Buying a house is stressful in its own right. Finding the right house is also stressful and very important. It’s easy to make impulse decisions for the sake of moving or getting on to the ladder, but there are a few things to consider, which may make it that little bit easier.
Is the home long-term?
Are you looking for a home that will last you a long period of time? A home that will see your family expand? A home to get you on the ladder? A home that will do you short term?
These questions need to be asked. How long do you want your home to last you for. If you’re thinking short-term, then your criteria doesn’t need to be as large as if it were to be a ‘forever home’. You could either opt to buy a home, revamp it, then sell it on. You could also buy a home that needs no work or minor touches and live in it just so, until you’re ready for the next big move.
If you’re searching for a ‘forever home’, a home to last you a significant period of time. Then the criteria needs to be carefully considered. All of the following points need to be carefully thought out. In my opinion, location is the most important thing to think about, you can change a home but you can’t change a location. This is something that may cause you to want to move again, should the location be the wrong one.
Where do you want to live?
Location is imperative when searching for a long-term home. There will be plenty of locations you may not have thought of living in, but would fit your lifestyle and living requirements perfectly. Research all areas local to your ideal location. Think outside of the box, you could end up saving yourself a lot of money or in a much larger home.
Is it village life you’re looking for? Certain villages have high price-tags, due to their historic nature or popularity. Some villages don’t come with a high price-tag, but may be a slightly more developed area. This is in no way a down-side, these villages tend to have better access to local amenities and can fit better into certain budgets.
Are you looking for a more central location? Perhaps walking distance to local shops or a town. Or somewhere with great links to all local amenities. If you’re looking for something very central, such as in a town or as good as, this will always mean less square-footage for your money. Looking slightly outside the area can get you better value for money. But ultimately it boils down to location and how best a house will suit you.
Would you consider doing work on a property?
A lot of people look for a bargain simply to re-decorate, re-model and add value. This either leads to a specifically designed family home, or a home that has gained value enough to sell and move on. I can best describe four types of house at different ‘decorating’ stages:
- Needing to be gutted completely. This type of house may require work with a considerably high price-tag. This of course would be reflected in the asking price and can also be negotiated. It may need a new boiler, heating system, complete re-wiring, walls knocking down etc. It’s a big job to take on but it can also be an extremely rewarding project.
- A house needing a moderate amount of work. Usually new carpets or flooring, perhaps a new kitchen or bathroom and double-glazing. A general update but it may not urgently need doing, if you can live with the house the way it is and also live through any work that needs doing. (we had a new kitchen fitted in our first home – it personally didn’t need it but we had money to burn back then, it took a week all in and we coped fairly well living with the upheaval)
- A house that may need a slight amount of updating but nothing major. It’ll be more about adding your own stamp on the home and touching up any minor repairs around the house. These homes tend to be ones that are ‘new-ish’ or have been redecorated and updated within the last few years by the owners.
- A house that needs nothing doing. A home fully finished and all you need to do is un-pack your kettle and make yourself a drink (if only moving were that simple). These homes are usually new-builds and are perfect for those who don’t have time to do the work themselves or just prefer the finished product. Homes which only requires you to unpack, can also be seen in houses that have previously been bought at stage 1. above and brought to a standard which is more appealing to buyers.
When searching for a home, if you have a car, parking of some form is vital. This could be a private drive, an allocated space or parking on the road. Finding your dream home, at a bargain price and then finding out there isn’t any parking, can be very disheartening. If you require parking then prioritising this is a must.
Connections to work and social
Consider how far you would be prepared to move away from work, family and friends. Or maybe that’s the reason you’re moving? If you’re moving with your family or are planning to start a family in your new home, it’s worth researching the catchment areas of different schools and seeing which school you feel is best for your child to attend.
Prioritising the importance of what you’re looking for and why you’re moving can really help in finding the perfect home. My advice would be to not be too picky, remembering my first point, that you can’t change your location, but you can change your home.