A home is where memories will be made, lives will be lived, and years will pass. It should be exactly what you want it to be.
This guide shows you how to find the property of your dreams, and how to figure out how ambitious your dream can be.
The first step?
Know what you're looking for
Before you begin house hunting, outline your deal-breakers: the things which absolutely must be present in your dream home.
This can be small things like a dishwasher or dryer, right up to more discerning design features like a balcony, a breakfast bar, or a knocked through front room.
Whatever they are, build up a realistic vision of what your dream home will look like, and don't view any houses that don't tick these boxes.
This reduces the risk of burnout, and keeps you focussed on your dream home rather than a compromise.
Similarly, think about things that are definite no-nos; and then things that are turn-offs but which can be rectified. Think of it as a series of trade-offs: are you willing to put time and effort to fixing problems if a property has certain things you find important?
It's important to not let perfect be the enemy of good. Everyone's real dream home is probably a twenty bedroom mansion with a pool, on its own private island. But a dream within a realistic set of desires and affordable budget is much more likely to come true.
If it's your dream property, other people are probably interested too. Get to know the estate agent, and communicate your dream to them. It's in their interest to match you with your dream property, and they'll be better equipped to do this if they know what you want.
If a property comes along that fits the bill, let the estate agent know you are very interested.
Then try to gleam as much information as possible from them about the seller.
Try to find out why the property is for sale, how much the seller is likely to accept, and whether there are any things that would sweeten the deal. This homework can boost your chances of having an offer accepted.
Remember the outside
Your dream home needs to be in an area you're comfortable living in, otherwise the dream can become a nightmare. Keep in mind the more mundane things when looking:
- What is the area like? Do you feel safe walking around by yourself? Would you be happy for your kids to walk themselves to school?
- Are the crime statistics frightening?
- What are the noise levels like?
- What's the traffic like during rush hour?
Although a home offers a refuge from the outside world, you can't switch it off completely.
Cross your fingers
If you find the property of your dreams, you still have to go through the process of buying it. There are costs to consider, and there is always the risk of being gazumped.
Read up on these things: being as well prepared as possible will help to make sure it's you who moves into your dream, rather than someone else.