Where and what to buy?
Your ideal home - country mansion or city apartment?
For many of us, our ideal home is the one that's just beyond our reach. We can always dream, but most of the time home buying decisions are driven by what we need and what we can afford, so spend time researching where you want to live and what sort of property you want to buy.
Some people might say that location is everything, but property type is important as well. Think about the features that are essential to you: the number of bedrooms, off-street parking, access to work and transport links, and closeness to local amenities like shops and schools. And keep a separate list of features that are desirable, such as a garage or garden. When you see a house, give it a score based on your lists.
Decide whether this is your ‘forever’ home or whether you’ll live there for just a few years before trading up or down. If you’ll be staying put for a while, ask yourself whether it would still be suitable if things changed, for example if you have a baby and need room for a nursery.
Even if you don’t plan on moving in a hurry, it might still be worthwhile considering how easy it will be for you to sell your new home. For example, are there enough bathrooms for the number of bedrooms?
Remember, larger, older houses cost more to heat and might mean higher Council Tax. Newer houses are generally cheaper to maintain for the first few years.
Finally, speak to as many local estate agents as possible and ask them to send you details of properties on a regular basis. You can also search yourself, using local newspapers and the internet.