Most clients come to us with a wish list. More often than not it’s a fairly long list, hence the need to engage a property finder to help them realise their ideal property. We get vague verbal lists, carefully typed lists and, in one instance, a colour coded, prioritised spread sheet of the top 25 most important factors driving the property purchase.
I love lists. I am a list lover and I especially love clients that do too. A list means that there has been forethought, planning and an element of research.
Property research doesn’t mean spending hours obsessively scouring property portals every evening whilst clutching a glass of Chablis. It means working out what’s important to you, your family and your life. Take a step back and organise your thinking. It is time to be specific.
Specific doesn’t mean drawing up an enormous check list of minute details to run through each time you view a house. Garden sheds, a lake, room for recycling bins and even a bowling alley have made it onto my clients’ wish lists. That is all very well, but you are making life difficult for yourself over issues that could easily be handled in an alternative way.
Focus on the big stuff. It’s amazing how often major issues get overlooked in the quest for a Georgian facade. Perhaps you should consider choosing function over form unless you are absolutely positive that you can allow for both in your budget?
Being specific means asking yourself some tough questions about the lifestyle you want and continuing your search according to the answers. You may be hoping to find a hidden gem or a complete bargain, but hope is not a strategy.
What is important to you? If it’s your commute time into London then look at the rail links in your chosen geography and work out how far you are prepared to travel to each station. Be realistic about how long the journey is going to take to the station each morning.
Where do you want your children to go to school? Does that involve a catchment area? How far are you prepared to drive when you forget the gym kit?
The mistake that the majority of clients make is in leaving things vague. People feel happier having loose parameters as it allows them access to the greatest number of houses; houses that are not in budget, they cannot easily commute to and don’t want to live in. Opt for quality not quantity, hone your criteria and know your market.
Researching property values is more straightforward in today’s online community. If you’re set on living in a picturesque village in a 5 bedroom house with an acre of land, then make sure your budget can cover it. People spend more time researching the price of the car or gadget they want to buy than they do a potential home, which is absurd given the difference in values involved.
At Garrington, we fully understand that having broad property search criteria is comforting because you get to see a greater volume of properties. We’re not suggesting you take an uncompromising approach, but make sure that you define your priorities and be thorough with your market research. If you are focused and realistic then you are far more likely to have a positive experience and end up with the right result.