Whether it’s your first home or your twenty-first, there are things to consider when buying a new home that are often overlooked. Your prime concern may be finding a property with a study or an extra bedroom to convert into an office. Or perhaps you may be looking for a larger garden, a home near the coast, or a home close to suitable schools. But what about the granular detail?
With your eye on the main prize, it’s easy to lose track of other things you should be considering. Will your house be flexible enough to still fit your needs in the future? Has it got the potential for expansion if your family grows? It’s worth doing your homework before launching your search. Create a list of your priorities—your must-haves and nice-to-haves—then settle down with a cup of tea or coffee and run through our list of the top ten things to consider when buying a property.
The top ten things to consider when buying a property
Calculate the upper limit of your budget to see what you can afford. Online calculators can help you do this. If you prefer a more personal approach, you can speak to one of our mortgage advisors. Their advice is free with no obligation.
With this upper limit in mind, scan the market for properties within your budget. This may help you decide whether to go to the top end of your budget for a home with features on your nice-to-have list, or go low and enjoy more disposable income.
Decide on a location that fits your lifestyle. Do you want to be in the countryside, or is city living more of your thing? Remember to think about the demands and quality of life in these areas. Are there suitable amenities close at hand? Are there parks and open spaces nearby? If you have school-age children, what are the schools like?
Look beyond the house and study the area. Take a walk or a drive around. Check the neighbourhood out at different times of day, especially at night. It’s important to make sure that you will not only enjoy your new home, but that you will enjoy getting out of your new home too.
It’s worth checking to see if your property has been built on a flood plain, or if it is under a flight path. These may be important details to consider when buying a property.
Here’s where the must-have list comes into play. What features are essential in your new home? How many bedrooms do you need? Is off-road parking a desirable asset? Will you need a home office?
You will probably have an idea of how many bedrooms you currently need, but if you plan to expand your family in future you may consider a home with an extra bedroom. It will save you the extra expense of moving again when a baby comes along and could serve meanwhile as a guest room for friends and family.
Homes with huge modern kitchens always catch the eye, but (unless you have a large family or intend to entertain) are they worth compromising other areas of the property?
Look past the decor and imagine yourself in the property. Does the space flow, or is it awkward to get around?
Narrow your search down to include only properties that tick the boxes on your must-have list.
The number of bathrooms in a home can be an important factor for many homeowners. Consider how many people will utilise each bathroom – including guests. If you still have children living at home, you may need an en-suite to avoid those morning bathroom traffic jams. Do you prefer a long soak in a tub to a shower? How important is the size of the bathroom? Is there an opportunity to add a bathroom to the house should the need arise? Ask yourself these important questions while considering buying a home.
With modern fitted kitchens, the appliances usually come as part-and-parcel with the property. Replacing them could be very expensive. Make sure that built-in ovens, freezers and refrigerators are in good working order. Do they match your needs?
How important is broadband speed to you? Are you addicted to Netflix and enjoy streaming video to your smart TV? Are you a technophile who enjoys voice controlling room lighting and heating? In either case, fast broadband will be important to you. Checkout broadband speed in the area using an online broadband speed checker. You shouldn’t have a problem with speed if your selected area is in a city or a major town, but some rural areas may be internet blackspots. uswitch.com‘s speed checker can also help you find the best deal in the area.
If you are a gardener, you will know that south-facing gardens capture the sun all day. But did you know that you will often pay a premium for homes with south-facing aspects? It may be worth paying the premium if you intend to spend a lot of time outdoors. Look around the garden – where does the sun fall? Are there shadowed areas where you can take refuge from the sun? Ask the seller or agent how the sun moves around the garden.
Make sure you look out the windows. Can you live with the view? There is no doubt that a home with a view over rolling countryside, or overlooking a lake will come at a premium price, but what is its value to you? Is it worth the extra cost?
Most viewings take around half an hour, but is that long enough to see everything the property has to offer…and what may be hidden? Take your time. Look for signs of damp and wear. Test the water pressure. Check how many power points are in each room. Are they conveniently located? Take note of the condition and age of the boiler.
Outside, make sure you turn around to look at the outside of the house. Is it in good repair? Check the condition of the roof, the fascias, guttering and downpipes. Stop and listen: If there are noises from traffic or industry, are they loud enough to be a deal-breaker?
Older homes have character that may appeal to you, but they may also need more repairs and upgrades. You may not be looking to entirely renovate a property, but make sure you are prepared and have the time and budget to take on any major improvements that may be necessary.
Since the word lockdown entered our vocabulary a lot of us are working from home, but you may still need to show your face at the office from time to time. It is important to consider how easy it is to travel to your place of work and what mode of transport you’ll be able to use in case your situation changes.
If a property you like has been on the market for a while, don’t be afraid to ask why. If it is a problem property, it may affect the saleability of your home when it’s time to move on. There are many reasons why a property may have been on the market for some time. It may be because a sale has fallen through at a late stage, or it may have been originally listed too high. The seller may not be willing to negotiate on the price. Do your homework. Is the property over-valued? Study similar homes in the area to see where the market lies. An over-valued property may be sailing over the heads of its market. Or there may be other issues that are cause for concern.
A home that has been on the market for some time could be an indication of severe problems, but that is not always the case. Look at it in the context of the market area and get it inspected. Some of the best deals are properties that are being ignored by everyone else.
Here to help
Buying and selling property can be a complex process. The team at House Fox are here to smooth the journey out every step of the way—from viewing to completion. If you have any questions or concerns we are here to help. Get in touch by visiting the ‘Contact’ section of our website. Follow us on Facebook for more hints, tips, insights and competitions.
In this article, we have given a brief guide to the top ten things to consider when buying a home. The House Fox Blog is full of tips for buying and selling property. You may also be interested in:
Disclaimer: All advice on this site is given ‘as is’ House Fox Estate Agents are not responsible for any losses you may make subsequent to following the advice on this website, we advise you to always do your own research in full before you act.
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