How to Work Out a Budget – Buy What You Can Afford

Buying a property is one of the biggest purchases we make in our lives, so it is important to ensure we set a realistic budget to buy with.  We all have dream homes, with lots of bedrooms, a huge garden and large, modern kitchen, but unfortunately these all come at a price.  Here are our tips for creating a budget to suit you.

We recommend using an online budget calculator to do the hard maths for you.  Generally, you just tell it how much you earn (combined with a partner if that is what you want), roughly what you spend each month on your regular outgoings (such as electricity, council tax, groceries etc) and the calculator will tell you roughly what you could expect to be able to afford.

Once you have a ballpark figure, it’s time to check up mortgage prices.  Using the estimated cost of the property, you can find other calculators online which will tell you how much you can expect to pay on different types of mortgage.  We always recommend choosing a mortgage which pays off each month, rather than an interest only!


How to View a Prospective Home – Through Clearer Eyes

Going to view a potential new home should be a really fun and exciting opporunity to imagine yourself in a new house.  Yet it is often difficult to visualise what it would be like to live in this house.  Here are our ideas for making this an easier task.

  1. Take someone not involved in the house with you: by takinga neutral friend or family member, you will get an unbiased, unskewed viewpoint about the pros and cons of the property.  When we have our heart on something, we often overlook any negatives as a way to make ourselves more convinced to go for it…you don’t want to miss any dodgy building work for instance!
  2. Take some photos when you go (if you can).  The photos on estate agents posters and online are often taken at certain angles to make the house appear bigger or lighter.  By taking your own photos, you’ll be able to look back at them once you are back at home and remember what it was like.  Also, it gives a better view of how the property appears “in real life” rather than through an edited version…
  3. Ignore any decor and furnishing you aren’t keen on.  Do not be put off by some hideous paintwork or questionable furnishing choices when you look at a property.  These are very easy to fix once you move in, and you’ll have your own furniture to put in!  Try to visualise the rooms as blank canvasses and remember, the current owner will take their unusual tastes with them!

Hopefully you will go armed with these tips to the next home you view, and see it in a whole new light!


Tackling Compromise – How to Decide What You Really Need

When buying a property with a partner, or perhaps your family, it is highly likely that you’ll each have different ideas of what the ‘perfect home’ is made up of.  You might dream of a country cottage with old beams and a cute little garden; your other half might be dreaming of a swish apartment in a high-rise block in the city!  Without having some frank discussions and some lists of wants/needs, it is easy to get wrapped up in arguments and disputes about what you want.

Our advice is to all create a list of at least 5 things you really want (ideal world things).  Next, write a similar list of things you need (practical items like utility rooms or ensuite bathrooms).  Next, write a list of things you would absolutely HATE.  Compare the lists and see if you have any similar or same items.  These are the things to focus on!

This way, by combining your loves and hates, families will have a much clearer idea of the things they really want to avoid, and the things they want to find in their next home.  House buying, without the stress!


Places to Search for Your Dream Home (Which You Might Not Expect!)

So you are searching high and low for the perfect property.  We bet you’ve scoured estate agent windows and possibly a few websites to find it?  Well, stop right there, there are other places to look!  Here are our ideas to help broaden your horisons.

  1. Go directly to the place you want to live.  It might involve taking a short holiday (bonus!) but visiting the place you want to move to is always a good idea.  That way, you can really look in all the places you want to be and find out quicker if there are any homes on the market.  By talking to local people, you’ll be surprised what you can find out before the masses!
  2. Social media – put the word out that you are looking for a new place, give a few things you want (eg number of bedrooms) and again, be surprised at how many people know someone who is also planning to move…voila, perfect sales scenario.
  3. Online is a great place to get ideas, but don’t completely discount going to an actual estate agent too – they often know of properties which are soon to go on the market but aren’t there yet – you could get some quick advice and preview of new homes on the list!