Looking for a new property can be a daunting experience, and that is why you need to be as organised as possible before you begin the process. There are a range of factors that you need to take into careful consideration prior to starting your property search.
So, where do you start? Read on for our advice on the steps you should take before you start to seriously look for a new property.
1. Determine your needs and wants
First of all, you need to take into consideration exactly what it is you want in a new property and determine whether or not it’s realistic according to your finances and situation. Are you looking to buy or rent? Is it a house or a flat that you’ll be searching for?
Make a list of everything you want in a new home, as well as any deal-breakers you might have. These could be anything from a south-facing garden, an accompanying garage, a certain distance from a main road – anything that you consider important to you. Be realistic, however; while you’re listing the features you can’t live without, remember that you’re limited by your chosen location and your finances. For instance, you might ideally want space for parking outside your property, but this is often difficult to find in areas such as the Boroughs of New York for example.
It’s important to connect with an estate agent and make them aware of your wish list and deal-breakers. This will not only help to streamline your search, it will save you time in the long-run.
Also consider your current living situation before you start seriously searching for property. For instance, if you already own your own home, think about whether or not you’re in a position to sell it before you buy something else.
Before you start seriously looking for your new home, you need to work out your budget and determine whether or not you can afford it. There are numerous factors you need to account for, so try making out a list of all your expected costs.
Alongside the actual price of the property and your deposit, there are a host of additional costs such as surveys, stamp duty, removal fees, solicitor fees, extra furniture costs, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and closing costs. Weigh up your financial situation against the numerous costs and decide on a budget.
Also consider how much you want to spend on your new property in the long-run. For instance, are you considering major renovation or building works, such as a conservatory or extension, in the future? If you are interested in extending or adapting the property in the future, you’ll not only need to ensure you budget for it, you’ll also need to consider if the property type or location allows for such redecorations. You could run into issues if the property is a listed building or it’s located in a conservation or protected area. Also don’t forget that there will be ongoing maintenance costs – can you afford the time and money for the upkeep of the property?
If you’re planning to buy a new property, you’ll need to determine if you qualify for a mortgage and whether or not you can afford the deposit and the repayments. Start preparing to make sure your credit score is as good as it can be, then look into getting preapproval for a mortgage. The latter should be sought around two weeks before you start seriously searching for properties. A pre-approved mortgage helps buyers to stand out against other potential bidders and shows the seller that you’re committed to buying.
3.Identify a location
Before searching for a new property, you need to determine exactly where you want to live. While you can usually change your home, whether that be through redecoration or building work, you can’t change the location. Therefore, it is extremely important that you deliberate over the location carefully before you start your search.
You have to be realistic though and consider what area is most practical for you, your family and your situation. You might ideally want to live in a certain postcode, but if the properties are way out of your price range, then there’s no point in searching there.
Consider where you work, what family you’ll be regularly visiting, and what schools or education facilities you or your children will be using. You don’t have to search for properties within immediate proximity to these places, you just have to ensure that there’s adequate and affordable transport links between them and your home.
Once you’ve narrowed down the areas that suit you best, look at other factors. Are you near to local amenities, such as shops and medical facilities? If you’re intending to search for properties in a rural area, you need to make provisions in case you need emergency health care; for instance, ensure you have access to a car. Likewise, if you’re planning on searching in urban areas, be mindful of busy main roads, especially if you have young children or pets. Once you’ve established your suitable locations, it’s time to start your property search.
Moving house is one of the most challenging and stressful experiences you can have, but there are ways to make it run smoothly if you plan ahead. Follow our steps before you begin your property search to ensure a swift and hassle-free move.