Choosing a property is never an easy decision whether you’re a first timed buyer or have purchased several times before. With so many factors to consider finding that ‘forever home’ when the time comes can feel like an almost impossible task.
We’ve spoken to some property experts including estate agents Hornchurch – for their top tips on what to consider when searching for your forever home.
Location, location, location
We all know the saying and it really is true – location is key. The ideal location requirements for a ‘forever home’ is something that will vary depending on the individuals involved but things to consider include;
- Do you want to be close to family?
- Are there amenities close by that you visit regularly?
- Do you prefer a busier town or city or would you like to be out in the countryside?
- Commute times to work
- Is it a safe / nice area to live?
- Things to do in the local area
Depending what stage your family is at when looking for a forever home most people will need to factor in schools. It is important to look beyond just the primary schools in the vicinity and ensure you are in a reasonable proximity to a good secondary school as well. This gives you the best chance of not only being in the right catchment area when the time comes but it will make life easier for them being within walking distance so they aren’t reliant on you for lifts.
Room to grow
Depending on what stage your family is at you might be planning on having children or if you already do then maybe adding to your existing family. Maybe you have elderly parents or family members that need to be factored in who could end up living with you in the future. For this - the size of the house and number of bedrooms is an important thing to consider. Children might be ok sharing bedrooms when they are younger but things can get significantly more difficult as they grow up – requiring privacy and their own personal space.
There might be some properties that offer a lot of what you want for right now but are maybe not big enough long term. Be careful not to rule these out though if they are under budget and have the potential to extend in the future as it could be the perfect compromise for a home that can grow with you.
Type of property
This one can differ depending on where you are looking to buy but will be largely determined by the type of area you want to live and the style of home you prefer. Some people want a slick, modern double fronted house, some a cosy cottage or a large countryside home with land and picturesque views. Others might be drawn to period features such as quirky fireplaces, sash windows and wooden beams or in contrast a high rise in a bustling city.
Remember to take into account the costs involved with the type of property you want and things like house insurance and upkeep. For example grade 2 listed building, those with a thatched roof or properties in need of renovations can cost a lot of money and this will need to be carefully thought out before you go ahead with any purchase.
Of course it’s all very well listing everything you want from your forever home but this all needs to fit realistically into the limits of your budget. Don’t be tempted to spend more than you can afford just because this is somewhere you intend to stay for a very long time. You need to factor in not only stamp duty, estate agent fees, moving costs and monthly mortgage payments but any renovations that need doing, furniture, decorating and building work as well as the monthly bills for utilities.
Also think ahead as to what the next few years will likely involve for your family. Is one of you likely to be on maternity leave at some stage and therefore on a reduced wage? Do you have upcoming additional expenses that you need to save for or set aside funds such as university fees for older children?
Whatever amount you are planning to spend just make sure you are comfortable with that amount and that it doesn’t stretch you too far.
Picture yourself there
Identify exactly what is important to you. Be proactive and realistic by narrowing down your list of things your forever home must have, things that would be nice to have and things you absolutely do not want.
When looking for or viewing properties can you see yourself living there? Does the location and layout suit your lifestyle? Most homes will certainly not be decorated to your taste so try to have some imagination – could you put your stamp on it and make it your own?
If your mind begins to picture where the furniture will go, what colours you’d paint the walls and what you’d do with the kitchen then that’s a good sign you are thinking of how this house would work for you and maybe, just maybe you’ve found the one!