Moving house is both exciting and terrifying. Being able to call somewhere home is a big deal—it’s your own sanctuary, somewhere you can go to escape from the pressures of the outside world. It’s important to be convinced on a property before sealing the deal. Here are our top tips on the things you should do when looking for a house.
1) Don’t limit yourself to a south-facing property
South-facing properties are well-known for letting in light and keeping homes warm. Yet, it’s more important to think about what you want from a home. If you’d really like a glass extension to curl up and read a good book in the afternoons, adding it onto the back of a southern-facing property could be a mistake as it’ll heat up in the sun and get very warm. An east or west-facing home could be a better option if you’d prefer sun in your front bedrooms early on in the day before it makes its way towards the back of your property later on. It’s always a good idea to ask the current homeowner where you can expect to find the sun at a particular time before you make up your mind.
See also: Letting a Property
2) Visit more than once, at different times
If you think you’ve found a great place, visit on different days and at different times. Listen out for loud music and traffic and ensure you’re not right by where the local school children sit once school’s done for the day. You might not pick up on that noisy neighbour on one visit but chances are if they’re likely to disturb you regularly, then you’ll be alerted to it on at least one of those visits.
While you’re there, check out the parking situation. Are there spaces available once most people are back from work at 7pm as well as early morning? Do you need the security of a regular parking space? Even if there’s good parking for your car(s), is there free on-street parking for visitors or tradespeople if you’re planning on having work done to the property?
It’s also a good idea to make one of those visits in bad weather if it’s not the height of summer as you’ll be able to check for leaks. Plus, if you’re still interested in moving in when the sky’s grey and miserable, then all signs point to it being right for you.
3) Don’t hold back on asking questions
When you’re in somebody else’s home, it can feel disrespectful to ask too many questions. Push through the uncomfortable feelings and ask all of the questions that come to mind. When it comes to poking around, the same rule applies. Don’t shy away from turning on the taps and the shower. This way you can test that there’s a good flow of steady, clean water. To be certain, arrange for a survey to be carried out to confirm everything is in good, working order.
See also: Choosing the Right Insurance Policy
4) Consider the location
Location will no doubt be a big factor in your house search. Make sure that you’re focusing on the right things. A stunning view is one thing but it might lose some of its charm if you’re sacrificing having a local shop nearby to pick up some bread and milk. You’ll want easy access to a doctor, hospital and school. More often than not, you’ll need to compromise—just make sure it’s a compromise that you won’t come to regret.
5) Valuation: don’t just take the agent’s word for it
Use an app like Zoopla where you can check a property’s estimated sale price. Bear in mind that the valuation can be as much as six months out of date so it’s worth doing your own research on what you might think the property’s worth too. Compare with nearby properties of a similar description and get a feel for what they’ve sold for/are on the market for. Zoopla also gives you the history of previous sale prices and dates. If a property has been sold and then re-sold in a short space of time, you might want to do further investigation to find out why.
See also: Mortgage Masterclass
6) Find tradespeople you can trust
Chances are you’ll find a place you love but it won’t quite feel like home. If you need work done to make it your own, you’ll want to find good tradespeople to help make it happen. Whether it’s a quick painting job or a complete redesign, look for tradespeople who have good reviews from previous customers and do as much research as you can before you hire them. A site like RatedPeople.com will let you post a job and get quotes from up to three tradespeople. Those tradespeople have their own profile pages where you can find reviews from past customers to help you make your decision.
Our thanks to Rated People for their assistance with this article.
For more tips on what you should do when looking for a house, read our guide to getting started as a landlord on Celebrity Angels