Perfect Home Hunting- How To Find Your Ideal Property
Finding a new home can be stressful and trying to find your perfect home, even worse! It always seems like not all the boxes are ticked with a certain property, and you can view so many that you forgot what you originally wanted in the first place.
Sometimes, looking for one particular thing can send you off on a tangent, looking at properties you otherwise would have missed. This hub will help you identify exactly what you are looking for in your search for your ideal home, and you can then easily make progress in choosing your property.
Now, I know what it's like, trawling through property websites and driving through the more prosperous areas of the city. It can be all too easy to imagine yourself living in a 10 bedroom home with 3 reception rooms, a pantry, a utilities room and a maid to hep it all run...
If you'r budget will allow a mansion, congratulations!
But, chances are, like me, you have to get realistic about your situation and your budget. A budget buy in the middle of nowhere is useless if you don't drive, for example. Think about things realistically, and try not to let your heart skip over your head.
You should also be realistic about the time that everything can take. Finding the perfect home isn't going to be over in a day's worth of searching. It is likely to take 3-6 months of refined searching to find your perfect property, then a further 2-3 months to actually have all of the proceedings concluded.
How To Calculate Your Budget
It really is a great idea to have a meeting with your intended mortgage provider BEFORE you start house-hunting. They will be able to give you an idea of your maximum mortgage available, but also of how much deposit you need to save, what your monthly payments would be and how affordable it would be for you.
Typically, your maximum mortgage available is 3x your annual salary. So, if there is more than 1 working person going for the mortgage, the chances are you will have access to more funds. That being said, you perhaps don't want the maximum available to you when you consider the monthly repayments in line with your cost of living.
Personally, I would like to leave some wiggle room for when the interest rates change, or the mortgage payment increases, so I decided against taking the highest amount possible and settled on the best monthly amount that I could easily afford. This means that in the event of an increase in outgoings or unexpected bills, I have a bit of breathing space to allow for that.
In order to find your affordability, I would recommend drawing up a list of all committed outgoings at present, and then another list of predicted outgoings when you have your own home. Outgoings to consider are:
- Car payments/ insurance
- Home & Contents insurance
- Personal insurance/ life cover
- Council tax/ water charges etc
- Existing loans/ credit cards
- Travel pass/ fuel costs
- Energy- Gas and Electricity
- Food & Sustenance
Remember to budget everything in that you think you may need, before signing up to a mortgage. It is better to include something in the budget that isn't required than be stung by a bill that you didn't think about.
Do your research into required expenditure that comes with home ownership as well as decorating and home improvement- it is unlikely you will find the perfect home, and it be decorated to your tastes, too.
Do you budget?
Location and Links
Location is usually the big question. Most people have a list of places they simply wouldn't live in, yet much less of an idea of where they would live.
The idea of a good neighbourhood is often determined by a number of factors including crime rates, vandalism and whether there are any gangs hanging around the streets at night. It is important that you feel safe in and around your home at any time.
However many places that others would consider a bad area, aren't necessarily your idea of bad, Particularly if you have been living in said area long enough and are quite settled and comfortable there. It is up-to you where you live, and while getting opinions on areas or schools may influence your overall opinion, don't let it sway your decision completely.
You should carefully consider your location in terms of whether it is a good or bad neighbourhood, but also in terms of how easily accessible it is. Think of visitors with no car, or how you would get to work should the car have a fault- transport links and local amenities are important when considering your new property.
What is your ideal location?
Must- Haves When Property Hunting
You should consider everything that is absolutely essential to you. Think about the absolute minimum that you require in a house in order to live there comfortably. How many rooms do you need? How many Bathrooms? Reception areas? You could also include:
- Home office
It is amazing how easily nice to haves become must haves! If you absolutely couldn't even consider living in a property without a particular feature, then don't force yourself. Remember to be realistic, though.
Nice-to-haves When Property Hunting
Now consider the things that would be an added bonus.You could consider things like:
- Utility Room
- Dining Room
- Craft Room
- Music Room
- Garage/ Driveway
Again, think in detail about things you would ideally have within the house. Again, these can easily turn into must-haves when you are actually reviewing them later on.
Organise Your Thoughts
Now I like to organise my thoughts onto a mind-map because you can easily use this to just storm through ideas, even if they are not relevant. You can then go over and review all of the information and highlight or circle your desirables.
You can do a list or a Pinterest board or a photo album or whatever you like- as long as your ideas and thoughts are recorded. This is important as you want to be able to refer back to your initial ideas, before they get skewed with viewings and other people's opinions.
Begin Your Search for Your Perfect Property
Now you have organised all your thoughts, and fine tuned all of your requirements, you are ready to search. Start looking at property websites, being specific with your requirements as much as the search function allows. Start taking walks through neighbourhoods that you are interested in incase there is a house for sale not listed on the websites. Begin asking friends and family if they know of anyone selling or planning to sell their property.
Remember to consider all of the above mentioned points when looking at possible properties- is it affordable, does it tie in with your requirements? Does it have all of your must-haves? Any nice-to-haves in there for good measure?
Remember, booking a viewing does NOT mean that you have to buy the house. It simply means you are interested, possibly. Don't allow yourself to be harassed by the estate agent into a second viewing or a purchase if you aren't completely sold. Your house should feel right to you when you have found it.
Happy Home Hunting!
© 2014 Lynsey Harte