Tips & Tricks For
Buying a Home
It's been over a year since we moved into our home and although it's been a rollercoaster 12 months with hen parties, moving away from London, weddings, so much travel and then Covid turning the first half of this year completely on it's head, we've made our house a home.
We've spent time living in the space as we've decorated from top to bottom including a new kitchen that's the heart of our home, temporary bathroom makeovers and even an at home gym room which has always been a silly dream for the both of us.
What's still at the heart of our home though, is the bricks and mortar house we fell in love with when we were searching for a place to call ours and what stands out to me most is that the tips our friends and family gave us, are tips we'd use again if we moved house today.
So here's a bit of a different how to in 10 about the tips and tricks we used to find our dream home and a couple of things we learned as we took the plunge and applied for our first ever mortgage.
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House Buying Tips & Tricks You Need to Know
1. Chains - Consider the position your chosen home may be in in terms of buying chains. If you can look to locate a home that isn't part of a chain of purchases that relies on one purchase/home closing triggering the rest, you can find yourself in a great position to barter and negotiate. Finding a home for sale that you adore that relies only on your funds being approved, especially if you're also a first time buyer, is a great position to be in to avoid a lot of stress.
2. Mortgages - When it comes to the task of finding the right mortgage and solicitor to help you purchase your home, if possible talk to friends and family members about their experiences. There is nothing more comforting than having someone recommend a certain bank or professional to you because they too have had a positive experience with them. Rely on professionals to help you get the best deal, especially those that come highly recommended from people you know well and trust.
3. Location - Before you even start the detailed search for your new home, consider the location you wish to be in. Not only should you think about your ideal location but have a think about the surrounding areas you would consider too, as it may well be a toss up down the line of location vs price if you find an amazing place to make an offer on. What's your max commute time? What do you need close by? Who do you need to access to? What transport links are near by? Really nail this down before you start the main search.
4. Online Searches - Bear in mind that websites we all know about like Rightmove, Zoopla etc may not have every house available in your preferred area listed. This could be because they've only just come onto the market or because they simply may not be listed online while available. If you've taken the previous step of narrowing down some locations you'd like to live in, then you can also locate the estate agents in those areas and perhaps find some hidden gems. Sometimes it pays to get ahead of the game!
5. Viewings - We chose to see a number of houses for sale on the same day to ensure they were all fresh in our minds and I'd recommend doing the same to anyone else. It helped us to really narrow down what we liked and disliked and we also saw a lot of different styles of homes. New builds, older homes, 1 story, 3 stories, busy locations, quiet areas - we quickly realised our ideal type of home through this method of comparison.
6. Viewings - Viewing a real mix of properties and not being too fixed on certain elements is also a great way to start the viewing process. Saying yes to seeing a property that may not have every single thing on your 'must have' list could open doors (pun very much intended) to looking at a type of property you may never have considered. Pictures can only tell one side of a story, being inside a house can really turn your focus onto the things that matter and combined with a clear vision can lead to your new home faster than you may dream.
7. External Checklists - Having a vision of what you would love in a home, combined with a realistic checklist is the perfect way to seek out your new home but don't forget to consider multiple viewings to gain as much insight as possible. Which direction does your garden face? How does the area change at different times of the day? What is is located next to - a school, a bar, a shop etc? Is your access road shared? Is the building listed and any improvements would be restricted?
8. Internal Checklists - Once you've got an idea of the position of the house you're considering and whether it's immediate location is beneficial to you, as well as the general area it's found in, it's time for some internal checklists too. How old are the electrics? How old is the boiler? Are the windows in need of replacing? Are there any structural issues causing concern? Are the chimneys/fireplaces up to code? These are the things that will cause significant spending down the road so it's best to be in the loop.
9. The Last Steps - Don't feel too pressured in the final stages of the buying process and make sure you use your head more than your heart. Be cheeky and offer a lower amount if you feel you can, you never know the full situation of the seller and they may well take your offer seriously and land you with a discount. Always listen to the professionals around you when it comes to deciding on deposits, types of mortgages and time frames - it'll lessen your stress immensely as each situation is unique to you!
10. I hope if you're looking for a new home or your first home that you find somewhere that makes you so happy :)
I hope that passing on the tips that we found usual during our home buying and searching process are useful to you and if you have any other tips you think others might benefit from please leave them below :) And as always if you want to keep up with our home renovation/decor journey you can head over to our Frowhome Instagram!