Finding a home, not a house
Lots of effort goes into finding a new house. Yet, while the work you do once you move in can make it feel homely, finding the perfect home that meets your emotional requirements begins earlier – from the moment you start searching online or in your chosen neighbourhood. To help you out, here are some handy pointers to help you find a home, that you’ll cherish from the moment you move in and enjoy all the time spent with friends and family along the way.
Finding a home, not a house
Whether you’re searching online or looking out for “For Sale” signs on your favourite street, we know lots of effort goes into finding a new house that you’ll love making your own. But how do you find a place that’s more than just four walls? A place you’d be happy to call home?
Of course, lots of the work you do to a house once you’ve moved in will ensure it becomes a beloved home. However, finding the perfect home that meets your emotional requirements begins earlier – from the moment you start searching online or in your chosen neighbourhood.
To help you out, here are some handy pointers to help you find a home, that you’ll cherish from the moment you move in and enjoy all the time spent with friends and family along the way.
Decide what ‘home’ means to you
Before you do anything, have an honest think about what a home really means to you. Is it essential that you have a big kitchen for cooking and socialising? Do you need a low-maintenance garden for family barbeques and glasses of wine on a summer’s evening? Or is location more important to you? Do you want to walk to work, be close to friends or be near a town centre?
If you’re buying jointly with your partner, make sure you’re on the same page before you start looking for properties; it’ll save you time and hassle along the way.
Be honest with your agent
When you’re viewing a house, make sure you’re open and honest about what you’re looking for. If you’re using an estate agent, be forthright and let them know which features you won’t compromise on.
If there’s nothing on their books that meets your criteria right now, a good agent may be in touch as soon as something suitable comes on the market. They may even ensure you are one of the first to view the property. If you're looking to buy a new property, speak to the on-site sales adviser. Be clear so that they know exactly what you're looking for and can advise you when a property matching your needs becomes available.
Ask lots of questions
Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions when you’re viewing a house - whether you’re talking to the developer, agent or seller. What’s the local area like? What can you tell us about the neighbours? Is the street busy at night, or relatively quiet? Get as much information as you can about the property and the surrounding area, so you can make a decision based on what matters to you.
Do your own research
After viewing a house, you’ll inevitably have more questions that need to be answered. Make sure you fill in any blanks by doing your own research into the area and the property. Do a land registry search to find out more about boundaries and flood risks, and other changes to the local community that might affect your happiness once you’ve moved in.
Visit at different times of day
When you’re choosing a new home, remember that a street, cul-de-sac or neighbourhood can seem very different at night compared with daytime hours. It’s important you’re just as comfortable with the local area after dark, so make sure you do a drive-by at night so you can get a better feel for what it’ll really be like to live there.
However, if you are moving into a new build house on a larger development, you may be unable to conduct a drive-by or view the house before you move in. In this instance, you may be able to get a sense of what an area might be like by referring to site plans or models showcasing what the development will be like once it’s complete.
Buy a house that’s ready to move into
If you’re keen to turn your new house into a home with minimal fuss, a new build could be a good option for you. While it’s possible to save money by buying an older house – as this couple who paid just £1 for their property can confirm – most cheap properties need a lot of time and money invested in them. Instead of worrying about structural changes, energy efficiency and restoration, a new build home is ready to go, so you’ll be able to focus on homelier aspects such as interior decor and where you will place your furniture within rooms.
Trust your instincts
Most of all, make sure you trust your instincts when searching for your new home. As you walk through the property, can you honestly imagine yourself living there? Does it feel like a real home? If the answer’s no, trust your instincts and keep looking until you find a place that feels just right.