Buying a new home is likely to be most people's biggest ever financial commitment so it is vital the right decision is made. If you are a seasoned house hunter you will know how to go about looking for that ideal property, however, if you are a first time buyer or haven't been in the market for a while, viewing a property can seem a daunting prospect.
Wish-lists and must-haves
Before you even start viewing its worth thinking about what you are looking for. What will make your ideal home and can you afford it? Start by noting any essential features. Price will be a factor - there is no point in looking at a property outwith your budget – and location should be next on the list. You can update or extend a house, but you can’t move it. However, you should also think about the size and layout of accommodation and consider the condition of the property.
Having confirmed the essentials list, the desirable features - perhaps a sea view or en-suite – are next, but remember that your ideal home may not exist so some compromise may be needed. At least a checklist will ensure you don't get carried away by emotions at the expense of practicalities.
Take two good looks
In the current climate you may be offered a virtual viewing first. If it is what you are looking for ask to view the property personally; there is no substitute for seeing the real thing, but remember to follow the Covid-19 guidelines, e.g. social distancing, hand washing and any other precautions required. Check with the Agent if you are unsure. Take a pen & paper so you can note the pros and cons and a tape measure is useful, particularly if you have furniture you wish to take with you. It may be helpful to take extra photographs but be sure to ask permission first. A quick guided tour will help you get a general feel for the layout, size and condition, then take a slower more detailed look. Don't rush or be afraid of asking questions as organised sellers won't mind answering.
First impressions are important but try to keep an open mind otherwise your enthusiasm may mean you overlook more practical considerations. On the other hand, don't give up on a property because it looks tatty or the decor is not to your taste. It may be that simple redecoration will transform it.
Ask yourself if the accommodation really suits your requirements. Is there space to extend later if need be, perhaps for a family? Is the aspect important? West-facing rooms get more sun in the afternoons & evenings. Is it close to amenities and work? What is the mobile phone or broadband coverage?
Think about your budget. How much is the Council Tax? Insulation, double glazing and the heating system heating can all have an effect on running costs. The EPC will help but remember this is only a rough computer-generated guide so real life figures may vary. Getting a copy of the Home Report in advance will help you know what to look out for in terms of conditions. If improvements are required can your budget stretch?
Finally, it is always a good idea to take a second look, if possible at a different time of the day. This will give you an opportunity to check anything you might have missed, enabling you to make a more informed decision.
Your ideal home is out there and I hope this helps you find it!
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