Thinking of buying a property? There’s a million and one things to consider and one thing’s for sure – it’s not an easy or simple process. Above all it’s important that you ask crucial questions because if you don’t it could mean storing up trouble for the future! However, luckily for you we’re here to help. Here are a few tips as to what to keep an eye out for when purchasing your dream home….


“Be Prepared” is what Girl Guides are taught. And it’s a very useful life motto! After all, you wouldn’t go to a top  job interview without having intensely perused the job description, the site, their competitors etc, would you? There’s never anything to be lost by researching your market online. Have a look at websites of estate agents in your chosen area and get an understanding of the price range. This can help when it comes to bargaining with the buyer. Another key thing is to make sure your estate agent has specialist knowledge of the area. This is so important when it comes to gauging what’s happening locally and to ensure you get good value for money.

It’s Not Just About The Bathroom And Kitchen

They say a house sells on these two rooms. That’s true, kind of. However, while it’s worth ensuring you’re happy with these, don’t forget to note other things that may inconvenience you if you do decide to go ahead and purchase the property. For example, how many guest bedrooms are there? Enough to host your parents and in-laws at Christmas so they don’t have to leave early for the car journey back to deepest darkest Wales? Are you planning to have or do you have children? What size rooms do you require for them? Is there a basement and/or are you thinking of building one? What will you use this for? And the garden – is it sufficient to hold those summer parties you were planning? All crucial questions!

Visit At Various Times Of The Day

When you’re visiting a house and someone’s expecting you, of course they’ll want to show their property in the best light. However be warned. That quiet, lovely residential street in the day could turn into the local hangout for college kids at night. The large, sash windows which seem stunning by day, could attract the neighbourhood’s peeping Toms at night. There’s also never any harm in taking a drive around the area in the evening to get another perspective. Perhaps you’ll see things you wouldn’t be aware of otherwise…

Introduce Yourself ToThe Neighbours

If you’re buying a property that’s got a lot of land or relatively big garden, you probably think your life wouldn’t especially be affected by your neighbours However, when it comes to planning permission, local committees, neighbourly cohesion etc, it’s important you get on with your neighbours. So there’s no harm in popping over to introduce yourself after you’ve viewed the house. Just a simple: “I’m thinking of purchasing the property next door to you, just thought I’d come over and say hi” could suffice. You can gauge a lot from their initial response and why not ask a few questions to get the lowdown on neighbourhood tensions, problems and ongoing issues (if they exist.)

Local Facilities

The properties with the best local facilities, hospitals, schools, etc are always the quickest to be snapped up. The same goes for houses in postcodes with low crime rates. It’s very important to get an in-depth understanding of the borough you’re buying in. Check out everything about the history, developments planned for the area etc. Trawl through local newspaper footage to find out what issues are hot topics. Look at the school league tables if you’ve got children and look at reviews about your local GP and A&E services.


Before you go ahead and make an offer and commission a survey, it’s better to voice your concerns directly to the home owner – although DON’T expect them to highlight inconveniences such as the fact that the council has refused planning  applications for the last ten years! Obviously you’ll still do your own investigations but you can still ask. For example, is the building listed. If it is, it’s likely to be very difficult to get planning permission. Have there been any problems with flooding? How energy efficient is the property? Does it have solar panels? Is there a log fire? Cracks in the ceiling? Make a note and have a word with your surveyor who will only thank you for giving him/her heads up about what issues to investigate!

About the author

Nicolas Holmes

Nick joined Robert Holmes to inject fresh ideas and help grow the New Homes department of Robert Holmes as well as helping to inject technology into the business and to grow its client base. Together with one of the Directors Nick is in charge of all Development opportunities that Robert Holmes deals with along with sales. Aged 40, he provides succession together with the two existing directors. Nick has always been focused on building client relationships and sales. He built up his own gallery in Chelsea, where he had a loyal following of customers and artists.

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