Buying a house in 2022: The dos and don’ts of searching for your new home online
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If you are going to join the scrum this holiday season, and you are serious about spending next Christmas in a new (or a first) home, then you need to learn how to online house hunt like a pro.
Here’s what you need to know.
Learn to read between the lines
Estate Agents are supposed to stick to the strictly factual – but they still attempt to mask the truth with some carefully phrased euphemisms. If a property is described as an “ideal investment”, it is probably not nice enough that you’d want to live there yourself.
A “low maintenance garden” is going to be small, and with minimal actual plants or grass, and “well-presented” means the owners have tidied round a bit, slapped some white paint on the walls and now expect you to pay a premium.
An “opportunity to put your own stamp” on a home means the décor is dire and it probably needs a new kitchen and bathroom. Ditto “in need of modernisation”.
If opportunities to extend the property are “subject to planning consent” this means you will have to take your chances with the local council before going ahead.
Possibly the biggest giveaway is if a property is listed without any interior photographs. This usually means the agent doesn’t want to show potential buyers what it looks like because they know anybody sane would run a mile.
Education, education, education
If you have children, local schools will be a crucial factor in your decision making process.
Buying agent Alex Woodleigh Smith, managing Director of AWS Prime, recommends using www.locrating.com/ to get the lowdown on local schools.
If you want to do a deep dive into particular school you can read its latest Ofsted report at https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/.
Get your head around square footage
Most property details come with a floor plan. Don’t dismiss it as boring; it is one of the most important pieces of information you will be offered pre-viewing and will give you a good idea of a property’s layout and room size.