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5 things to consider when buying a house

Buying a house is very different today from how it was a decade ago. Now, house hunting is about embracing property search websites and apps, making sure you’ve got a sizeable deposit, and thinking creatively from the start of the search to the day you move in.

Whether you’ve only just started searching for your dream property, or have been searching for months, here are five pieces of advice that’ll make the process smoother.

1. What sort of property are you looking for?

Sit down and think about what your perfect home would be like. You may have very different ideas from your partner and will need to compromise, or you may agree on most things. Coming up with a list of “must-haves” and “would-likes”, should help save you valuable time when it comes to finding and viewing properties.

If you’re looking for a very specific type of property, you may find that there aren’t any suitable properties on the market at the moment, but you shouldn’t feel discouraged. Keep searching, and eventually you’ll find just what you’re looking for. 

2. Remember, asking prices are different from selling prices

It can be easy to look at the asking price of properties and presume that is the price you’ll have to pay, but the reality is that most sellers will negotiate, and accept offers that are less than their asking price. When setting your budget, you do need to be realistic about what you can afford, but it may be possible to get a deal on a property that was previously priced out of your range.

With this in mind, once you’ve set your budget, don’t be afraid of looking at properties marketed slightly out of your price range, while it’s always worth asking the estate agent or developer how likely the seller is to accept a lower offer. 

3. Have you taken your search online?

From Rightmove and Zoopla to Prime Location, there are numerous property websites worth using to help you with your search. All plot listings on Google Maps, so it is easy to search for properties in your chosen area. 

When viewing listings, it’s good to be open minded. For instance, if you’re looking for a traditional period property, you may find a modern property that has incorporated traditional features, offering you a similar look, but much more space. If a property’s photos aren’t the best, it looks rundown or is filled with clutter, don’t dismiss it right away. The best way to truly get a feel for a property is by going to view it in person.  

To save yourself time, and to be instantly alerted whenever a property that meets your search requirements comes onto the market, sign up for property alerts. Property apps from the websites listed above are worth downloading onto your smartphone or tablet too, and offer a host of benefits that’ll make the process easier.

4. Think outside the box

This won’t be a problem if you are buying a new build property, but if you are buying an older home, there’s no reason why you can’t be proactive and approach existing homeowners direct to cut out the middleman. If you have a dream street, why not make some flyers, saying that you’re interested in buying a property on the street and asking anyone interested to contact you? It could be that someone is just about to put their property on the market, so your note lands at just the right time, saving them the expense of having to pay estate agent fees.

Even if they’re not interested in selling at the moment, a homeowner could keep your note and get in touch in the future, you never know.Buying a repossessed property or at a house auction, may be other avenues you want to explore, in your quest to find the perfect home. 

5. Be pragmatic and consider all possibilities

It’s important that you don’t let your heart overrule your head during viewings when you are buying a house. A property is probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, and you want to be happy in your new home for many years to come. For instance, you’ve got to imagine your own furniture and belongings in place, rather than what’s there currently, unless the furniture is included in the sale of course.

If you can get hold of floor plans, this is a great way to understand whether your furniture will fit or not, and if you need to consider buying everything in new.It’s hard to get an accurate picture of what it’d be like to live in any property after just one viewing, so you should aim to have at least a second viewing before deciding to buy.

 If you love a property, but are worried about noise because it’s on a busy road, or there’s railway track at the bottom of the garden, be honest with yourself. Viewing at a different time of day can highlight if there any problems with traffic, and anti-social behaviour. If you’ll be commuting, why not have a trial run one day? Be pragmatic and consider everything.

Even chatting to neighbours can be useful too, as they may provide an insight into what it’s like to live on that particular road or in that neighbourhood.  

 
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