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Finding the right home is essential for good mental health and wellbeing. Our homes should be spaces where we feel calm, safe and happy. If you’re on the hunt for a new nest, it’s crucial to make sure that you’re 100% sure that you have made the right decision. Here is an essential checklist to help you narrow down your options.
Set a budget
The first step to take when looking for a new place to call home is to set a budget. Work out how much you can afford to spend and analyse your finances carefully to establish a maximum offer price. It’s wise to research mortgages and get some quotes so that you have an accurate idea of how much you can afford to borrow and how much it will cost you. The more you can put down as a deposit, the better. This will save you money on your monthly repayments and provide access to preferential rates. Once you have a budget, filter results online and let estate agents know your preferred price range.
Consider your needs
There are all kinds of properties out there, but not all of them are suitable for every buyer. From bijou city centre flats and suburban family homes to ERL retirement villages and rural boltholes, it’s important to focus on finding a property that caters to your needs. Consider your stage of life, who is going to be living in the house or apartment, your lifestyle and the location before you make a decision. It’s beneficial to be open-minded with regard to property types and aesthetics, but it’s also helpful to have a list of priorities and deal-breakers. If you want to be close to the action and you love the buzz of city life, for example, you don’t want to be looking at houses in the sticks because you like the look of the exterior or the price.
Location is one of the most important considerations for the majority of buyers. When you’re searching for a new home, it can be helpful to zone in a specific area or to have a preferred point to work from. If you have a town, village or even a street in mind, filter search results and consider expanding the borders slightly if you’re struggling to find a property within your budget or there are limited options available. Exploring new areas could open doors. When thinking about location, it’s beneficial to consider your commute if you drive or use public transport to get to work, to research schools if you have children and to look at transport links and proximity to amenities or facilities. It’s also advantageous to think about how the location will fit in with your lifestyle. If you like to spend time in the great outdoors, for example, you may want to move closer to the coast, national parks or green spaces.
Browsing listings online and looking at brochures will give you a good idea of what’s on the market, but you can’t really get a feel for a property or learn about an area without arranging viewings and having a look around. Use viewings to inspect properties and see how you react to them emotionally, and drive around the local area. Try to avoid writing properties off solely because of cosmetics. You can always change wallpaper or wall colours, and you may be surprised by your reaction to rough diamonds. Look for properties that have potential and go into viewings with an open mind. If you find houses that you love, resist the temptation to put an offer in straight away unless there is a lot of interest and you need to move rapidly. If time is on your side, book a second viewing and then make a decision.
There is often room for negotiation when it comes to buying houses and flats. Unless you find yourself in a situation where there are already offers on the table, consider putting an offer in below the asking price. You can always increase the offer if it gets rejected. If you are not involved in a chain, you can move quickly or you are a cash buyer, you may be able to negotiate a better offer.
Finding the right home is not always easy. Most of us long to have a home that makes us feel happy and relaxed. If you’ve decided to move, take these tips on board to narrow down the options and make the process less stressful. Set a budget, avoid stretching yourself too far financially, focus on properties that cater to your needs and think about your lifestyle and the location. Arrange viewings, try to be open-minded and be prepared to negotiate.