House hunting in the New Year?

If you are thinking of getting onto the housing ladder in the New Year, visiting show houses must be on your ‘to do’ list. Although a great starting point, newcomers to the market may not always know how to navigate their way through show houses. These top tips from Seeff are sure to help you on your way to your first or next dream house.

The start of the New Year is a busy time for the housing market as people resolve to get into a new home, either as a first time buyer or as someone who wants to upgrade to a bigger home or better neighbourhood or perhaps downgrade to a more convenient lifestyle.

Whatever you choose, house hunting is time consuming and can be daunting. While you will inevitably start your house hunting adventure by scanning the property advertising pages and websites, show houses remain one of the best ways to find your dream home.

Although online viewing is now a great house hunting tool, most buyers still want to get a physical feel for what is for sale in an area. For first time buyers especially, show houses are ideal for finding their dream home. The best advice it to do a good walk through and then a good talk through with the estate agent before putting pen to paper.

Although some buyers fall in love at first sight, most end up having to visit several houses over a period of time, especially if they are looking for something unique. It is in any event, always good to keep your options open.

Here are a few top tips to help you navigate your way through show houses:

1. Make a list - adverts and show boards are an excellent way to find out what is on show in your chosen areas. Make a list of the properties and locations that you want to visit and plan your trip so that you can enjoy the experience and not end up driving all day without getting to see anything.

2. Sunday is show day – Sundays are show days with agents on duty at the various show houses from around 11am to about 5pm. Newspaper adverts and mailers alert buyers to upcoming show houses. Some agents also do viewings during the week, on a Wednesday evening for example, but you would need to liaise with the agent to confirm.

3. Cut out the clutter –
when there are loads of properties on the market, show days can become a real clutter. So if you know what you are looking for, speak to a local agent and ask them for a list of the best finds in your price range so that you can focus your house search.

4. Private viewing – if you are serious about a property, then an early private viewing may be a good option. If it is a hot property at a hot price, you should get to see it without delay if you are a serious buyer.

5. Take a second look – when you find what you are looking for, but are still hesitant, arrange for a second viewing. Be sure to speak to the agent to find out if there are other interested buyers to avoid delays or disappointments.

6. Cracks and chips - ideally a property should be in tip top condition when it is on show, but sometimes this is not the case. There are often minor things that can be fixed quickly and at little cost such as peeling paint, plaster cracks and broken cupboard latches. So, speak to the agent and do not be put you off if the home ticks all the other important boxes.

7. Check the price – be sure to check the price before you start your show day adventure. You do not want to travel all the way to a house that is beyond your budget. Rather look in your range or to speak to the agent before the time to find out if there is room to negotiate the price and terms.

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