There are many things to consider when buying and viewing properties to live in — such as location, price, condition, chain size.
Below we will cover some of the basics.
1. Location and what matters the most.
For some clients it’s all about the ‘location, location, location’ over size of property, while both can be crucial factors the one more important to you can determine your specific needs. Below we look at some factors that come in to the Top 10 of client’s location needs.
If you have children or plan on having children, it’s worth considering your school needs for the next ten years. The Infant school may be great but is there a preferred, junior or secondary and will your location possibly impact the chance of falling into that catchment area?
What parks, pools, gyms, supermarkets and other retailers are nearby? Could you drive, use public transport, cycle, or walk to these?
Are you looking for a local pub or other entertainment venues to be nearby?
Will you work from home (and need an office space), travel to work or a combination of the two? Do you need to be able to get to a main road quickly? Do you need to be near a train or bus route? Could you cycle or even skate!
Do you need space for animals, is your plan to have a small holding for those fresh breakfast eggs, if so, it is worth checking neighbourhood restrictions and any potential conflicts with neighbouring houses?
When buying a house, you are not just looking for things, but also people that will suit you.
Your neighbours are the people you will be around probably for a long time. Therefore, it only makes sense to pay a lot of attention to your future neighbourhood. Drive or walk round your possible new location a couple of times to inspect the noise levels or general activity. Make sure to visit the street during different parts of the day on different days, in order to get the real picture.
2. Size of property
First, identify the core values and lifestyle most important to you. Perhaps you want a walkable, quiet, rural country life, you could be striving for a low-maintenance setup that’s conducive to frequent travel or a busy city location with an active social life and close to work.
Imagine your ideal lifestyle, both today and a decade into the future, and use this as the basis for choosing the features you’d like in your home. Think about your ideal day-to-day life with regards to commuting and running errands, and imagine how you want to spend your weekends and holidays.
- Do you plan lots of visitors – how’s the parking?
- How many vehicles will you own?
- Do you plan on having a big/bigger family?
- Does one of you work from home?
- Do you want family to be able to come and stay?
The answers to questions like these will impact your home preferences. Here are several qualities in a new home you should consider.
Consider the number of bedrooms that you may need and may need. Do you plan to add to your family?
Might an older relative need to come and stay. You may also want to buy a house with bedrooms that you use for other purposes. For example, you may also want space for an office or home gym.
Assuming you already own some furniture, think about whether it will fit in the rooms you are viewing. Sometimes empty rooms tend to seem bigger than they really are. Only when you start putting your furniture in do you see that the original size was just an optical illusion. That is why the size of the rooms is one of the most important things to look for when buying a house. Take a tape measure and have measurements of your furniture ready.
Consider how many bathroom you will want. If you have a family with older children, would you be happy the bathroom is taken at peak times! Would you be happy if your bathroom was on the ground floor once you start a family? Is your dream to have an ensuite for one or more bedrooms? If you have lots of visitors do you want people going upstairs to the toilet or do you want a cloakroom?
Consider how much space you need. Do you need a two-car garage, or might a car-port suffice?
Consider how much monthly budget you can allocate for utilities. Your estate agent could ask the seller for copies of utility bills from the past 12 months. These bills should offer an idea of the costs of heating the home. Make sure you also review the EPC (Energy Performance Certificates) rating within the property details supplied by the estate agent.
Features such as low ceilings, new windows and a smaller footprint tend to keep heating bills low. High ceilings and a larger footprint can cost significantly more in utilities.
Terraced, semi detached houses and flats can be somewhat insulated by the properties around them.
How much could you borrow?
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Use our free interactive mortgage form to tell you.
Our mortgage advisors will then speak to you in more detail for a free, no obligation mortgage quote.
3. The outside space.
Would you prefer to maximize your space or minimize your maintenance? A large garden could give you enough space to play with children, let your dog’s run off the lead, or install a shed in the future. A smaller garden, however, is less expensive and easier to manage.
Do you want a garden that is a blaze with sun? If you are a sun worshipper, make sure the garden is south, south-west facing. If you are a gardener and plan on growing some vegetables make sure its compatible with your plans. Some plants, like tomatoes, require abundant sunlight, while others, like mint, thrive in shade and part-sun conditions.
Would you like a deck, patio, summer house, hot tub or other outdoor feature? These features can make a home life more enjoyable, but they also require significant upkeep. Hot tubs need regular cleaning and maintenance.
- Neighbouring Gardens
How much privacy would you like? Spend time in the garden to listen to noise from any neighbouring building or look for any neighbouring properties where windows overlook into your garden. Also look at plans on who owns the fences, are there any large trees that are on the neighbouring properties that could cause you issues.
4. Renovations and Repairs
When buying a house, it is crucial to look for any immediate or future work that will need to be done on it. How much repair and maintenance work would you like to handle? Everyone’s answer will be different. One person’s fixer-upper is another’s worst nightmare.
While there are definitely some pros of renovation there are also as many cons. If you are planning to do a lot of structural work, you may need to be ready to spend some serious cash. These types of renovations can be very expensive. As with everything else, being prepared is the key to success. Figure out your budget and if you can, try to do all of your renovation before moving into your new place. However, whether you renovate before or after your move, you will have some serious cleaning up to do after it`s all done.
Your Mortgage Broker can let you know the different types of property surveys and depending on the age and condition of the property, you may what a full survey.
Here are some maintenance areas of a property to consider:
- Fascia, soffits and gutters:
Fascia are the long boards that run along a roof’s lower edge. Gutters are typically attached to the fascia. The soffits are tucked underneath. These are prime places to check for rot or signs of water damage.
How old is the roof, and what’s the average life expectancy of the roofing material? If the roof tends toward the end of an expected lifespan, you may have to replace sections soon after moving in. A good survey should pick up on any issues with the roof. Any flat roofs need looking into, as generally they are replaced more often.
Older homes may have older electrical features some of which could pose safety hazards. If you aren’t experienced with updating a home’s electric or don’t have a potentially large budget for a fix, you may want to consider if you can handle an older house with potential electric issues.
5. Separating needs from wants
There are a lot of things you can compromise on when buying a house. Whether that`s the paint job, the number of bedrooms, the tiles in the bathrooms or the location – it is all up to you. However, every person has some things they are not ready to compromise on. You can save yourself a lot of time if you make it clear in your mind`s eye exactly what those things are. Therefore, arm yourself with a list of things you are sure you do and don`t want your new home to have
There you have it – some of most important things to look for when looking a house.
However, there is no point in looking at these properties if they are outside your affordability – so before you start looking, speak to us to obtain a decision in principle. This could save a lot of upset if you finally find that dream home but find out you can’t get the mortgages.