Plan ahead to ensure you find your ideal property at the right price
Finding the right property at the right price is not easy at the best of times, but taking a systematic approach and seeking the help of knowledgeable property professionals, such as a trusted estate agent covering the location you’re looking to buy in, is a key step in the right direction.
Head ruling the heart
It’s important to keep an objective stance throughout the process as far as possible; buying a home is a highly emotive process where the subjective pull of a house can, if you’re not careful, skew your thinking – you may run the risk of buying inappropriately.
Sticking to your budget and list of requirements will help you keep businesslike throughout the process.
Know your budget
Be crystal clear regarding the maximum sum you can go to and your ideal minimum.
Establish exactly what funds are available to you whether you have a house to sell first or you’re buying without a property to sell; ensure you have a confirmed mortgage offer (if applicable) before you start house hunting and scouting locations.
Find a reputable estate agent
Along with property websites to give you an overview of what’s available in your preferred area, striking a relationship with local property experts, such as Keystones Property Estate Agents covering large parts of Essex, will help you immensely as they can help focus your search on properties that meet your specific criteria and fall within your price range.
Your estate agent can advise you of properties about to come onto the market, and those that aren’t being advertised through usual channels such as online and in print at the request of the seller.
You may have already decided exactly whereabouts you want to live – or maybe must if circumstances such as work dictates things.
Either way, properly scout your location by taking a drive around and researching online to get a feel for amenities and pros and cons. You may find certain parts of the area are best avoided or are subject to heavy development over the following years so possibly hindering quality of life (disruption and noise for example).
Some indications of what’s being planned in an area can be found on the Government’s searchable planning portal.
Compare the location at night and by day; some places change markedly in the hours of darkness.
Firstly, ensure you stick only to properties that meet your criteria, so you don’t waste time viewing those that won’t meet your needs.
View at different times of day – a neighbourhood can be very different at night or day. What seems a quiet and pleasant street by day could be a noisy, car strewn mess by night.
Ask questions – try and ask the seller; such as why they’re moving, what would be included in the sale, parking arrangements and – if a leasehold property – what the maintenance charges are and how long the lease must run.
Take photos – ask permission of course, but it will help keep things fresh in your mind as you view more properties.
Check condition – checking will likely be undertaken if you’re developing a firm interest in the property concerned, so maybe at the second or certainly third viewing.
You’ll be checking for things like damp, state of the electrics, state of the plumbing, standard of heating, state of the boiler, cracks in masonry and walls, condition of the roof, the standard of the locks, what the mobile signal is like there and more.
For this, it’s worth taking along a knowledgeable friend or acquaintance who can help you cover the ground, knows what to look for and can spot potential issues.
Plenty to choose from
It’s easy to get flustered and feel pressured to decide, especially if it seems like properties are scarce at your price point and in the area, but if a property doesn’t feel quite right don’t settle for second best.
Other properties will come onto the market, and your estate agent wants to help you find the right one, so keep patient, organised and stick to your list of requirements.