Finding the ideal property
Buying a house is often one of the most expensive and stressful things you will ever do so it's important to spend the time finding the property thats right for you.
There are many things to consider when looking for a property such as how much you want to spend, how much time and money you want to invest on improvements, what amenities you can live without and what kind of area you want to live in.
You will also need to consider what aspects of a property are most important to you:
- Number of bedrooms / bathrooms
- Parking provisions
- Separate kitchen and dining room
- Private garden
- Distance to work and amenities
- How much time/money you may want to spend redecorating etc.
Tell your agent exactly what type of property you are looking for and the elements that you could possibly compromise on. Also inform them what you don't want and whether you have a mortgage agreed in principle.
If you are moving to a new area, you may want to do some research to see if it is suitable for your lifestyle. Your local Belvoir office will be able to give you useful information about house prices, school performance, public transport links and other amenities.
The checklist below covers some of the most important things you need to know and where to get the information:
- Use the Government websites to find out what the council tax bandings are in the new area. The VOA website can be used for England and Wales while the SAA website is for Scotland.
- Get information on a variety of subjects including: population, crime, health and housing from the Office for National Statistics website.
- Check out the public transport links on the Transport Direct or the TGL website for London. Visit the Highways Agency website to check your road transport links and any plans for future road developments that may affect house prices in the future.
- Look at the Environment Agency website to find out more about the local environment; from pollution to flooding.
Find out as much as you can about a property you like using the photographs, floorplans, virtual tours, online brochures and local information that is available with most descriptions. As soon as you have established the property is of sufficient interest for you, book a viewing with the agent.
Don't forget to take a camera and tape measure on every viewing you go on - the camera is so you can avoid having to rack your brain about which property had the lovely en-suite. With cameras built in as standard on most mobile phones, this is easier than ever. But remember to always ask permission with the agent or owner before taking any pictures. The tape measure is for you to see if your large/favourite pieces of furniture will fit in the rooms.
Older properties tend to have more character than newer properties. You may find some Victorian or Georgian houses are in need of modernisation but are full of original features, well within your budget.
These properties often need re-wiring, new boilers, central heating, insulating and decorating throughout which can take a lot of time, money and effort but you can have a lot of fun putting your own mark on the property and restoring some of the features back to their original glory.
What’s more, your efforts could significantly enhance the value of your property once the modernisation is complete.
However, there are more hidden costs associated with older properties including the need for re-pointing, damp proofing etc. Older homes do tend to have larger rooms and gardens, ideal for growing families or those who like a bit of space!
Buying a brand new property, fitted with a luxury designer kitchen and en suite bathroom can prove irresistible. On top of that new homes are generally cheaper to run than older properties as they are built to a higher standard.
New homes usually come with more amenities and conveniences. They tend to feature more built-in appliances, including dishwashers, and virtually all of them have central heating systems.
Studies show that occupants of new homes are almost six times less likely to die from fire than occupants of older homes. New homes generally come with smoke detectors and with central heating systems that reduce the need for space heaters, which can sometimes cause fires.
New homes are also thought to be more energy efficient because of better windows, improved heating and cooling systems and a better use of insulation. They also require less maintenance because they are, after all, newer and come equipped with the conveniences a buyer is pursuing.
Find the latest property to buy on Belvoir's properties listing.