Every year, around 5% of the British population move home – that’s about 300,000 people! But finding your dream home doesn’t have to be hard. With prior planning and a clear vision you can increase your chances of finding your ideal home in your dream location.
Follow our property search secrets on finding your dream home…
Preparing your search
Work out your budget
Establishing how much you can reasonably afford before you set out on your hunt for your dream home is the very first step you should take. We recommend speaking to a mortgage advisor to find out what you can afford, how much deposit you can feasibly put down and how much you can comfortably pay per month. Now is the time to take into account your savings, income and any outstanding debts you may have.
Create your dream house wish list in priority order
List down all the things you’d love from your new property. This can include the bigger things such as ideal number of bedrooms, bathrooms, a garden and off-road parking/garage. Your wish list can also include other factors such as open-plan kitchen-diner, proximity to good schools, transport links, a real wood-burning stove and so on. Write down anything that’s important to you and then prioritise the list. This is a great way to find out what you’re willing to compromise on.
Where to search
Using property search websites
Some of the best property search websites are Zoopla, RightMove, On The Market and Purplebricks. Zoopla in particular has a ‘Draw from scratch’ search tool. All you have to do is visit the homepage, type in your preferred location then press ‘Search.’ Click on the third tile along just above the search results (Map View – it’s the one with the little marker). Next click “Draw from scratch” above the map and Zoopla will show you the properties available in that exact area! You can even tick the boxes to show the nearest schools, restaurants, gyms, supermarkets and much more.
If there’s a particular road you would love to live on, and it’s within your budget, Rightmove lets you save specific searches. For example, if you search for houses for sale in postcode E6 3LN you can save the search and receive emails when a new property is listed for that exact area. Usually, a full postcode covers an area of around 20 – 50 addresses or one or two roads.
Search directly through the property developers
If you would prefer to buy a new-build property and have a particular location in mind then searching directly through the property developers could be the way to find your dream home. A lot of the online property search portals have a property developer directory – it’s worth checking!
Morris Homes, Redrow, Bovis, Cala and Berkeley combined cover much of the UK. It’s always a good idea to be specific when searching for property developers. Berkeley, for example, mainly covers the South of England whereas Morris Homes tends to cover the Midlands and the North West.
You can either search for the property developers online or drive around the area you want to live in and note down which property developers are building new homes in your desired area. If you do the latter then you can kill two birds with one stone and check out the area at the same time!
What not to do
Beware of scammers
Gumtree is a risky place to do your property search. Of course, there are some perfectly legitimate sellers on this website, but it does attract scammers. Be very wary of any seller asking you to pay fees directly to them or any seller urging you to use PayPal or Western Union to pay them any sort of deposit or fee.
Don’t rule out Sold STC or UO properties
Rightmove is one of the best places to compare and search for your dream property. You’re able to filter all sorts of aspects such as the type of property and when it was added to the site. You can also search for properties that are “Sold Subject to Contract” (STC) or Under Offer (UO). Rightmove claims an average of 15% of Sold STC or UO properties end up back on the market – so it’s good to keep your options open! Even if a house is Sold STC or UO you can still get in touch with the estate agent to ask about the strength of the offer and, if you’ve viewed the property, make a better offer. This is because the property is still technically available as the contracts haven’t yet been signed.
Don’t rush your search
Moving home is said to be one of the most stressful times in someone’s life. Don’t make it even more stressful by rushing your property search and ending up with a house you want to get rid of a few years down the line.
How do you know when you’ve found the one?
One of the biggest signs you’ve found your dream home is when you find yourself talking about it to all your friends. You’re excited! Another huge sign is that you don’t want to look any more…and not because you’re fed up of house hunting. If you can imagine yourself building a future in the house then you’re more than likely on to a winner.
We wish you all the luck on your search for your dream home. When you’ve found it – don’t forget to get in touch with our conveyancing team on 0800 614 722 when you’re ready to instruct a solicitor.