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Quick guide to finding a home


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Before you even start property hunting – whether you buying or renting – work out what you can afford:-
  • Mortgage or rental payments 
  • Utility bills 
  • Council tax
  • Internet/telephone/mobile bills
  • Any service or other charges 
  • Personal expenditure such as food/clothes/holidays.
Budget for moving costs. If buying a deposit and possibly stamp duty, if renting a deposit and any fees from letting agents or landlords.
Take this information to a mortgage lender if buying or check with a local NALs letting agents what costs you will have to pay to confirm what you can afford.
  Think about the type of property you want to live in. A flat can be great, but can also be noisy and work is only done on the property when the freehold wants or has to.
  Work out what space you need and how many rooms that might be. When renting people tend to go for what they need only, so no spare rooms. Use this for buying too as your ‘minimum’ spec, it will increase the number of properties and areas you can live.
  Start to search on-line to secure an understanding of which locations have the highest prices and why, what have the lowest prices and why.
  Compare prices/rents for different property types in different roads in areas you have chosen to search as they can vary dramatically so it’s worthwhile knowing what you pay extra for.
Don’t just search on-line, sometimes the pictures just aren’t very good, so it’s essential to ‘walk the streets’ or do ‘drive bys’ to get to know areas and roads better.
Visit 5-10 properties to make sure your search criteria is what you really want.
Feedback to agents as to why you didn’t like a property so they can better understand what you want.
Make sure you always turn up to viewings – many agents won’t contact you in the future if you keep letting them down.
Try to look past the décor on a property if you are buying and if renting make sure you are clear about what you want left in the property and what you’d like taken out before you move in.
Remember your perfect property is unlikely to exist whatever your budget, so work out what you are happy to compromise and what you don’t want to compromise on and be clear about this during your search.


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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