How to Find Your Dream Home

Has the cut in stamp duty got you thinking about your next move?  Finding and buying your dream home is such an exciting time. This is your opportunity to discover a space where you will create memories with your family and friends for years to come.

For most of us, buying a home is the biggest purchase of our lives. Finding and buying a home can be an exciting adventure. If you aren’t careful, however, you can make mistakes that will quickly turn your dream home into a nightmare.

So, before you start shopping, build a ‘roadmap’ that leads to the home you want. The process takes time, dedication and some know-how. We hope this guide can help you approach it with sense and confidence and ultimately find your dream home.

Do you need to sell to buy? 

When it comes to getting the right sale price for your property, it’s a good idea to invite three agents round for a valuation.  Don’t automatically plump for the one who gives you the highest – this is an old trick used to win instructions.  Find out how and where your agent intends to market your property, make sure they are knowledgeable, locally active and you have a good rapport with them.  And above all, are they interested in you and how they can help you move on:  it shouldn’t just be about that new instruction for them.

Read our blog Tips Before Putting Your Home on the Market, a practical guide of things you may wish to consider before putting your house on the market.

Work out your budget.

One of the first steps to buying your dream home is to decide how much you are willing and able to spend. Budgets are one of those things that people don’t always want to think about.

However, it doesn’t have to be something to worry about. Carefully working out your budget can make the buying process go much more smoothly.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

With a pre-approval, you’ll receive a letter from the lender confirming you’ve been approved for a mortgage up to a certain amount. When you make an offer on a home, this letter gives you an edge over buyers who have not yet applied for financing.

Pre-approval, however, requires you to complete an official mortgage application. Your lender will conduct a credit score check and thoroughly check your finances. You’ll learn exactly how much you can borrow and roughly what your interest rate will be.

List of must-haves.

Before the excitement of home hunting starts, write down a list of the must-haves for your new home. Remember to think about the future too. Is this your forever home?  Will it meet your future needs?

It’s a great idea to involve your family in this step. But to avoid disappointment, make sure that your family know these are only possibilities… not their new reality!

There is a strong chance you might not be able to find a home that ticks every box on your list. Consider allocating a percentage of your budget to use for renovations to make the next home your perfect home.

Are you looking for a renovation project or a home where you can just unpack your suitcase?

In light of what we just mentioned above, it’s important to consider whether or not you’re prepared to renovate a home. What can be more exciting than creating your dream home? However, this can often be a big project which takes time; therefore not a decision to make lightly, or without advice.  You will need to consider time, cost, and the complexity of the building work.

It is impossible to plan for everything so if you decide that you are happy with making changes you should determine whether you want to do it yourself or hire a professional to help, even invite them along to view the property with you to give an estimate of works to make sure the purchase and renovation is within budget.

Location, Location, Location

You’re not just buying a home, you’re buying a neighbourhood — and all of its sights, smells, noises, architecture, conveniences and drawbacks. Visit that area at different time of the day, week to get a good feel for it.

It’s a good idea to find a few neighbourhoods that you can afford and that roughly meet your requirements. When you choose an agent, you’ll want one who has expertise in those areas.

Register for property alerts online

Create property alerts on property websites to keep up to date with all the properties coming on to the market.  Be sure to include Rightmove and On the Market.

Talk to local estate agents

Some homes are sold before they appear online, so it’s a great idea to register as an applicant with a local estate agent to hear as soon as a place hits their register.

This will give you the opportunity to talk with a local expert, tell them what type of property you’re looking for and your budget. They should be able to give you an idea of how realistic your budget is for the property and area you are looking for.  They should be able to give you an idea of how many other buyers you could expect to be up against and how long it’s taking on average for that type of property to sell.

A good agent will do some of the property hunting legwork for you and give you a heads up when something new becomes available.  Agents may have properties available that are being marketed discreetly as some owners want to find the right buyer without publicly advertising.  Make sure they know you’re a serious buyer and you could be the first to view a hidden treasure!

Time for the fun stuff… Viewings!

After all this preparation, you are probably more than ready to get out there and see some properties. Time to get started!

Polly Greenway

Polly Greenway

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