In the second part of our guide to buying a house, we’ll focus on the main areas and questions you should ask yourself, before you make any big decisions or commitments about a property.

Questions to consider before you begin your house search:

  1. Where you really want to live. Having an area, town, village or even street you’ve fallen in love with is one thing, but is it practical? Remember living somewhere and visiting are two different thing entirely. Make sure you spend plenty of time in the areas you are looking to buy, before zoning in on one. Ensure you don’t just consider if the property for sale meets your needs. Make sure the area meets all your practical needs as well, such as; well stocked food shops, accessibility by foot to local; cafes, schools and healthcare services.
  2. Your budget is important. Obviously, having a figure in mind before you set out on your ‘buying a house ‘mission, will help you filter out the unaffordable options and allow you to find your perfect home within your budget range. Do this, by referring back to part one of the guide and putting all your finances in order first, so you have a clear view on this.
  3. Is this a short term or long term investment? When buying a house, it helps to take into consideration how long you will be staying in your home. If long term, will there be enough room if you want to grow your family? If short term, will it be easy to sell in a couple of years?
  4. Is the housing market stable? This is an important consideration to make, if it’s in decline, now might not be the right time to buy. Make sure you research properly as the media can provide biased views. The best bet is to speak to those in the know such as non-biased estate agents.

How to tackle these issues

Focusing on the following, before buying a house will help you make a rounded decision.

Location is absolutely vital.

You might be career driven, middle aged professionals who just found the perfect country cottage in a little village outside of the city. Everything looks great. But, have you considered the commute? The in-accessibility to local services without a car and the potential lack of gym facilities and bars?

Is it a noisy area? Living in a city is great for convenience, but if you’re on a busy road, you won’t be thinking that at 4am in the morning. It all depends on who you are and your personal preferences, if you think of anything that would bother you now, then it will bother you even more in the future.

Is your Estate agent a reliable advisor?

Estate agents are not advisors. They are sales people who want to point you towards purchasing a property through them, rather than someone else. They will ensure a property looks it’s best for you to make a buying decision. They will highlight the benefits of a property for sale, and more often than not, skirt over the negatives. This could help them boost the price and gain a hefty commission. We’re not saying all estate agents are that way inclined, but you never know who is trustworthy in the buying a house process.

A reliable, honest, good estate agent is invaluable to the process of buying a house. They’ll do their best to deliver a smooth house purchase and will help with any problems that may arise. To find an estate agent, we recommend asking those you trust who they have dealt with in the past and why they like their estate agent. You are looking for someone who will give you; an honest view of properties on their books and if they match your buying requirements. They should be able to arrange convenient viewing times and will always be there to answer your ‘sorry this sounds silly but…’ questions.

Impulse buying is NOT recommended.

If you have a tendency to spend impulsively, then you might want to think about changing your buying habits when it comes to properties.

If you buy a house without really ticking off every single consideration possible, then it could be a purchase you end up resenting.

So you want to make sure you’ve covered every nook and cranny (literally ) and ensured everything meets your needs, even if it does take a bit more effort. Consider all the mentioned and following points for a happy buying experience.

  1. Is there parking? Check if you’re able to park outside or that the drive is wide enough for all of your cars. You want to be able to unload all of your weekly food shopping with ease and not have to lug it up lots of stairs or from halfway around the block.
  2. Can you fit in your beloved solid oak bed or other furniture? Take a measuring tape before you commit and ensure everything you will be taking with you, fits.
  3. Will the property need extensive work? If the property needs renovating, will it take weeks or months? Make sure you know all the details from minor to major structural issues. It’s easier to have it all laid out so you know just what to expect.
  4. Check the area. We previously mentioned this but considering point such as; is the station close by for your daily commute or for your weekend trips? Is the school you have your heart set on for your children accepting new comers? Know all about the council tax and any other charges you will face by moving into the area? By finding out these finer details, before you make the move, you can weigh up if it’s still the perfect area or not. For council tax you can check out the VOA website for the whole of England and Wales.
  5. Is the area really meeting your needs? Concerned about your health? If so, you might want to check out pollution levels, medical care and the availability of organic and health food goods in your area. Also consider if there is plenty to do, including; local gyms, cinemas, restaurants etc. If you’re a sociable type, that cottage in the country might look fabulous, until you consider how stranded you could be in a freak snow storm.
  6. Are you in a flood zone? This could hugely affect your insurance premium and is physically an awful cause of distress for many. For example, the flooding crisis over christmas in 2016, caused many people to be without a dry home or electricity for long periods of time in the freezing weather. You want to make sure this won’t ever be a worry for you when buying a house.
  7. Take note of every property you visit and list all the pro’s and con’s of each place, so you don’t waste your own or seller's time.

There’s no fixed price tag on property

Your new home is worth exactly what you are willing to pay for it at any one point of time. Stick to your gut feeling and don’t be pressured by the seller or estate agent, when offering a price you deem as fair. The estate agent is looking to make a fast sale at the best price, so remember to look after number one, you! If you achieve a balanced buying experience, with a decent estate agent who supports your decision making, then you will hopefully have a very positive experience when buying a new home.

NBM Solicitors Partners

WJ Broadhead NP Eason SJ Lacey CR Broadhead V Coggan

Website content authored by Matthew Broadhead

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