourself due to proximity of work, schools or family members? Do you want to live in the countryside with plenty of outdoor space to roam or are you a city-slicker and want to be able to walk to your nearest coffee shop? Take the time to think about why it is you want to live in a particular area. Think about the immediate and surrounding environment and if it suits your needs. For some people this decision is instinctive and may take only seconds whereas for others looking to move to a new area or perhaps if forced to move due to work, this is a crucial step in your property search.
Is It The Right Size?
Size really does matter when it comes to your home as you will need a house that is big enough or small enough for your needs. Perhaps you have three teenage children and need four bedrooms, or perhaps it is an absolute must that you have a studio space for your creative endeavours. Indoor and outdoor space requirements should all be considered. If the layout isn’t perfect for you, can modifications be made to make it more suitable? For example, is there space to build an extension if you think you need one?
It is also important to think about your changing requirements - will you need to move again as your family grows or perhaps need more outdoor space for the children? On the other hand are your ready to down-size once your children have flown the nest?
Features to fall in love with?
Finishing features really can sell a house. For some people original fireplaces or cornicing may make them immediately fall in love with the property, irrespective of any other negatives. Whilst for others, it could be clean, modern lines that seal the deal. No matter your personal preferences, it is worthwhile taking a step back and deciding if the features you have fallen for are definite, must-haves or whether or not there are other properties on the market that are a better match.
Decorated to your tastes?
First impressions matter and if a house isn’t decorated to your tastes, can you force yourself to see past this, or would it be a definite no? Redecorating a house from top to bottom takes time and money so you must decide if it’s worth the effort - never mind the cost of a new kitchen or bathroom fittings. Finding your dream home isn’t necessarily about finding the finished article as you may opt for a ‘fixer-upper’ knowing that it will take a few years to renovate and eventually meet your requirements. Alternatively, you may be in the market for a turn-key property with all the mod-cons.
Costs that make you comfortable?
Your dream home is within sight, you can begin to imagine yourself waking up there and it becoming the centre of your life, but can you afford it? The sooner you assess your finances and know your limits the better. In addition to the mortgage, can you afford to run the house without stretching yourself too much? Do some research and look into heating costs, rates, ground rent, insurance etc. You don’t want to buy what you think is your dream house only to be left with no money to do anything other than sit there and just look at it. The new home sparkle won’t last too long if you’re forced to live hand-to-mouth. Make sure you have a little breathing room built into your monthly budget.
Always try to remember that looking for your dream property should be an enjoyable process - and it will be if you take the time to equip yourself for the search. House hunting can turn into a chore quite quickly if you don’t focus your search and ask pertinent questions about the property early on. You might find yourself endlessly looking and viewing properties that ‘aren’t quite right’ so invest a little time and effort up front to identify what you really want from your new home.
Be honest with yourself and enjoy the ride. Good luck!
If you are looking to buy a house and need a solicitor, please click here to contact us and we will be in touch. At Hunt Solicitors we do not charge for an initial consultation giving you the peace of mind to understand the options available to you before taking the next step.