Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Minimising mistakes is crucial to saving on unnecessary and avoidable costs. But what do you look for when buying a house? What are the best property search tips that will help you make the best possible decisions?
We’ve put together a list of property search tips we think you need to consider from performing property searches to viewing properties. Before you apply for a mortgage you need a battle plan to find the right property for you.
We’ve broken these tips down into where to start, what to research on and what to look for when viewing a property.
Where to start with a property search
The first area of our home search tips, where do you even start to look for properties?
Start with the fundamentals:
- Where do you want to live? Do you want to be in an urban area or the country? How far away are you willing to commute? What transport links do you need? Are there any green spaces nearby?
- What kind of property do you want? How many bedrooms? Do you want a large garden?
- What are your financial limits? How much can you afford?
Once you know your fundamentals you can start looking:
- Hire a property search agent to search on your behalf. However, these come with fees attached.
- Talk to estate agents and register with them so you’ll get updates when a property matching your criteria becomes available.
- Use online property search tools. Wondering which is the best property search website? Use sites such as Rightmove, Zoopla and On the Market.
Home search tips: Doing your own research
Never underestimate the value of doing your research and gaining information on an area of interest.
Key tips for doing your own research when you have an area or property in mind would be to:
- Look at how much other properties have sold for. You can search for any property selling prices on sites such as Zoopla and Rightmove.
- Check out the neighbourhood. Take a walk around at different times of the day, visit the parks, the local shops, speak to locals and Police Officers. Even if you can’t physically get there you can take a look at Google Maps. Look at school league tables and recorded crimes.
- Check for flooding risks using the Environmental Agency website. What are the risks in the area that could affect your insurance premium?
What to look for when viewing a property
You’ve found a potential property or properties and you’ve done your research, now you need to decide on the ones you want to view.
So what are you looking for when you view it? Is there anything you should do when you go to visit the property?
- Take pictures when you’re at a viewing, they’re a good reference point for later.
- At the viewing check for:
- Damp spots
- Issues with ceilings that indicate problems with plumbing
- Issues with electrics – flick switches and check power points
- A properly functioning boiler and heating system
- Phone coverage
- The attic for any rotting timbers, cracks or holes
- Outside walls
- Which way the garden faces (south-facing gardens tend to be sunny spots)
- Ask sellers for as much info as you can:
- How many viewings has it had?
- How many offers has it had?
- How long has it been on the market?
- Have there been any issues with neighbours?
- What renovations have been done?
- How old is the boiler and has it been inspected regularly?
- Is there a chain?
- How long has the seller lived there?
- Are there any subsidence issues?
- What’s the council tax band?
- Visit the property at different times of the day. See what the roads are like, are there any noise issues?
- Never be afraid to make a second viewing appointment
What else should you look for when searching for a property
We’ve covered some crucial bits of property searching that shouldn’t be overlooked. So what else can you do to help you find the right property for you?
- Check for properties with price drops
- Thick about how easy it would be to sell on if/when you move
- Check if the property is leasehold or freehold and beware of leasehold service charges. Check out the property management company and get costs spelt out to you.
- Not getting any luck with online searches or with the local estate agents? Take a look at house auctions. But remember auctions don’t always mean bargains.
Don’t forget that even if you do find a property and your offer isn’t accepted there are more options out there. This one was simply not meant to be, the right property could still just be a click away.
So where do we come in at The Online Mortgage Guru?
Your journey with us starts when you start looking for a mortgage to finance the property and home you want to purchase.
We offer specialist guidance and a wide knowledge of the mortgage market. We work with the whole of market experts and work with your best interests, wishes and individual circumstances to find and help secure you a mortgage for the dream home you find.
At The Online Mortgage Guru, though we’re not just looking at securing you your new home, we’re also working with partners Honey to help you with your estate planning needs. Securing your largest financial asset.
Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging, during a person’s life, for the management and disposal of that person’s estate in the event the person becomes incapacitated and after death.
We help you protect what’s important to you with a short questionnaire you’ll be on your way to securing your estate in the future.
So, once you’re ready to start looking at mortgages or even help with what you can afford contact us at Online Mortgage Guru on 0345 3669799 or email us via email@example.com and we will put you in touch with a suitable specialist to handle your enquiry.
Once you’ve secured your new home you can also contact us for help with your estate planning. Links are available to the short survey on the Online Mortgage Guru website or here.