We at SearchSmartly know that the prospect of flat hunting can excite and frighten in equal measure. One of the most stressful parts of the search experience is figuring out exactly what to buy, and which areas to look in. But not to worry, because in this part of our house buying guide, we’re going to run you through everything you should consider to help you find the perfect home for your needs.
Start with the dealbreakers
Finding the right place to call home often requires a realistic approach towards prioritising the things that matter the most to you, while being open to compromising on the things that are less important. First, consider your dealbreakers – what aspects of your new home are you absolutely certain about? Let’s walk through some of the most common dealbreakers
Budget: As discussed in the last section of this series (link to previous article), you have to be realistic about what you can, and can’t afford to buy. If you are purchasing with a mortgage, your overall budget will need to be set by the deposit you can afford (be careful to account for the many upfront costs such as Stamp Duty!), plus the maximum mortgage that you can afford. Lenders will generally limit the size of the mortgage they offer you by multiplying your annual salary by 4.5. With your savings and salary in mind, use this information to set your maximum budget. Unless your financial circumstances change, this upper budget is a dealbreaker that you probably aren’t going to be able to compromise on!
Bedrooms: You might be thinking “it’s just myself, I could easily do with a studio”. Well think about the medium term -will you have enough space for where you think your life will be in 5 years? Smaller properties are appealing due to their affordability, but they are restrictive as there isn’t much space. Are you expecting to work from home frequently and considering space for an office? You’ll struggle to create a barrier between work and relaxation in a studio!
You may also want to consider your lifestyle priorities: do you like to host dinner or invite mates around for drinks? Would you like to have a spare bedroom in case any friends or relatives want to visit? Do you work from home often and need a space to be productive? Are you expecting children in the coming years? Having an extra room allows you to be flexible with your space.
Commute: Once things return back to normality, how often do you expect to commute to the office, and how long are you willing to travel each way? WOrking from home over the COVID-19 crisis has allowed many of us to win back hours of time in our weeks, and you may be willing to prioritise or shorter commute in the future, or you might feel like a longer, less frequent commute is worth the other benefits that you can get from living further away from the city centre. You might also have more than one commute to consider, for example if your partner will be commuting to a separate part of the city. You can leverage SearchSmartly’s unique dual commute search functionality to help discover areas and homes that could be a great fit for both of your commutes!
What is your ideal type of home?
Flat or house? New build or a traditional home? Some people admire the charm and stability of an older home, whilst others may prefer the blank canvas and the bells and whistles of a fresh, modern home with the latest automation gizmos. It all comes down to individual preference, and there are benefits and pitfalls to both.
Older homes, although cheaper, tend to be larger in size and have bigger rooms. There is also a belief that they are often built with better materials and have more outdoor space. However, the ongoing costs could be higher due to poor insulation and older heating systems. The home may lack double glazing making it noisier inside, and there will also be more wear and tear to the property when you buy it, requiring further investment.
New-build homes are generally more energy efficient, and easier to make your own as you are able to customise carpet colours, kitchen fittings, and so on. Many new homes also come with a 10-year warranty, and if they are already built you won’t have to wait for anyone to move out! Though they do tend to have thinner walls which could be an issue if you have loud neighbours, and they can also be more expensive than older homes. Lastly, since they are often built in clusters, they may lack the character of an older home! New developments are also often built as part of broader redevelopment schemes, so you may see new shops, schools, and even public transport stations pop up in your local area over time, increasing the desirability of the area and potentially increasing the value of your home.
Maximising the quality of your life
What does your ideal neighbourhood look like? Do you look for organic grocery stores within a stone’s throw from your front door? Or maybe you need to be near to a great school for your little ones. Perhaps you’re a fitness fanatic and you’d like nothing more than a nearby park to run in or a gym to easily get in your daily pumps. Everybody is unique in their needs, and it could take dozens of hours to check each home you like to understand what the local area is like, adding more stress and complicating your search. Luckily, we’ve designed our smart search tool to make this process easy and help you prioritise the homes that best match your needs!
There are so many things to consider when you’re looking for your forever home, and with our smart property matchmaking tool, we’ve made the process of finding a place that meets all your needs simpler than ever. Why not give it a go?