Buying a home is a huge decision – possibly one of the biggest you’ll make in your lifetime (no pressure then).

And to ensure you make a wise choice that suits your needs now and into the future, it pays to give the process a bit of thought before you start arranging viewings.

Here are five property-hunting tips that could save you time and money. 

Do your homework

Once you’ve identified where you want to live, it’s essential to gain a realistic understanding of the local property market. Combine online research (where you can analyse the housing stock and prices) with visiting the area in person to get a feel for the surroundings. If family or friends live nearby, get their advice about amenities, schools and transport links. Alternatively, chat with a local estate agent to get an expert view.

Discussion time

If you plan to buy with a partner, friend or family member, sit down and discuss your housing needs and where you see yourselves in five or ten years. It’s surprising how many people assume they know what the other person wants (and how much they earn) only to find after weeks or months of searching that they’re not on the same page. 

Know your budget

Speak to a mortgage adviser to get a clear idea of your budget (online mortgage calculators only give you a rough estimate). How much you can borrow will depend on your income, expenditure and outstanding debts, so compile all this information before your appointment.

Priorities and trade-offs

Unless your budget is unlimited, you may have to be flexible over some of the features you want in a home. But where should you compromise? To drill down into your key priorities, list the ten things you most desire in a property and number them in order of importance. The top four on your list are non-negotiables. For example, proximity to a train station might be critical if you’re a commuter. If you have children, a garden might be vital. Items five to eight on your list are ‘nice to have but not dealbreakers’ while nine and ten are icing on the cake.

Get your admin sorted

If you fall in love with a property within your budget, you must act decisively. Once you make an offer, the situation could progress quickly, so have a solicitor and surveyor lined up along with your mortgage in principle. This will show the seller that you mean business.

Looking for a new home? Contact us here at Storeys to kickstart your property search.

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