Q. As an estate agent, what advice would you give someone who is just starting their search for a new home?
A. The first thing I would say is that if you are serious about moving, and you have the necessary funds at your disposal, then you can start your property search. However, due to the current market there is a slight shortage in 3-4 bed properties as more people are upsizing rather than downsizing.
It is important that you first of all define precisely what sort of property you are looking for. This may sound like common sense, but without a very clear idea of what you want, you could be about to waste a great deal of time and effort – and not all of it your own, either!
So, list the key features of your perfect home – the number of bedrooms, the location, the style, etc, etc. It can also help to divide these features into the absolute “must-haves” and those which, while desirable, aren’t complete deal-breakers.
That done, it’s on to the actual house-hunting. These days, the majority of people start their search online – but having said that, many properties will sell before showing on portals such as Rightmove, so it’s always best to speak to an agent about what they have available. Some sellers choose to keep their property offline; this means that unless you speak to an agent you won’t even know about it. Don’t restrict your search to online properties as you may lose out!
Before deciding which properties you want to view, read the details carefully to make absolutely sure whether they meet all your essential points. If you live close by, hop in the car and take a drive past, to get an initial impression. Alternatively, you can check out the area online, using tools like Google Streetview and UpMyStreet, which has lots of useful information about things like schools, etc. However, be careful as Google Streetview is often out of date so just to be on the safe side give the agent a call for the full details.
When it comes to making arrangements to view, don’t try to see too many properties in one go. You’ll only wear yourself out. Also, draw up a handy checklist of the features you’re looking for, together with a list of questions to ask the vendor (or the agent, if it’s an accompanied viewing).
Finally, be patient. While a degree of compromise is almost always necessary, never make an offer simply because you are “tired of looking.” You’ll regret it in the long run!