A Property Buyers Journey

A Property Buyers Journey.

Buying a new Home is probably one of the biggest decisions you will ever have to make.

Obviously there is the financial commitment and all the legal side to get through. But what do you actually look for and think about when choosing a property that is right for you.

In my head I had a vision of my Dream Home.

I made a wish list of things that I needed and things that I wanted.

However once I stated looking I soon realised that perhaps my dream home wouldn’t be one hundred percent exactly how I imagined it. But I also quickly realised that with a bit of forethought and realism it could be so close that it really wouldn’t matter.

As they say location,location,location.

And it really does make a difference.

I needed to move for work. To be closer to the office. Not to have a three hour commute five days a week. But I wanted to spend time with my family, my friends. To be in the area I grew up in and was familiar with. It would be a huge wrench to leave that behind.

For me achieving the balance was surprisingly easy. I just had  to be closer to work. It was as simple as that.

And those fifteen hours a week  I got back by no longer commuting gave me plenty of time to focus on what was important- my friends and family.

My mind was made up.

But what did my new home need. How could it help me to achieve my goals.

I started making lists. Lists in my head, lists on paper and even doodling lists in my office downtime.

Weekends would be free. I anticipated many family  visits back and forth. Good road links would become essential, and maybe I could take the train sometimes. A nearby station would be great for this.

I started to build a picture.

My Dream Home looked much less far away.

A property close to where I worked. Must have good transport Links. An extra bedroom so friends could stay over . A garden space for relaxation and entertaining. And if I was going to entertain I definitely needed that modern kitchen.

Thus my picture grew.

As I said I wasn’t expecting to  find the perfect match, but I was more confident now to know what I was looking for and how that would work for me.

My check list started to look something like this


Want Need Compromise
4 Bedrooms 3 Bedrooms Buy a Sofa bed to set up in the  office space
3 Bathrooms 2 Bathrooms 2 is actually fine. 3 would be a luxury
Within 5 mile radius to work within10  mile radius to work I could travel 10 miles if the road links were good –
Large Garden Patio area Patio ok if dining room is large enough to entertain guests


The search was on for properties that met my basic needs.

I  found a few that looked promising.

Arranging  to meet the estate agent straight after work  gave me a good opportunity to check out the actual journey in real time.

One was a “peak traffic” nightmare but the other three seemed more promising.

I already knew not to be ruled by my heart. The little cottage was incredibly cute and quaint but when I went inside it needed much more work than I ever anticipated and I knew that I had to rule it out for that reason alone. I just wasn’t prepared to put in the work. Simple as that.

The next property was great for commuting, had the four bedrooms I wanted but only two bathrooms. Going back to my check list I always knew three bathrooms was a luxury and, especially in this property, because of the layout, I knew that two would be fine. It was a compromise I could live with that wouldn’t tarnish my dream.

So now I’m at the property what do I need to ask?

I don’t want to be too personal or intrusive but there are questions that I want answered.

There is no harm in asking an owner Why they are moving out?

I know why I hope to move in but I am wondering about their experiences. Are the Neighbours Friendly? Is it a good neighbourhood to live in? Are the schools nearby well represented in Ofsted? Have they  got a deadline of when they  need to move out?

All of these things were important to me. Had the owner not been present, I would have expected a good estate agent to have done their research and be able to answer most of my questions.

Be Friendly and Sensitive.

Talking in a friendly, chatty way often leads to a sharing of information from both sides but do be careful not to give too much away and definitely don’t overstep a boundary. After all you are a visitor in their home. It’s not yours yet however much you may want it!

Be sensitive to the situation. The sale could be due to bereavement, divorce or simply a change in circumstances that make it no longer possible for them to live in the property. This is likely to be somebodies much loved and cherished home.



Some of my questions were directed straight to the estate agent

How long has the property been on the market?

Has there been much interest?

Is it a leasehold or freehold? If it is a leasehold what exactly does that mean for me?


The evidence is there in front of you.

Have there been any recent renovations or extensions?

Is the property freshly decorated? And has there been or is there currently any evidence of damp?

Which direction does it face? Is it a south facing garden?

If you observe any of these  and are not sure it is a good idea to back them up with a verbalised question just to clarify the exact situation.


A few more questions I would like answered.

Some of these may be in the property description itself and some will come through the conveyancing process. But my recommendation is “if in doubt ask”.

I thought carefully about anything else that was important for me to know and felt  I should share them here with you.

The cost of any service charges and the council tax Band were important to help me calculate my finances.

Should I  be concerned about the age of the boiler. Realistically would I need to pay out for a new one?

What is and isn’t included in the sale? Good to know when planning a move or shopping spree prior to the transfer date.

What are the Broadband speeds? I sometimes work from home and have teenage daughters.

Is the water pressure good? Again I have teenage daughters.

A few final questions I asked were really about safety. I knew surveys would show this but I also wanted to check for myself .

Are the walls structurally sound?

Has an asbestos survey been conducted?

Are there any expansion restrictions and how old is the property?


For me these were the important questions answered.

Your priorities most likely will differ from mine but these are basic questions that you should know about any property you are considering.

And the final question.

Did I buy the property?


But I did buy a very similar one just around the corner.

This is just my individual journey.

Everybody’s journey will be different and unique. Hopefully I have helped you to think about how you could achieve buying your dream home.

If you have been on a similar journey please do share your thoughts, hints and tips with us to help others as they set off on their own journeys right now.

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