When you are searching for a new place to rent or buy, you often have a number of different options that you have to choose between. Making the right decision can be a tricky balancing act as you weigh up all the different pros and cons. And the more houses you see along the way the more complicated things can become. The best way that you can streamline the process is by getting yourself organised at the earliest possible opportunity. So, here is a quick guide to give you a helping hand when you are trying to choose between different properties.
Determine Your Priorities
Everyone has different priorities when they are looking for a home. It may be that you want a place with lots of potential so you can undertake different projects along the way. Alternatively, you may be looking for a place that is already finished to a high standard. You may be looking for a house where you can live for a long period of time or a nice HDB for rent. If you start looking at places without having your priorities clearly defined in your own head, it is much more difficult to differentiate between what you are looking for.
Research Online First
It is always worth doing your research online first before you see anywhere in person. This way, you can get a good idea of the general features that each property has and you can compare these with your overall priority list. You can also view some photos of every place so you know what to expect before you get there. And many of the questions that you had in the first place may already be answered for you.
Draw Up a Comparison Chart
It is a good idea to have a checklist in priority order so you can tick off the positive features that each property possesses. This way, you will be able to directly compare the different features. If there are a couple of properties that have ticks in the top five or top three boxes, these are the ones that you will want to be choosing between. You will also want to look at taking some brief notes about each place. If you are seeing a lot of properties in a short period of time, it is very easy for them all to blur into one. Apart from the basics about number and size or rooms, you will also want to look at the overall condition of the place, landscaping, natural light etc.
Treat Your First and Second Viewing Differently
There is a big difference between your first and second viewing of a property. On your first walk through, you will want to take the time to soak everything in as much as possible. Seeing a place for the first time, your mind can go into overdrive with all the different possibilities so you don’t want to make any snap decisions. Taking notes is a good way to engage the more practical side of your brain. When you go back again, the initial excitement will have died down a little and you will be able to assess the property in a more rational way. This is your opportunity to really quiz the estate agent so you get as much information out of them as you can.
Discuss the Property Directly After the Viewing
Directly after the viewing is when the property will be freshest in your mind, so this is when you will want to have discussions with your partner or family. Talk about all the pros and cons you encountered along the way. Also, try to get a rough idea in your mind about how you would use each room and whether there are any changes that you would like to make at an early opportunity. When you have started to view multiple properties, you can start to have this conversation while comparing and contrasting what the other houses had to offer. And if you want to be really organised, you can sketch out a floor plan of each place so you have something to refer back to.
Take Photos or Videos
Since pretty much everyone is walking around with high-quality cameras in their pockets these days, it makes sense that you utilise these tools. To start off with, you could just take a couple of snaps of each room, but if you want to be really thorough, you could even film a walking tour of the property. Of course, make sure that you ask the estate agent beforehand to make sure that you have full permission to do this. And keep all photos and videos for your own personal use. It is much easier to compare between houses when you have the visual reminders right there in front of you.
Compare the Neighbourhoods as well as the Properties
Though you may think that you have found the perfect property, if the neighbourhood doesn’t match up to your expectations, this is going to have a big impact on your overall living experience. So, after you have done your first viewing of a house, you can then have a walk around the area. Notice how much noise there is around the place and what facilities are located nearby. When you come back for a second house viewing, try arriving at a different time during the day as a neighbourhood can be very different during the evening hours. Ultimately, you want to make sure that you are totally happy with the area that you will be calling home as well as the house itself.
Think About the Cost
As well as all the different features of the properties you are viewing, you also want to think about how the prices stack up against each other. After all, if you spend all your budget on the house, you will have nothing left to complete any renovation or improvement projects that you are planning. Again, it is a balancing act, but it is one that you should take the time to get right. This is why careful planning is so important when you are looking at new places to live.
Room for Improvement?
For many people, their house is always something of a work in progress. So, you need to check out how much potential for improvements there are available. For example, is there any space to build an extension if you want one in the future? Do you have the option of converting the attic or basement into another room? Are you able to knock down a couple of walls and create an open-plan living situation? These are all questions that are worth asking yourself before you make your decision.
There is no doubt that choosing between different places to live can be a very tricky decision. Before you view anywhere, it is a good idea to get a list of your priorities in order. This way, you will be able to work out which properties fit the bill and which don’t. During the viewings try to get as much information as you can. Take plenty of photos and videos if you can. When you get home, have an in-depth discussion in which you weigh up all the pros and cons of each place. And don’t forget to do the same when you are comparing the different neighbourhoods. Finally, you should think about how much room for improvements there are in each place.