Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you're looking to move, buying a house is a significant milestone in your life and a massive investment. Choosing a house requires plenty of careful consideration and research to ensure you find the right home for you, and that you don’t end up having any regrets about moving into the wrong property.
Buying a house can be daunting, but we can help you make the right choice. Our experts have put together this clear guide on what to look for and what to check when buying and searching for a house.
THE HOUSE OF YOUR DREAMS
Consider the following aspects of all the houses you’re interested in buying:
PROPERTY TYPE AND SIZE
A sensible first step, before you begin your property search in earnest, is to decide on what kind of house you want. This could be a detached or semi-detached home, a terraced house, a bungalow, or a flat. Consider also whether a garden is important to you.
Do you want a period property or a new build? How many bedrooms and bathrooms will you need? Do you want space for a study or a home office? Would you like a driveway or a garage? How about a south-facing back garden?
Decide on what you most want, and what factors you’re willing to compromise on.
CONDITION OF THE PROPERTY
When you’re viewing potential houses, pay close attention to the property's condition. Look for signs of dampness, for structural issues, or any required repairs.
Hiring a professional surveyor to assess the property's condition is a wise investment, as they can uncover hidden problems that may not be visible during a casual viewing.
HOW MUCH WORK WILL THE PROPERTY REQUIRE?
As well as the overall condition of the property, pay attention to how much work a house will need to bring it up to the condition and appearance you’d want. Will you need to undertake building and renovation work? Or install a new kitchen and bathrooms?
Will you need to redecorate the entire house right away, or can you live with the decor and make it your own slowly over time? These are all important questions to answer.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND INSULATION
Energy efficiency is not only great for the environment but it can also save you money on bills – savings that can be considerable over time. Check the energy performance certificate (EPC) for all homes you’re interested in to see how well they’re insulated and how much they cost to heat and light.
HOW IS THE HOME HEATED?
In addition to energy efficiency, make sure you understand how a home is heated, as older heating systems may be in need of updating, which can be costly. Ask to see the boiler and question how old it is. Examine the radiators throughout a home to get an idea of their condition.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
As well as the specifics of the houses you’re interested in buying, you also need to consider the location of those homes. Make sure the neighbourhood is safe, and the location gives you access to the amenities you’ll depend on for your desired quality of life. Consider:
Local amenities and services
Research what local services and amenities are in the area of a home you’re considering. Look for shops, supermarkets, hospitals, doctors’ practices, parks, sports centres, and other local attractions. Easy access to these amenities can significantly impact your quality of life.
One of the most important local amenities if you have school age children, or plan to start a family in the future.
It’s vital you research the schools that are local to any homes you’re considering, making sure they’re at least up to standard (i.e. have a “Good” Ofsted rating). If you want your kids to attend a particular state school, your house will have to fall within the catchment area of that school.
You can easily research local schools via the Ofsted site.
Transportation links are essential for convenience and accessibility – for easily getting to jobs, schools, shopping sites, and other attractions and amenities. Check the availability of local public transport options, including buses and train lines. You can also easily assess local roadways using applications like Google Maps.
If you’ll be commuting or making daily school runs, it’s also a good idea to take some practice trips to get a good sense of how those journeys will feel.
Crime rates and safety
The safety of the area is obviously of paramount importance when choosing a new home. A range of websites can be found that provide crime statistics and reports by postcode, such as Crime-Statistics.co.uk. Try and speak to local residents too, if possible, to get a sense of the neighbourhood's safety.
Try to investigate if any developments are planned in the regions around the homes you’re interested in. New developments can have a substantial impact on your quality of life and a property’s value, both positive and negative. A new leisure centre or tram line can be a boost, while a planned local sewage works won’t be.
You can find details of planned developments on the websites of local authorities, plus records of planning applications. Speak to your estate agent and solicitor too, as they’re often aware of regional developments.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying a house. But it’s well worth putting as much thought and research into the decision as you can. You’ll want to make sure you end up in the best possible house for you. We can help you in finding your ideal home. Browse our new houses for sale across the UK and get in touch with us to find out more.
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