Maybe you’ve outgrown your current abode. Maybe your on the search for your first abode. Maybe the arrival of little ones means you current abode is no longer fit for purpose.
Either way, you need a new house!
Hunting for that perfect new home to call your own can be a daunting task, but it needn’t be.
We’re here with 9 house hunting tips that will help make hounding a new home harmonious:
Like in just about every other area of modern life, the internet is an invaluable tool when it comes to house hunting.
There are countless listings sites out there, but the very best include RightMove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket.
Compare and contrast between all the data each of these sites offer you, but be wary when dealing in areas like average prices; different sites may calculate their figures using different metrics.
And while the internet is a great tool, sometimes it’s best to…
Head to your local agent
Oftentimes, agents will list properties in their physical outlets and not online, so it pays to head into your ‘local’ to scope out what you otherwise may have been missing out on online.
Going into an actual office also allows you to chat to the agents there, who may be able to provide much more tailored information than you would have received on the web.
Don’t be afraid to grill them on everything from realistic budgets to ‘competition’ from other buyers in the area.
Scope the area out for yourself
A lush pad is one thing, but the area it’s in is just as important in affecting the quality of life you’ll face once you move there.
So take a trip to any areas you’re thinking of relocating to yourself, and take a walk about at different times of day to really get a feel for the stature and vibe of the place at different times of the day.
You can also use police crime-mapping websites to get a feel for any areas, and there’s plenty of free information on things like school league tables out there, so do your research!
Talk to the neighbours
If you’re feeling brave, get chatting to any neighbours you see in the streets around the property; they can offer you information the sellers may be hesitant to divulge.
A good tip is to call on people a few doors down from the property you are hoping to secure, that way, the neighbours will be more ‘neutral’ to the sellers.
If you don’t feel like approaching strangers, at least take a peep at the neighbours’ front gardens, and the exteriors of their houses; you want to get an idea of the kind of people you’ll be sharing a street with.
Check for local building works
That pristine view of rolling hills from your spare bedroom may look tranquil now, but in six months time, when a new block of flats has been plonked there, not so much.
In England and Wales, you can use the Government's Planning Portal to search out any planning applications made in the area you’re looking to move to.
Don’t be afraid to take pictures
Yes, the website listing has plenty of photos, but they’re only showing you the property from the choicest, most flattering angles.
Don’t be afraid to take some snaps of your own as you view a property (you may have to check with the agent first); not only can you highlight things for your own personal records, if you’re viewing multiple potential homes they can help you distinguish one from the other.
View properties multiple times… and at different times
You’re probably expecting to view properties multiple times to really get a feel for a place, but it’s a good tip to arrange these viewings at different times of the day, too.
What could be a quiet home during the day while the neighbours’ kids are out at school could become a noisy hotpot of mischief in the evening hours.
Go into business for yourself
This next tip takes a lot of patience, and doesn’t come recommended if you’re not feeling confident.
But in theory, it’s completely possible for your to skirt estate agents and secure your property privately.
One of the ways of doing this, would be to print of flyers registering your interest to buy in an area and posting them through the doors of the residents already living there.
There could be somebody looking to sell who’s not listed elsewhere yet, and you could land yourself a cracking bargain by taking matters into your own hands.
This is a big undertaking though, and could make for a whole other ‘tips’ post.
Don’t lose heart
It’s actually highly unlikely – especially as a first time buyer – that the very first offer on the property you’re liking the look of will be accepted.
But don’t get disheartened, looking for a new home can be a lengthy and drawn out process; stick with it, and the house of your dreams will someday be yours.