2018 is about to come to a close and I’ll soon be enjoying my second Christmas in my beautiful apartment. I love it here in South Shields and I really feel as though I’m at home both in my flat and in the town that I’m living in. I’ve talked a lot about renting my apartment on my blog as it was a huge deal for me moving in here and while I’m saving up to buy my perfect home, I’m still enjoying the property that I’m currently living in. I knew when I moved in here that it would be a long time before I would be able to afford to buy my own place so it was important to me that I made my rented apartment a home while I was saving to buy. Having a sense of home is a comforting, safe and warming feeling, a place to call your own, and it doesn’t matter whether you own it or rent it, you can still have that feeling. Moving out of my family home was one of the hardest but best things I’ve ever done because I really grew as a person and it taught me a lot about adult life. I’d never rented before but I picked up so many tips which I wrote down in this post to help any of you who might be thinking about moving out and renting.
My rental flat feels and looks very much like a home now and I have everything that I need for it so I’m focusing on paying off things and saving up to buy my first property as a first time buyer. I’m going to be buying it with my partner who is already on the property ladder and has now listed his for sale so its very exciting. He is hoping to sell his place next year and then we’ll rent together until we find a home that we want to buy. We almost did earlier this month as we had thought about putting his property in as part exchange but it wasn’t going to work out and the property we’d be exchanging for wasn’t really what we were looking for. Now we’re looking to sell his property on the market in the usual way, we’re also going to be house hunting in the usual way too.
I’ve moved a few times now with family and then on my own and I’ve been looking at buying a home properly for the last couple of years so I do have some tips to share with you on how to find the perfect home for you.
When I say the perfect home, it’s important to understand that this doesn’t mean that the home is perfect but that it’s perfect, or could be perfect, for you. Often you need to look at the bigger picture and what potential the property could have within your budget. It’s rare to find something that meets ALL of your requirements AND fits in with your budget, whether thats if you’re buying or renting. However it can be possible to find something thats almost perfect for you and that with a few tweaks here and there, you can make it ideal for you.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND
From the outset, lower your expectations and keep an open mind. Perfection is often a pipe dream, so unless you want to be house hunting for many years to come or you have an endless budget, don’t assume you are going to find THE perfect house straight away with everything exactly as you want it. There may well be flaws with a lot of places you look at, for example, the bathroom could be too small or the wallpapering could be terrible but know that it’s what you do after moving in that counts. So while a house may not be perfect at the beginning, if the majority of it is right for you and its in the area that you want, etc you can make changes later to get your home nirvana. Try not to be put off if you view a house and it has wallpaper that you hate, these things are cosmetic and can be changed relatively quickly and cheaply.
MAKE A LIST
Write down what your perfect home looks like. I’m not talking dream, fantasy home, I mean realistic home and include a list of things your home needs to have. You might want room for a home office, for example, or you might want it to be near your place of work. Then list those things that would be nice to have but aren’t essential, such as smart features or an extra bathroom. With a checklist of items, you have something to help you when you’re on searching for your next home.
For me, I would need 3 bedrooms; one for me and my partner, one that would be for when his son comes to stay and one as my home office as I work a lot of the time from home. I would love to have an ensuite bathroom as I really love my privacy and a downstairs toilet. I would love to have patio doors that lead out onto a garden. Location wise, I would like to be near shops, pubs and restaurants, the park and some sort of leisure centre as something that I really envisage for myself when I come to having a baby is to be able to take him or her out in the pram to a little cafe, for a walk in the park, swimming etc and my boyfriend and I love to go out for a walk and go for a meal and a few drinks so an area like this would be perfect for us as a couple.
When it comes to choosing your perfect home, your expectations can end up being curtailed because of how much you can afford. Be realistic; don’t expect to move into a mansion if you can only afford to live in a two bed terraced house. Speak to your bank, find out what they can offer you as a mortgage and then speak to an independent financial/mortgage advisor to see what you can get from other lending providers. Once you know what you can afford, you can then start to look at houses within your price range. While you’re looking around, remember to factor in the other costs that are involved with moving and then the ongoing costs of running that house, for example the council tax, electricity, gas, etc, as you need to make sure that you are able to afford to pay the bills for that property as well as the mortgage and day to day living costs.
Your perfect home will no longer be perfect for you if you can’t afford to live your life at the same time. I know so many people who ended up over their heads with their mortgage and can’t afford to do anything else with their lives because they’re a slave to their mortgage so get your budgeting right from the outset and you’ll be in a much better position. These budgeting tips might be useful to you.
When you have your finances in order, and you are looking at houses that you can reasonably afford, it is easier to make a wise property decision.
LET YOUR HEAD RULE OVER YOUR HEART
I’m usually something who would encourage you to listen to your gut instinct and what your heart is telling you but since buying a property will probably be the biggest financial purchase you’ll ever make, it is important to let you head rule over your heart.
You might find a home that you think is almost perfect, but it may still not be the right one. You might fall in love with it, but you still need to think carefully. Can you hear the neighbours through the wall? Is the location a crime hot spot? Are there any defects to the building that could cost you a bomb down the line like subsidence? Do your research; check out the area that the house is in at various times of the day and night, look online at crime statistics and make sure you get a homebuyer survey to ensure the property is worth moving into. Check here for all you need to know about homebuyer surveys if you need any more info. Once you have all of that information, it’ll be easier for you to make an informed decision over whether this property really is for you or not. Jumping the gun and letting your heart rule could end up being a very costly mistake.
COME TO A DECISION
After viewing plenty of properties and checking out their credentials, you’ll be in a much better position to make an informed decision. Remember you can’t change the area or what is around you, only the inside of the property, with the usual limitations if you’re renting rather than buying, but regardless of where your home is, once you close the door and its yours and you’re at home and that’s a really lovely feeling. Make it your own, plan your renovations however big and small and really put your stamp on the place.
Sure you might not be able to put that downstairs loo that you really want in straight away but if everything else with the property is perfect for you then save up for a few years and then get it down. Prioritise what needs to be done sooner rather than later and enjoy the process. Owning a home is a huge achievement, as is moving out, renting and supporting yourself on your own, so be proud of how awesome you’ve done and enjoy the many happy years ahead of you in your home. That’s certainly what I’ll be doing when we buy ours. Fingers crossed, 2019 will be the year that I get on the property ladder!
What would your perfect home look like?