Are you thinking of moving house? Do you dream of a bigger garden or an extra bedroom? Maybe a swimming pool, an en-suite bathroom, or a house with a converted basement that you can turn into a games room? Before signing up with realtors and falling in love with the very first place you see, below are some important things to keep in mind when house hunting.
Location, location, location
It is true what they say; location is everything in the property world. You may find the most beautiful house, but if it’s out in the sticks and you value a short commute to work, then it is not the one for you. Before deciding on a location take a wider look around the neighborhood to discover what it is truly like. Visit at different times so you can get a feel for how safe it is after dark, how many people are about, whether it is on a quiet or busy road, whether the neighbors care for their homes and the surrounding area or is there rubbish thrown in the streets? Perhaps most importantly if you have children, are there children playing in the streets and their front gardens? Is this an area where you can see your children being happy and growing up? If so, then this could be the right place for you to begin getting serious about your house hunt.
Does the new neighborhood have a good public school? Are there strong transport links and easy access to parks, swimming pools, family-friendly cafes, and restaurants? Write a list of the things you value most in your current neighborhood, and then another list of the things your area is missing and would ideally include, for example, a movie theater close to your home. Next, combine these lists and see if you can write a shortlist of locations that can check all the bases.
The house itself
When it comes down to the house itself, there are key things to look out for.
Firstly, assess the size of the property against you and your family’s needs. Does it have a spare room if you often have relatives staying? Do you occasionally work from home and therefore space for a home office is non-negotiable? Is there room for your growing family if you are planning on having more children? Does the house have adequate storage for your needs? For example, if you are into sports is there space to store your equipment? Is there a garage for your car if off-road parking is important to you?
Also, check how the overall condition of the house is. Has the house been loved and looked after or is it rough around the edges and in need of updating? If so, are you up for the challenge or do you want somewhere that you can move in to straight away and not need to do any work to the house? If your budget is tight then perhaps you’ll need to settle on the house in the worst condition, while still being in an amazing neighborhood, and you are going to have to put in the time, effort and sweat to realize its potential. As long as you are realistic and prepared, then it is all possible, but be aware there may be times in your life when undertaking an extensive renovation is not a great idea. For example, if you are about to have a new baby you might not want to be living with a camper stove and not have a working kitchen while you renovate, in which case, holding off for a few months or a year might make more sense. It is worth checking if the appliances are new and in good condition, and whether they are energy-efficient as this will save you money in the long run and is better for the planet. All of these things are essential to consider carefully before making any decisions.
Before you sign your name on the dotted line think about the practicalities involved in moving and ensure you have enough budget to cover all the things you will need, such as new furniture if necessary. You should consider hiring movers as they can help you plan for the move itself. They can advise you on packing or take over and pack all your belongings, transport them safely and even unpack once you have the keys to your new home, thereby making sure that the final part of the moving process goes as smoothly as possible.
When looking around a house, it’s common to have questions, from whether the neighbors are noisy to how frequently the buses run. Don’t be afraid to ask your realtor or the owner anything that comes up.