PUBLISHED: 12:14 21 July 2015 | UPDATED: 12:45 21 July 2015
Finding the right home is like finding the right partner - the fundamentals and future plans need to be compatible, says Matthew Craker of Fine and Country Brookmans Park
We should all be thankful for the love in our lives, but there are many still hoping to find a soul mate. Just like the search for ‘the one’ to complete a life, finding the right property is full of challenges. House hunters go through ups and downs - you think you’ve found the right one only to be devastated when you find you’re not suited after all. And you’ll probably go on a few bad dates along the way. There are a number of things to consider to minimise the risk of being heartbroken by the property market.
One of the biggest considerations is how a property fits our lifestyles. Think about the things you are willing to compromise on and what your deal-breakers are. Is the property the right size for you? There’s no point having a large country estate if you can’t take care of it. A property may work for you now, but will also work long-term? Will you still be enamoured with a home a year or five years from now? If you are planning a family or even considering a pet these must be taken into account. If you don’t buy a home that is future-proofed, you’ll end up having to move more frequently.
Superficial or fundamental?
Make sure you distinguish between what is superficial from what is fundamental. There are things that can be changed, like the colour scheme and fittings, and there are things that can’t, like the narrow corridor leading to the bathroom. Look for ways of developing the property over time and this will aid its longevity.
It’s important the property fits you and also your family as you grow together. Look for expansion opportunities in the property – perhaps a loft or a sunroom. Is there a play space for your children now?
Look beyond the bricks and mortar as well. Are you a fitness enthusiast who needs access to a gym? Check the local amenities. What about a train station, access to motorways and airports? Work out the average commute to your workplace. Find out about schools in the area and whether there recreational activities nearby for children of all ages? Will teenagers be able to have a degree of independence? It’s not just you that has to like your home.
What about digital access? Have a look at your mobile phone and make sure there’s a signal in the house, and check the broadband speed - you don’t want to live in a communication blackout, especially if you are working from home. All of your key lifestyle considerations, from small to large, are as important in finding a match as the property itself. Making a list of your priorities in order is a good way of knowing where compromises can be made.
As with any relationship, don’t leap in too fast. You may think it’s love, but have you met the neighbourhood? A perfect property needs to have the right attributes and the right surroundings, so make sure you research the area thoroughly – not just the house. Visit during daylight hours and after dark to see how safe it feels, go shopping at the local stores, meet the locals and do some online research. If everything checks out, you’ll have a sure footing to start what could be a love of a lifetime.