11 pieces of London house hunting advice
Hunting for a new home in London doesn’t have to be stressful. Whether you’re relocating to the capital, making your first move on the property ladder or you’re searching for your next step you’ll want to find the perfect property for city living.
London is a vast city with so many different options catering to any number of lifestyle choices. If you don’t approach it strategically, it’s easy to get lost in all your options. We’ve collated a list of 11 essential pieces of advice to help you on your journey.
1. Do your research
Before you even start looking at any specific properties, make sure you fully research your potential areas. Look for average property prices, transport links, the amenities in the local area and the schools.
It’s also worth researching the monthly outlay for commuting into the city; you’ll need to balance money saved on monthly mortgage costs for a cheaper property further out with the increased travel spend.
2. Visit your preferred locations
Yes, you can do most of your research online, but this is an area you’re going to be living in.
It needs to feel right and you can only judge that by spending some time there. Spend an afternoon wandering around, eat lunch in a café and really get a feel for it.
3. List your requirements
Once you have an idea of your chosen area, you’ll need to think long and hard about what you need and want in your desired property. Your list of needs should be what you can’t live without and are absolute must-haves.
Your list of wants is what you would like, but could potentially live without if it came to it.
4. Start early
Start researching well in advance, ensuring you get an idea for what is available within your budget.
This should help you build a realistic list of needs and wants.
5. Be prepared to compromise
In London, the average property price in November 2017 was £481,915. Unless you have an extremely healthy budget you’ll need to be prepared to compromise.
This could be on the area, or by trimming your list of wants versus your needs.
6. Consider all your options
When searching for a new home in London it pays to look into all your options and understand the availability of any government schemes that could assist with your purchase. For example, through London Help to Buy you could purchase a newly built home with just a 5% deposit and a government loan for up to 40% of the purchase price.
Being able to buy somewhere with a smaller deposit could be the exact help you need.
7. Plan your route
Once you’ve got an idea of locations and properties within those areas, you’ll need to plan your route carefully. You’ll likely want to be close to a tube or train station, so try planning your search around one specific tube station.
Concentrate on one area at a time and arrange consecutive appointments for each of your chosen properties.
Try and do at least three or four viewings on the same day, to keep each fresh in your mind, but not too many that it becomes overkill and you can’t distinguish between each.
This will give you an opportunity to compare the viability of each of the properties. Once you’re done, move to your next area and focus on that. Once complete you can compare the suitability of the areas first, then delve down into the individual homes.
8. Don’t be afraid to move quickly
If you find a property that ticks your boxes on first viewing, don’t be afraid to move quickly.
That could be to arrange a second viewing or even make an offer. If it feels right, go for it.
9. Be organised & flexible
Write down your schedule and plan your areas one by one. This will keep you on top of your search, but also show any gaps where you may be able to see a property in a specific area at the drop of a hat.
Remember if something comes up you weren’t necessarily expecting, you need the flexibility to go and see it quickly. You never know, it could be the one.
10. Don’t get too desperate
There is a lot of choice in London. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for in your favourite area, widen your search and discover different areas of the city. The great thing about London is the small pockets that offer something completely different to one another.
You might want hustle and bustle and boutique shopping or something a bit more laid back. The good news is that this isn’t limited to one specific area. You never know if you give somewhere unexpected a chance, you might surprise yourself.
11. Be financially prepared
When you find the right property for you, it’s likely you’ll want to move quickly. This means that in advance of your search it’s vital to ensure you’re prepared. This includes getting your credit score as strong as it can be and securing a mortgage in principle.
The latter will be useful when making an offer, to show the seller you’ll be able to secure a mortgage if they accept your offer.