There are few decisions in life as momentous as buying your first house. Not only is it a big financial commitment, it’s a promise to your future self. It’s a life investment, a physical embodiment of your dreams, goals and ambitions. In other words, it’s pretty special. So, it’s important to get the decision right first time.
If you’re thinking about buying a property for the first time, don’t be worried if the process feels overwhelming. A good place to start is with a list of ‘must have’ features – the things your home must include. Then, add the features you feel strongly about, but might be willing to compromise on. With this list, you can assess the suitability of each home you view.
Here are some helpful tips on what to look for when hunting for your new home.
- Location, Location, Location
It’s common for house hunters to fall in love with a property and forget to explore the area around it. Usually, the neighbourhood is just as lovely as the home. However, it’s wise to do your own research on the local area before buying any new property. Pay particular attention to noise levels. Are there busy roads close by? Is it in reasonable proximity to amenities like a doctor’s surgery, school, dentist and supermarket?
- Air Quality and Ventilation
When viewing a property, check for signs of mold and damage caused by interior condensation. In fact, ask the broker if the house has any history of mold or ventilation problems. In smaller apartments, it may be necessary to buy an air conditioning or air purifying system to ensure fresh air circulates efficiently.
It’s worth noting that air purifiers can even help with pets. If you’re allergic to pet dander, a high quality air purifier may allow you to own a pet and avoid reactions.
- Focus on the Big Picture
It can be hard to look past unsightly décor and fixtures, but the good news is they’re mostly superficial. Some features of a property are very difficult to change. For instance, altering the layout of a home can be a costly, time consuming job. So, it’s best to pick a property with a layout that you love or at least can live with.
When it comes to things like kitchen cabinets, door frames and décor, try to look beyond the superficial. These are all things that are easily changed. So, if you love the location, layout and key features of the property, go for it. Improve the bits you don’t like later.
- Think About the Future
While it’s important to make practical, sustainable decisions, there should also be an element of future planning when buying a home. The classic example is when a young couple starts house hunting for their first property. More often than not, they’ll pick a slightly bigger home than they need. That way, they can start a family in a property that’s suitable for it.
Is the property going to suit your needs in five or ten years? The question is pertinent for older buyers too. Are your children growing fast? Do they need their own space for a long time to come or are they close to leaving the family home?
- Get the Timing Right
Contrary to popular opinion, it’s the up and coming neighbourhoods that deserve most attention when house hunting. Sure, you could move into a sought after locale, but property prices are likely to be high. And there’s no guarantee the bubble won’t burst quickly.
Buying when the market is low gives you a chance to gain equity as it improves. If you pick carefully, it may also mean you end up in an area that’s fast becoming the next big thing.
Why Finding Your Dream Property Is All About Consistency
The secret to house hunting success is to be clear about what you want. Before you start viewing and considering properties, identify key needs. Should the area have a school? Do transport links need to be built for faster commutes? Are you willing to spend money on renovations or do you want a fully realised dream home?
Write down your needs, goals and priorities. Take this list with you when attending viewings. Use it to narrow down the list of possibilities, so that your search becomes more manageable.