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Buying a House: House Hunting

You've spoken to your mortgage adviser and found out what you could borrow roughly, now it's time to take the plunge and start house hunting, but where do you begin. There are a lot of places to look and there are thousands of houses on the market, where you begin is a real struggle.
(Image from Google)

First things first, you need to decide where you want to live, this narrows the search down massively. It also allows you to see all areas in that particular area that you would love to live in. Knowing what your after will help narrow your search down further such as whether you want a house or flat, off road parking, large garden and specifics like that.

Now it's time for the hunt. Head online to places like Right Move and Zoopla or head to the areas local estate agents to have a look at the properties on the market. The online sites are great at narrowing down the search as you can select the musts for your property. For me and Bruce with used online sites as we don't live in the area and it makes life a whole lot easier. Having a collection of properties on your phone with tones of photos is great, perfect for our busy lifestyles. Plus, you can just email the estate agents for the booking a viewing.

For me and Bruce, we looked for several months before we met with our mortgage adviser, so once we knew who much we knew what to look for. We found a few houses which we really liked and decided to email in to book viewings. Generally, the estate agents will contact you back with availability to view the property, except Purple Bricks, they send you a provisional booking with a chance that it can be cancelled. I know this as it happened to us with one of the properties which we were going to view. I must make this clear now though and it took me by surprise, estate agents aren't open Sundays and some are only open mornings of Saturdays. It seems mind boggling as usually people have Saturday and Sunday off, for me and Bruce the guaranteed day we have off is a Sunday. But, this is not to say you cannot look at a property on a Sunday, as sometimes the current home owner can take you round. Personally, it is a little awkward when the home owner takes you round as they don't know all the jargon estate agents know. Also the home owner may allow you to walk around on your own, which doesn't help when you want to ask a few questions.

(Image from Google)

Your booked in and ready to go, next step is the viewing. You can find a list of questions to ask while viewing the property online and they are great as prompts to ask if they are not answered. But, there are a few things to keep an eye out of when viewing a property;

  • Check windows/window seals. These show heavy areas of mold and damp if the area is not well ventilated. It can also show issues with condensation or misting of glass if the double glazing has failed. 
  • Check wall edges (top and bottom). This again can show damp/mold areas, especially in corners. 
  • Check radiators. Funny check but actually it is very important to know the heating for the property. I have seen some with no radiators which from stories from friends is the worst in winter. 
  • Check the number of plug sockets. This brief check lets you know whether you need to create some more plug sockets or not. In an age of technology you will need as many plugs as possible.
  • Check for an extractor fan in the bathrooms. This is a must and you need to way up whether you can install one if there isn't one. Without an extractor fan the moisture from baths/showers will just build up in the room and can go on and produce the best environment for mold. 
  • Check the bottom edges of fitted kitchens. Weird but actually can give you a great idea on the age of the fitted kitchen. I would also ask when the kitchen was fitted as if the bottom edges are starting to rot out and the kitchen isn't that old it could indicate a damp problem. 
  • Check for air bricks. These funny looking bricks are situated top and bottom of the outside of the house and have a major job to do. These bricks are designed to allow are flow through the house where timbers are situated. They are a must with timber as the timbers can become damp and start to rot without them. This can cause mold as well as serious structural issues. 
  • Check what face is your garden. This is an optional check but a must if it states south facing garden. Phones now have there own compass and it takes two seconds to check if a south facing garden is what you really want. 
(Image from Google)

When viewing a property, take your time and ask questions. This helps give you more of an insight into the property and helps making a decision better. As study found that the more time you spend at a property the more likely you are to purchase it. When you view a property you know what you want and don't and the outside doesn't always show what is inside. For us, we view properties which were great online but inside were too small or had evidence of mold. 

Once you've view the property, I would have a look around. If you drive you could park slightly out the way to give you a chance to view the area as a whole. I would then sit down and right pros and cons about the property. I would say to do this just after you have left while everything is fresh in your mind. This pros and cons list really help narrow a property down and if you are joint sharing you can both share your views on the property. You'll find chatting about the pros and cons highlight things that you or the other didn't notice or think about.

(Image from Google)

After looking at a few varied properties (never look at just one and go for that as you'll miss something better) look back at your lists, especially if there is a property that you cannot stop thinking about. This could be a few days after you see the property. For us we asked each other could we see ourselves living there and we were agreed but not strongly. This is where a bit more searching beings, looking at crime rates, local amenities and potential in the property. This added an extra day to our discussions but was well worth it as it made up our minds on the property. 

You've made the decision it is time to put in an offer. This is another post to itself so I'll stop it here.

Happy house hunting!

Stay Gorgeous

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