• Sarah

What You Should Consider When Looking For a New Home

House-hunting can be equal parts exciting and stressful, and it all starts with finding the perfect new home for you (and your family).

Usually this means writing up a list of all the things your new home will need, or the things that you would like it to have, so you can narrow down the most suitable homes for viewings and make your pick.

But what are the things that you should have on this list when searching for a home, and what might you need to consider before you make your final choice?

Confirm an appropriate budget

The best place to start is with the finances.

You will need to know exactly what you can afford based on your salary, mortgage repayments and the amount you have saved for a deposit (along with how much % deposit you will be required to put down).

Once you have established a clear budget, you should decide how much of that will go towards the purchase of the house and how much you are willing to invest into home improvements.

Real estate agents advise that you set aside 1% of the value of the home towards renovations works. For example, if you’re buying a house for £200,000 then you should be willing to spend at least £2,000 on home improvements which would cover the cost of minor changes like fitting new floors in a couple of rooms or repainting the whole house.

You also need to keep in mind the additional costs that come with buying a home such as solicitor fees, stamp duty, surveyor fees, mortgage fees and valuation fees, all of which can cost you upwards of £4,000, and that is not even factoring in the costs of the move.

Pick a suitable location

The location is also key and most people will have a clear idea as to where they do and do not want to live based on certain lifestyle choices and accessibility to work/family/schools etc.

The factors that you deem important when it comes to selecting a location can include:

  • Budget: You may be limited to buying in certain areas based on what you can afford

  • Transport links: If you do not or can not drive to certain places, such as work, you may require your home to be within walking distance of a train station

  • Local schools: If you have children that are already in school then you may decide to stay within a certain vicinity of that school, or if you have young children or would like to start a family then living close to a good school will be important

  • Crime rate: You should always look into the crime rate of any area that you might move into

  • Local amenities: This can vary based on your lifestyle. For example, if you have a dog then being close to a good park might be essential, or if you attend a particular church, you may want to remain close to it

  • Access to work and family: If a short and easy journey to work via car is important then you should stick close by. Similarly, if you spend a lot of time with family, or rely on them for childcare then you will want to live somewhere that allows for continued easy access

Think about the curb appeal

Before you even step foot into any house, the first thing we all notice is the feel and appearance of the neighbourhood and the outside of the house itself, and the site that it sits on. This is known as the curb appeal, i.e. how attractive the house is from the curb.

Almost every area in the UK can vary when it comes to the types of neighbourhoods that are situated there so you will need to keep this in mind when viewing any house. You can get a fair idea of the neighbourhood by simply taking a walk, or drive, around the area.

What do the other houses on that street look like? Do the neighbours take care of their front gardens? Are the pavements fairly clean and litter free?

Then, there is the house itself and the site that it sits on. Does it sit on a hill or require you to climb a lot of steps to reach the front door? Is it on a main road? Does it feel safe or secluded?

Is the roof in good condition? Can your neighbours or passers-by see into your home?

Write yourself a list of questions, similar to the above, that outlines all the things that matter to you and your lifestyle and refer to these at every house viewing, making a note of your answers and reviewing them afterwards to help you decide whether each house is the right fit for you.

List the required features

Of course, the home and its features are important and there is a lot that you will need to take into consideration when deciding on the type of house that you want, or need.

Start with the size of the house - how many bedrooms do you need? Would you prefer a detached over a terraced house? - and then think about the requirements that are absolutely essential for your quality of life.

This could mean that the house needs a driveway because you own a car or two, or a large garden because you have a pet or young children.

Once you have established the basic things that your home needs, such as the above, you might then have some preferences that are desirable but not essential.

For example, you might like a home with an en-suite bathroom in the master bedroom, a kitchen with an island, or a downstairs toilet - but these are not an absolute must.

To help clearly understand what is and is not non-negotiable, you should list all of the features of your dream home and then highlight the ones that are a necessity, such as the number of bedrooms, outdoor space and other required features.

You will need to compromise

With all that being said, it is highly unlikely that you will find a home that ticks all of the boxes so you will have to be open to compromising on one or two things.

In order to figure out what that will be, start by establishing what areas you are not willing, or able, to compromise on. This might be certain aspects of the location, such as being within close proximity to a good school and public transport links, or certain features of the house such as having a room that can be converted into a home office or being semi-detached.

However, you may be more lenient when it comes to having a decent sized garden if you can find a home near a park, or you might not be too concerned about having a driveway if there is ample parking on the street.

Where there is some flexibility, it makes finding a home much easier.

Where we come in

You've found your new home, put in an offer (which has been accepted) and are ready to get started with the whole moving process.

One thing that you might find you need to help everything run a lot more smoothly, is a self-storage unit - this is where we come in.

We can provide you with a safe and secure storage container to house your belongings whilst you undergo the moving process.

This means that you can pack up your things and put them in storage whilst you prepare your new home and take your time moving in and unpacking so that you don't have to live amongst cardboard boxes for weeks.

You can learn more about our Moving House Storage Service here