Thursday 29 September 2016

Finding your dream home

Published 26/02/2016 | 16:05

Find your dream home
Find your dream home

Choosing your first home is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, so it is essential that you are well prepared when you begin the search

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When you think of your dream home, what do you imagine? Everyone’s needs and desires are different – but at the same time, there is something out there for everyone!

Make a list, check it twice

The first step when you are looking for a home should always be to sit down – with your partner, if that’s who you’ll be purchasing with – and make a list of what’s important to you.

Know what parts of a home mean the most to you. Are you a baking enthusiast who needs the kitchen space to be just right? A rugby fan who needs the living room to be their home entertainment centre? Do you need a home office? A playroom or a nice garden for the children? Thinking about these things in advance will make it a lot easier to dismiss certain properties straight off, and choose those you wish to investigate further.

Knowing your budget is obviously a key factor. The online mortgage calculator at www.kbc.ie can instantly help with this. You may want to look at houses currently a little above your budget if you think the seller is likely to drop the price or you can negotiate him or her down – however, it’s best not to go looking far outside your range, even just out of curiosity.

Working directly with a real estate agent, especially a large and established company, can certainly make the search a lot simpler. Submit all your requirements to the estate agent in writing – that way, they will be very clear on your needs, and you can all be on the same page.

There are other things to think about as you draw up your list of priorities as well. Would you consider moving outside of a city or town if this better suits your budget? What the neighbourhood is like is also a crucial consideration – houses don’t exist by themselves. Are you going to feel happy stepping outside your door every morning, as well as stepping back through it at night?

Total reconnaissance

When it comes to the legwork of home-hunting, it’s better to set aside a day and view five or six properties at once, rather than view places ad hoc over a longer period. This way, several places will be fresh in your mind and it’s easier to compare, contrast and evaluate. If you can, visit properties on a weekday, when a seller or an agent will have more time to answer your questions; the weekends are bound to be more crowded with viewings.

You should also visit more than once – and at different hours of the day. There can be a completely different atmosphere – not to mention noise level – in a neighbourhood at night-time rather than in the mid-afternoon.

Take your own pictures and videos of the property with your phone – when you have seen a lot of houses, this simple record-keeping will make recalling each property much easier. You may even spot something on film or in a photo that you didn’t notice first time around.

Have an eagle-eye at every viewing. Keep an eye out for issues such as cracks, any damp or mould, check the light switches to make sure they work and the doors, windows, drawers and closets to make sure they all open and close properly. The seller is under no obligation to tell you about any structural issues with the property so you can save a lot in the long run by being vigilant at the start.

Finally: think of the future. How long would you be planning to stay in this house? Is there the possibility you might renovate down the line if you have the finance? Is this the right place to bring up kids?

The search for your ideal first home can be lengthy – and exhausting. But it is worth it! There is a place out there with your name on it, waiting to be claimed – a place all of your own. Just keep imagining getting those keys and opening the front door for the first time. There will be no feeling like it.

The search for your ideal first home can be lengthy - and exhausting. But it is worth it!

Visit KBC’s National Mortgage Lounge!

On Thursday 10th March 2016 at 6pm, KBC will host its very first National Mortgage Event at The Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin. You can expect a helpful and informative evening on the various steps required to take out a mortgage and buying your own home, plus you will get the chance to speak to industry experts and KBC mortgage advisors. Prepare all your questions in advance as this is an event first time buyers and movers don’t want to miss!

To register, email mortgagelounge@kbc.ie

For more information, visit www.kbc.ie. For advice on the first time buying process, customers can call 1800 51 52 53

Sponsored by: KBC

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