Property search: what to look for in your dream home.
Reality can be a cruel mistress when you're house-hunting but, if you've got a clear idea about what you want, you're half way there. Here's what you need to consider to nail it down.
Thinking of a house move in 2022? Jump on the bandwagon. With more and more people seeking a big lifestyle change in the wake of the C-word, it’s a seller’s market and prices are on the rise again (on average, 10% higher than this time last year), so make sure you know what you want and what to look for so you can be waiting in the wings when your dream home comes on the market.
As certified property junkies (nosy parkers), we’ve got Northamptonshire’s top property pro Rachel Johnston of Stacks Property Search on speed dial, so we called up for her insider tips on finding and pinning down The One. Here, she gives us the lowdown on house-hunting wish list essentials and not so essentials:
Which direction should you face? You might think a south-facing garden is the holy grail, but orientation matters less the bigger the house, or if it is set in the middle of a large plot. If you’re after a period property it’s worth considering that older houses are often oriented to protect against the elements, so don’t assume knocking in a big bifold door is always the way forward.
A NICE VIEW
Do you mean a view or vista? I’d consider a view what you’re looking at, and a vista what you’re looking across – you can likely control your view – eg add or remove planting, garden buildings, etc. – but a long view is usually out of your control. Many clients want an edge of village property but it’s naïve to trust that it won’t change over the lifetime of your ownership so take this into account.
Inner village houses may often be in close proximity, but they’re more likely to have a consistent view. Being overlooked on a newer estate could be more of a concern than whether a property is fully detached.
A GOOD COMMUNITY
This means different things to different people, so think about what it means to you. Are you looking for a well-heeled enclave that’s desirable according to estate agents, or do you want somewhere lots of clubs and social activities to join? There’s no wrong answer here, but be honest with yourself about it.
THE WORK COMMUTE
Whether you’re cycling up the road, working from your spare room or traveling to London every day, some self-analysis is invaluable here and it’s essential to be realistic. If you’re heading to the big smoke, think about whether you prefer a long train journey to get work done, an easy carpark at the station or frequent options at home time so you’re not rushing to get off a conference call in the office in order to catch the only fast train, then you can narrow down your options in terms of location.
Some thing you just can’t change. Schools really influence the property market whether you have school age children or not. You might get a bargain or maximise your property value by knowing the catchment areas or private school bus routes.
Stock availability, or lack thereof, is also a huge issue in the current market. If you’re failing to find anything after a year of proper looking, then you’re probably being unrealistic either in terms of budget or what the area offers.
Ultimately, the key is to know what is and isn’t important to you and where you’re willing to be flexible. When clients decide on a property, they switch to convincing me that all of the variations from our original wish list are actually positive benefits – that’s when I know I’ve got a good match.
Thinking of moving or struggling with your search? Get in touch with Rachel at email@example.com or call her on 07502 406688.
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