House hunting can be the most exciting part of the home buying journey, especially for First Time Buyers! However, it is important to balance your enthusiasm with a healthy level of detachment. Buying a house is a huge investment- you don’t want to let your emotions cloud your judgement. We have put together a list of some things to remember when you are viewing properties.
Make Lists: Needs vs. Wants
- Before looking at houses, think about what kind of features you want your property to have. How many rooms do you need? Would you like a one-storey or two? How big a garden would you like? How much storage do you need? What size in square feet/ metres?
- You are rarely going to find a property that has every single feature that you want and it is important to be flexible. To prepare for viewing potential properties, compile two separate lists of Needs and Wants.
- The Needs list comprises of the must-haves that you cannot live without. Think number of rooms, location, things that cannot be easily changed.
- The Wants list can contain everything else. You may need to compromise a little, but most things in a house can be changed at a later date.
- Be realistic about what you can afford and try not to paint pictures in your head. It is important to keep to your own budget, and not the asking price or AIP amount from the lender.
- There are excellent portals online to preview properties before viewing them. Use these platforms to screen houses before viewing them- ensure they have the items on your Needs list and are in a suitable location.
- Make shortlist of houses you want to view to minimise the number of in-person viewings you must do.
- Daft.ie is an excellent website that lists every property on the market in Ireland. Check this everyday to see what comes up matching your criteria- they are constantly being updated.
Visit your Top Properties
- Bring your Needs and Wants checklist to every viewing you attend and take notes of what the property does and does not have. Focus on things you cannot change such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the view and most importantly the location.
- Take photos of all details in the property and create a labelled folder for each house. It will be difficult to remember everything when you leave and you need to be able to look back on the details.
- Be thorough and take your time at the viewing. Be sure to check everything- cupboards, attics, gardens etc.
- Spend time outside, as first impressions are important and can indicate how well the house has been maintained. Also pay attention to the area. Is there a lot of noise, traffic or construction nearby?
Before Placing a Bid
- Revisit the property for a second time to decide if you want to put a bid on it and decide how much it's worth to you, and how badly you want it. You will be calmer and more analytic at the second viewing, which will help you to make a more sensible decision.
- Evaluate the asking price based on the market price of similar properties in similar areas- will you be overpaying? And are you willing to do so if it means getting the house?
- Ask the nosy questions! The estate agent won’t advertise anything that isn’t positive, so inquire about any concerns you might have. Has the house been rented out frequently? How many times has it changed hands in the last decade? Have there been any refurbishments? Has it been rewired?
- Don’t attend viewings alone. Always bring a partner, friend or family member for a second opinion to prevent your emotions getting in the way.
Most importantly, remember to keep your emotions in check when viewing potential homes. It will help you to be analytic when viewing the homes. When you have followed the steps and have still found it to be your dream property, then it’s time to get excited and place a bid!