Diary of a First time buyer – Narrowing the choices

Once we felt we had enough saved up again this year we did the calculations again but this time we had a few different figures in mind. We knew how much we really wanted to pay due to increases in Stamp Duty due to increased purchase price but we also had in mind a price above that which we were prepared to go to IF we found the right property. Finally there was the all in, every penny we can afford value, well, it was nice looking at that sort of house for a while but realism kicks in and we decided we’d really rather have a nice safety net in case of future interest rate rises, surely they can’t stay this low for much longer, can they?

So with that in mind I set up a couple of searches on Rightmove, I mostly used their Draw-a-Search facility, I drew round the areas we would most like to live in and saved that with an upper price a bit above what we could afford (you never know, they might come down!lol) and I also drew a bigger area including areas we wouldn’t mind but probably wouldn’t be our first choice. After doing the searches up popped lots of different types of houses, with a few clicks you can remove types you are not interested in and save ones you like the look of to investigate further.

We knew that we wanted detached, 3 bedrooms & easy parking for us as well as friends/family who come to visit so as you can see to start with we weren’t very fussy about what we were looking for, the main thing was that I didn’t want Dave to have a big commute into work each day, I’ve done a 2 hour commute myself in the past and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy (well, OK, I might) but I really didn’t want Dave to have to do it!lol

Map Query

So how did we narrow down the vast array of choices? By looking at the houses that were on offer is how but not just what they look like, really studying them and we were quite surprised by some of the things we found! After knocking off any houses that didn’t fit in with our criteria already we were still faced with many so we started making other choices and knocking houses out that way. First went any without drives, then ones that only had one toilet (well, it’d be nice to have one each!lol) and finally for this bit, out went any houses on or too near main roads/shopping areas. This really narrowed it down a lot for us and by now we had around 30 houses to have a look at but this still felt too many so we decided to investigate some more!

The first thing I did was to look at each house on Google maps and Streetview, this helped me rule a few out due to their location on the road they were in and one due to the huge lorry thundering past just as the streetview camera was!lol My next port of call was the Office for National Statistics, Neighbourhood Statistics page, just by entering the postcodes of each house we could look up general information about the area but there wasn’t anything too scary in any of the areas we looked at so that didn’t narrow it down any for us. Finally after the last few years we decided to look at the Environment Agency’s Flood risk maps and we did decide that we wouldn’t go for a house on a flood plain. We’ve seen the devastation that flooding causes on the news and would hate to go through that ourselves and this did actually knock quite a few houses from our lists.

The last method we used to get our list of houses to view was to drive by them a couple of times. Just to get a feel for the areas and how people live in them at different times of the day. I was surprised by a couple of them as they turned out the roads were a bit of a ‘rat run’ even though it didn’t look like it from the maps, sometimes you can’t rely on google I guess!lol So now we had a shortlist of around 10 houses, next we had to actually view some!

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