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Beginning the house search

Before you start looking at properties, write a wish list of your needs and requirements. This will be helpful when viewing prospective homes.

Think back to the reasons why you’re moving in the first place. Do you want to be closer to a certain school? Do you want a bigger garden or your own driveway? Other criteria could include:

  • More kitchen space
  • A downstairs toilet
  • Extra bedrooms
  • An en-suite bathroom
  • Home office

Having this list can help you decide whether the home itself is going to suit your needs, but it’s not the only thing you need to look at. Other things you want to take into consideration include:

  • What the area looks like
  • How long will it take you to commute?
  • Are there good transport links nearby?
  • What local shops are near you?
  • How close are you to schools and nurseries?
  • Do you have dedicated parking?

Once you have established your wish list, you can start viewing properties. Let’s think about the exterior of the home first:

  • Is there off-road parking?
  • Is the house south-facing for the sun?
  • Is there a garden?
  • How secure does the house look?
  • Can you see any cracks in the walls?
  • Does the guttering look in good condition?
  • Does the neighbour’s house look well-kept?

Once you’re inside the property, you want to either ask the following questions or find the answers for yourself:

  • What energy rating is the property?
  • What heating system is in place?
  • How much will the council tax be?
  • Can you see any mould or damp?
  • Are the rooms big enough for your needs i.e. storage space?

Ultimately, you need your next property to meet most - if not all - of the items on your wish list. Some things are negotiable, but mould and damp could imply bigger problems, as could cracks in the wall. If you’re prepared to do a total retrofit, this may not be a concern.  Everyone’s priorities are different, but be sure to stick to your guns when deciding where to live.

You also want to consider how long you plan to live there. If it isn’t for long, then perhaps smaller issues can be overlooked. Once you’ve found a house that you want to buy and have a mortgage in principle, it’s time to make an offer.

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