Tips for taking the hassle out of househunting
Published Thu, Oct 18, 2012 Updated Tue, Feb 16, 2021
Anyone who has ever been through a major move knows that, whether you’re purchasing a first home or moving into a larger one, searching for a house can be time-consuming and difficult. From finding properties to arranging visits to sorting out finance and conducting inspections, it seems like there’s no end to the tasks, both large and small, that come between a family and their new home. Fortunately, there are a few things that any prospective homeowner can do to cut down on these frustrations
Understanding buyer needs
Nothing wastes more time during house-hunting than looking at properties that are not suitable for the potential buyer’s needs. The key to avoiding this is to have a clear statement of needs at the start of the search. Not only will this help narrow the potential pool of homes, but it can help protect buyers from the hard sell of estate agents, who may be more interested in finding a buyer or tenant for a property than meeting the client’s exact needs. House hunters should consider the size of property they want, as well as factors like location, cost and other special considerations such as handicapped accessibility.
Using multiple tools
House hunting is, above all, about information, and today’s methods offer the prospective buyer or tenant more ways to acquire that information than ever before. Sticking to a single method of searching unnecessarily limits the possibilities. Traditionally, families would work with a single estate agent, relying on the agency’s expertise to provide information about suitable properties. There is a great deal to be said for this method – it certainly simplifies the process, for one, but with the amount of information available in today’s market is it becoming too limited? In addition to an estate agent, comparative information about home prices or features can be obtained from local or national websites such as RightMove or Zoopla. House hunters should always use these sites in conjunction with the list of needs they’ve already created – it doesn’t pay to get distracted by a tempting property that won’t actually fit the bill.
Government services such as the Land Registry can also provide valuable information. The Land Registry tracks sale prices of homes, meaning that potential buyers can get an idea of home prices in their chosen area and see whether a particular property’s value has appreciated or decreased. Even simple tools such as Google search and street view can provide you with useful information on the area of a property that can help a potential buyer.
The most important thing for prospective home buyers to remember is simply to keep relaxed and take your time. Choosing a new home is a big decision, but stress and anxiety will only make the process more difficult. Although it can be stressful, house hunting can also be a lot of fun; house hunters should try to maintain a sense of balance about the process and remember that at the end of the process you will have a new home to live in.