Whether you’re looking to rent or hoping to buy a home, there’s no doubt that finding the right home is likely to be time-consuming and often frustrating. A little thought and planning with a bit of judicious box-ticking, however, can make all the difference. There are a lot of things to think about when buying a home, clarity and calmness can certainly get you through the initial stages of house hunting. Here we take a closer look at how creating a list of Wants and Needs will help guide your selection process so that you find the house hunting challenge will move a lot more smoothly.
Why Create a Property Search List
The point about building a list of Wants and Needs is that you sit down and really think about what you are looking for in your new home, helping to focus you. It can be used to narrow down your search online or with an estate agent and ensure that you don’t waste your time viewing unsuitable properties.
Splitting this list into what features you “Need” your new home to have and what you would ideally “Want” can also give you the option to further refine your choice.
What You Need
When you are deciding what are essential prerequisites in the properties you choose to view, you should consider not only the house itself but the location and surrounding amenities. This part of your list is about the bare minimum you are looking for, things you can’t do without.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
· Are you looking for a flat or house? A lot will depend on what budget you have, whether you’re single, cohabiting, married or have children. This decision can also determine which areas you decide to focus on with your search.
· How many bedrooms do you require? This is the bare minimum of rooms for you and your family. If you have children, this becomes especially important. You also need to look towards the future if you are planning to start or grow your family.
· Do you need parking? Most houses come with street parking as a bare minimum. Some flats have parking allocated but you may have to pay extra for this. If you are a family with more than one car, spaces can start to become an issue.
· What location are you looking for? This can be particularly important if you want to live in a certain area, be close to work, good schools or simply live somewhere the crime rate is low.
· What are the surrounding amenities? This can include everything from a good transport infrastructure, nearby shopping, sports facilities and schools. It all depends on your personal requirements.
What You Want
What you want or would like in your new home is also an important consideration. These are things that you can be flexible on and are willing to compromise with when you decide which properties you are going to view, but they can also be used as a deciding factor if you are interested in more than one property. Here are a few things to consider adding to your Want list:
· Would you like an extra bedroom? Perhaps you want to turn it into a home office, or you are likely to have regular guests staying and want to make them comfortable. That extra room, however, will add to the price of the property.
· What about the garden? Size and access will vary from property to property. This might be on your need list or it might be something you are willing to compromise on. Perhaps you want an area that you can extend into at a later date?
· Are you looking for a conservatory? Additional structures like a conservatory or a garden room can give you more scope but are not generally a necessity. Adding features like these to your Want list will help you to hone your options.
· Additional bathrooms can also be a desirable feature for many house hunters. We would all love to have an en-suite and some even two, but if you live alone do you really need multiple bathrooms? On the other hand, any family with teenagers would say that additional bathrooms are a necessity!
How to Use Your Property Search List
Setting your criteria into these two lists gives you a strong focus when searching for your ideal home. It’s important to work through this list conscientiously and use it to define your search. Keep it handy, either on a piece of paper or on your smartphone so that you can remind yourself what you are looking for. When house hunting, discard all properties that don’t complete all items on your “Need” list and filter those properties further by how many items on your “Want” list they achieve. Share your list with your Estate Agent, this will help them to help you! Especially if you need assistance with deciding upon location versus budget. At Belvoir we have over 150 Estate Agent offices located throughout the UK, each with local property specialists whose sole purpose is to help you find and secure your ideal home.