Choosing a home to live in is one of the most exciting things you can do. But what should be a straightforward process can easily become a tiring and frustrating experience without careful planning.

Read on to stay on track with these time-saving tips!

1. Agree a budget

It’s easy to get carried away when you see your dream home going for more than you intended to spend. Agree a budget before-hand to avoid setting yourself up for disappointment. Don’t forget to include additional costs like stamp duty and solicitors fees.

Find out how much you could afford, including additional costs.

2. Be picky

The more picky you are now, the more pleased you’ll be when viewing properties. A handy exercise to narrow down what you’re looking for is to build a Need and Want list. It shouldn’t take longer than ten minutes but can save you a lot of time.

3. Window shop

Take a look at some of the most popular listing sites to get an idea of what’s out there within your budget. Zoopla and Rightmove are great places to start. Use their search filters to ensure you’re viewing properties that match your Need and Want list.

4. Be clear

If you choose to use an estate agent to assist your search, make sure you’re as clear as possible when describing what you’re looking for. Because estate agents have a limited number of listings, they may push you towards homes that don’t meet your exact requirements. Be sure to mention what your deal-breakers are.

5. Think about size

A two-bedroom house may consist of one large double room and one small single room, which may not be ideal for a space-craving teenager. If you have a young child you’ll also want to plan for the future so they have enough space to grow into.

6. Stay alert

Property moves fast. Stay ahead by setting up Zoopla email alerts to receive instant notifications when homes matching your criteria are listed for sale. This can give you an advantage over other buyers who aren’t so quick to arrange a viewing or make an offer. You’ll also have more time to consider your decision.

7. Be prepared

Estate agents will often ask to see a Mortgage in Principle before accepting an offer. This document indicates the maximum amount you could borrow and assures agents that you can be taken seriously.

Get a Mortgage in Principle in advance to avoid any delays. It’s straightforward and only takes a few minutes.

8. Research the area

For many, the area can be more important than the property itself. Good schools, transport links, and nearby parks can all make an area especially desirable. Factor this in when arranging viewings and you’ll avoid wasting time visiting nice but unsuitable homes.

9. Take photos

Your memory of earlier visits may start to become a little hazy once you’ve seen a few homes. Photos are a great way to remind yourself of architectural features as well as the size and shape of rooms.

10. Ask the right questions

A lot of time can be saved at viewings by asking the right questions. You’ll also leave with all the information you need to make an informed decision. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • How long have the current owners lived there?
  • Why are the current owners selling?
  • How soon are the current owners able to move?
  • What are the neighbours like?
  • How many viewings has the property had?
  • Has any major work been done on the property?
  • Are fixtures and fittings included in the sale?