Part three in our Let’s Buy A House series. You’ve done all the legwork, your house is looking like a show home and you’ve employed a good estate agent. Now it’s time to choose a new home for yourselves.
You may have already found a house and that was what motivated you to move. However, you may need to move due to expanding family or you just want to move. Here are some tips to finding your dream home.
Before you open up Rightmove or Zoopla, find out what your budget is. There is no point looking at these websites, finding your dream home, and then realising your budget falls short. There are a huge amount of resources out there to help you organise your finances. From websites such as Money Supermarket, to Financial Advisors and of course your own bank. Once you have that knowledge, then go ahead and start looking.
Make a list!
One of the things that we found super helpful was to make a list. The list included things that we really wanted/needed (walking distance to school), things that we absolutely didn’t want (shared driveway) and things that we were willing to compromise on. The benefit of making the list before you have viewed any houses, is that you do it with a clear mind. It’s easy to view a house and fall in love with one aspect of it and be blinded by the failings. You may be able to live with the failings for a while, but they will become an annoyance or hard to live with eventually.
Try and look at lots of houses, ones that may be slightly out of your desired area, slightly out of your budget etc. There is always room for some negotiation with price. Try not to look at more than six per day. Take notes, and some home owners will even allow you to take pictures. Do ask before you pull out your mobile phone though, it is their home and it’s only polite.
When you first pull up outside a house, take a minute to look around. Does the house look as you expected? Are the other houses in the street well-kept? Does the road look busy? This is particularly important if you have cats for instance. Once you are into the house remember that you need to try to see through the existing furniture and super-impose yours into the home. Are the room sizes what you expected? Does the layout feel natural? Don’t be put off by superficial things like awful wallpaper or a run down kitchen. These can both be replaced, and in the case of the kitchen may create an opportunity to negotiate on the price.
Once you have completed viewing all the houses you wish to see, narrow the list again. Discount those houses that just didn’t tick the boxes. Be really strict with yourselves before arranging second viewings. Most people don’t expect third/fourth viewings etc, most offers are made after the second viewing. So ensure the houses you go to see for a second time, are the houses that you would consider buying. The second viewing should be more detailed. Take note where power sockets are located, is the water pressure adequate, you might also want to ask the seller about internet speeds. Always go for a second viewing at a different time to the first. So if you went in the morning for the first viewing, go late afternoon or early evening. This way you get to see the house in a different light, quite literally. You will see how busy the street is.
The one thing you should never do, is make an offer directly to the seller. No matter how much you love the house, always wait and negotiate through your estate agent. Firstly, because that’s what a lot of your fee is going towards and secondly face to face negotiation can sometimes be tricky and awkward. You don’t want agree to something because you feel honour bound. Equally you don’t want to offend the seller and potentially be locked out of further negotiation.
Hope this helped anyone finding the process a little tricky to navigate. Next time we’ll talk about how to make an offer.