Fri 08 Nov 2019
Moving home can often be a long and stressful process. Renters can often take weeks to find a new property, while for buyers the process is usually even longer. Studies show that it can take up to 3-4 months, with most buyers viewing a total of 8 houses on average before finding the house that’s right for them.
However, with Christmas approaching, and with a short break in the Brexit narrative while the country prepares for a general election, now is an excellent time to move and as a result many of the buyers and tenants we have registered would like to sort out their new home much faster than this.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a few simple tips to help streamline your search so that it is as quick and stress-free as possible.
Figure out your finances
Before you even begin looking at properties online, you absolutely must figure out the exact budget you are working with. This should cover more than just the cost of the price of the property, as there are other costs associated with moving. If you’re renting you’re likely to need funds for a deposit, unless you take advantage of Thorgills' Nil Deposit option, which is designed to help reduce your moving costs. Buyers meanwhile will need to consider the costs of surveys, solicitors and stamp duty, among other things.
If you’re buying, you may also need to consider looking at mortgages. It’s never too early in the process to start doing this, as once you’ve determined your maximum budget you can greatly refine your search, and this will also put you in a stronger position further down the line when it comes to negotiating.
Separate your wants from your needs
Once you’ve worked out your budget – and your mortgage if you need one – you can start to hunt for your new home.
You probably already have an idea in your head of what your dream home looks like - what features it has and the area its located in. Unfortunately, this dream home doesn’t always exist, and if it does it may be very expensive, so you should decide early on which features you’re prepared to compromise over.
Separating your wants from your needs allows you to begin your search with a lot more focus, as you’ll be able to immediately identify properties which are suitable – and discount the ones which aren’t – saving you time in your search.
Take advantage of all the information available to you
In the past, it was not easy to find much information about the property market for yourself. Information such as a property’s previous sold price, average prices and general trends in the area are now available on plenty of websites, which allows you to do a bit of extra research so that you can make educated decisions throughout the process of moving.
You can also delve deeper than just price information. For example, you can find out if a home you have your eye on has a surprisingly high flood risk. Not only will this research potentially protect you in the long term, it also helps you to remove unsuitable properties from your shortlist.
Getting in touch with your agent will provide you with even more information. A good local agent will have in-depth knowledge of the area they work in, so they’ll be able to tell you about the best schools, closest transport connections and nicest neighbourhoods, helping to focus your search even further. This is especially useful if you’re moving to an area you’re unfamiliar with.
When you start going on viewings, you should continue to gather as much information as possible. After a few appointments, you may find that the properties you’ve seen start to blur together in your memory, so take notes – and photos if you are allowed – and ask lots of questions. The more information you collect, the better your recollection of each property will be and you may save some time as you won’t have to revisit anywhere to refresh your memory.
If you followed our second tip, you’ll already know which features you can’t live without, and hopefully the properties you have visited and made notes on will all have these. Now, you should make a list of features you absolutely don’t want, and compare this to your notes – this should help to narrow down your shortlist fairly quickly.
Of course, this should take into account the length of your shortlist. If you’re only considering three or four properties, then you’ll need to be a bit more lenient but if you have a lot of options you should identify any potential deal breakers and remove them quickly, or you may spend months going from viewing to viewing.
Be ready to move
Following the previous four steps will have put you in an excellent position to identify the right property, as you’ll know your budget, your requirements and plenty of information about the property and its location.
Once you have found the right property, it’s imperative that you make your offer as quickly as possible. So many buyers and tenants have their searches extended because they delayed for too long before making an offer, even after they had seen a property they liked.
If you like a property, there’s a good chance that someone else does too – so you’ll need to move quickly to ensure you get it first! This is especially true if you have been looking for a long time without seeing anything else suitable, as you may not find another property which suits your specific requirements.
Overall, the key to a successful property search is to make sure you’ve got your finances in order and have as much information as possible to make an educated decision when you see ‘that’ property and your heart takes over. Being able to determine exactly what you want early can be a massive help, as can combining the online information with the knowledge of your local agent. Then, you’ll be in the right position to make your offer when you do see the perfect property, and your search will come to a successful conclusion, and will have been a lot easier than you expected.