'The complete guide to buying and selling your home' packed with essential advice from arranging finance to seeking planning permission.
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Buying a home is likely to be one of the largest, if not the largest, investmest most of us will make in our lifetime. Unfortunately, it is also one of the greatest causes of stress. For these simple reasons it is vital to make sure that the property you choose is the right one. Before you take your first steps through the estate agent's door and plunge into the property market, there are a number of factors to take into account. If you are clear in your mind about what it is you are looking for, then you will be less likely to fall under the spell of the estate agent's spin and buy somewhere unsuitable. House-hunting can be a nightmare, but if you prepare yourself carefully it should go like a dream, with minimum stress and maximum success.
THE RIGHT PROPERTY
Before embarking on your search, think carefully about exactly what sort of property you hope to buy. Pounding the pavements hunting for a home can be a time-consuming and wearisome business, but if you plan ahead, you can make the process easier on yourself. Starting with a clear idea of the area in which you would like to live, the kind of property you are hoping to find and your budget means you will be able to scythe through the estate agent's long and daunting lists. Looking at properties that are the wrong size, in the wrong place and beyond your means may make great entertainment on a wet Sunday afternoon but they are a serious distraction. You must remain focused on your requirements, possibly adapting them in the light of what you discover in your searches, but never letting yourself lose sight of your main goal. Consider the possible options and draw up a list of the things you would like to find in your perfect property, marking those you cannot live without.
PRIMARY OR SECONDARY HOME?
The majority of people buying property are buying homes in which they intend to live permanently. However, if you are looking for a second home or a property that is purely for investment purposes, you will almost certainly have different criteria governing your final choice. Think about each of these carefully. Your primary home has to fulfil a number of practical considerations including being close to your work, schools and local amenities that matter to you. A second home is more of an indulgence, where you can lead a kind of fantasy life during weekends and holidays, but there are considerations to be taken into account here too. Does it need to be within a certain distance of your primary home, or close to a particular railway station or motorway? Do you want a garden, a tennis court, stables? Should a pied a terre in town be particularly close to the centre, so you can walk to and from the theatre or art galleries? Draw up your own list of requirements.