The start of the year is one of the busiest times for us as estate agents, as people start to make plans for their next move.
We may currently be in lockdown, but selling property and moving home is still able to take place and so there is still lots happening on the housing market, especially around the St Albans and Hertfordshire area.
Even though house moves can still go ahead, people are a little bit more reticent about having large amounts of prospective buyers/tenants traipsing through their homes, and if you are looking for a home, you may want to cut down the number of properties that you visit in your search also.
So, if you are looking for a new home, why not get laser focused about what you are looking for in your next move, and spend time doing your research online before you get started.
Here are a few tips for house hunting which will help you to hone down your searches down before you even step through the door of any properties.
1. Location, location, location.
Location is key for many, especially in this area. It might be that you need to be within walking distance or easy travel distance of a station, or motorway. Perhaps your key consideration is to be within the catchment for certain schools, or you want to be able to get to friends, family or a central place of work easily.
If you know that having open fields nearby warms your soul, and you love the feel of village life, then somewhere in the countryside may be more suited to your way of living, such as the myriad of small villages on the outskirts of the major Hertfordshire towns.
Using tools such as Google Earth can also give you a good idea of the area, as can taking a drive around if able, or visiting the area during the day and in the evening, although we appreciate that things may look a little different at the moment!
2. Consider the layout of your perfect property
When you start your search, it is important to be clear about what kind of feel and layout you are looking for in a home. It also helps to know whether you would be happy to create the layout you want, or whether you want to move straight into something which already works for your needs.
Think about your lifestyle, and what suits it. So, for example, do you prefer Open Plan living where all of the rooms merge seamlessly around the house, or do you have small children or pets which would make Open Plan living a nightmare, and so separate rooms with doorways for containment would be more important?
Would you prefer a cottage with lots of stairs, a newer build home, one on three floors, or all on one level? Do you want an apartment? A property with a lot of garden space, a front garden, or a property which opens straight onto the road? Are you looking for a family friendly estate, something city centric or something mor eon the outskirts?
Also think about how you like to live. Do you live a more outdoorsy lifestyle? If so, then something like a utility room or somewhere where you can access the property through the back or through the garage rather than having to traipse muddy feet all through the front, might be a must.
If owning a car or more than one is a necessity for you, then it might be that you need a garage, or somewhere on your property to park it, so homes in roads where only on-street parking is available may not work for you.
Most Estate agents, including ourselves, are offering virtual walk-throughs nowadays, which makes it a lot easier to get a good idea of the space before actually setting foot in the property.
Once you’ve worked out the rough location and type of property you are interested in looking for, of course a consideration will be your budget and whether you budget matches the kind of property you are looking for. If not, then you may decide to look at different kinds of properties if location is key, or at more budget-friendly areas if the property is going to be make-or-break for you.
4. Vision Board your next move!
Okay bear with us here but mind mapping or vision boarding your next move can be a great way to work out what you really want.
Sit down and focus on what’s really important to you in a home, what are your non negotiables during your search, vs compromises that you are prepared to make and add them to your vision board.
If you have other family members, especially kids, then this can really be a really fun way to spend time getting them involved. You might be surprised what is important to them versus what isn’t, and also with you. Vision boarding can really help you to get clarity on what is most important to you for your next move.
Once you’ve whittled your searches down to only the properties which really match your criteria, and you’ve done your research online, looked at floor plans, done the video walk throughs, looked at the picture, made sure it fits with location, property type and budget, then we would suggest a walk through to see whether this property could be your new home.
Hopefully having done all of your homework online, this makes things easier and less time consuming than visiting multiple properties during your search and it will also make it safer for you, not having to view as many homes, or make any more essential journeys than you need to.
Of course, if you are planning your next move then don’t forget that we can always assist and we are very happy to help, so why not give us a call on (01727) 221290 for an initial chat.