1. Scout the area you would like to settle in.
Stay in some different places and find out what it feels like to wake up in that area. Go for a coffee, go for lunch, chat with the locals, and find out if the area offers you the sort of lifestyle you’re seeking. Don’t look too far and wide, as the search will be more difficult and often confuse. Manage your expectations: know what you can afford, and where.
2. Find an agent that you get on with, and be honest with them.
Not only about what you want, but about what you don’t want too. It will help the agent to define and refine the property search for you. Decide what it is you REALLY can’t live without, it might be a garage, it might be a view…….
3. Have you found the perfect house, but then found that it hasn’t got EVERYTHING on your wish list?
Ask yourself, “Would you walk away from your dream home, because it doesn’t have this now; is it something I could add in the future?”
4. If possible, arrange a viewing tour so you can view several properties on the same day.
This will help you compare location, price, and style of each property, allowing you a greater perspective of what you can afford.
5. Don’t forget to make notes on all the properties that you view.
It is so easy to forget the details. Write on the brochure of the property, so that you can review it properly later.
6. Think about the offer that you want to put forward.
Don’t put in a “cheeky” offer; this could simply upset the vendor and set you off on the wrong foot at the point you are wanting a constructive dialogue. A good agent will be able to advise you, and guide you. Think to yourself “What is my final offer? What do I NOT want to lose this house by?” Negotiating in dribs and drabs can easily hinder that important ongoing relationship.
7. It is important to understand what the price tags mean, and your agent will be able to guide you:
a. Asking Price: The exact amount wanted.
b. OIEO (OX) ‘Offers in excess of’: the vendor is looking for above the printed price, but may well entertain an offer.
c. Guide Price: Very similar to OIEO, but the printed price is the very LEAST that the vendor will accept.
d. OIRO ‘Offers in region of’: there is some negotiation — maybe up or down depending on interest.
8. Be proceed-able!
That is, get ready to move. This isn’t a game. Ensure your money laundering documents are in place; organise your funding and prep your solicitor. Get your agent to help you be in the best position to find your dream home. And a good agent will.