In today’s market, finding a home you love can take between 6 weeks and 8 months! It can be easy to get caught up in the process, but there are a few things you can do to ensure you get a great home at a good price within a neighbourhood you love.
1.) Always be honest about what you can afford and what you might be willing to give up.
You don’t want to be stretched beyond your means financially, making your new home feel more like a monthly stress than a place of joy. If you can’t afford a house, take it off your list.
Think about your minimum must-haves such as the number of bedrooms, location or a garden for your dog and any bonuses such as private parking or that extra bedroom you can turn into a craft room or cosy home office. Consider what you must have to be happy and if it is realistic for your budget. If not, you must consider what are you willing to be flexible on.
On a side note, with Allbricks, you will have better affordability as we use a rental calculator not a traditional ‘3-to-5-times-your-salary’ mortgage approach. To find out how much you can afford, check out our affordability calculator here.
2.) Shop around.
See as many different types of houses as you can. Every house you see will help you get closer to understanding what you do and don’t want and where you do or don’t want to live and even what you can or won’t compromise on.
3.) Check out the neighbourhood before you make an offer and view the house at different times of day.
You don’t want to discover after you move in that, at night, the neighbours and neighbourhood turn into a festival when you’re looking for peace and quiet. I know it can feel strange to do this, but it’s worth knocking on a few of the neighbours’ doors to find out who they are and what the neighbourhood is like. For most of us, buying a home is the biggest purchase we will ever make, so you want to make sure that you love where you live.
4.) Ask as many questions as possible when viewing a house.
Here are a few great questions to ask:
- How long has the seller lived there, and why are they moving? Where are the vendors moving to – is there a chain?
- How long has it been on the market, and how many viewings and offers has it had?
- Have there been any neighbour disputes?
- What renovations have been done?
- If it’s an older house, it’s worth asking about things that might need to be replaced. Important questions may include: how old is the boiler and when was it last inspected? Or, when was the home last rewired?
- If it’s a leasehold property, how long is the lease, and does it have a service charge?
- Who lives upstairs/downstairs/next door?
- Is there an allotted parking space/residents’ permit if you have a car or want one?
- What’s the council tax band? (Also, check this yourself.)
- Has anyone ever been murdered here? (Google the address too) Don’t be surprised by the impact this might have on the sale price.
5.) Find out how much other houses have sold for
Try sold-price sites such as Nethouseprices and Zoopla. In today’s market, people often have unrealistic views on how much their home is worth. We’re even seeing mortgage providers push back on home buyers and refuse the mortgage because the price is too high. Don’t get caught up in the hype. While they say “a house is only as valuable as what someone will pay for it,” what you don’t want is to end up with a house you considerably overpaid for or one that falls through because it’s not realistic to lenders or investors.