3 top tips before you start looking for a new home
One of my clients approached me to support them in finding a new home. They are short of time and asked me to pre-view suitable houses for them. Now, I’m not a real estate agent and generally don’t offer this service. This time, I said yes and will share their and my experiences in a mini-series with you (with their approval, of course).
Before you evening start calling landlords and agents for a viewing, gain clarity of what you are looking for. These 3 tips will be of substantial help during this potentially very stressful period:
1. Write down your essential housing requirements. What is a must in your new home? Differentiate these essentials, can’t live without requirements from your want to have.
If you are a family of 5 and have your parents live with you for part of the year, your requirement may be a home with at least 3 bedrooms. If you are afraid of heights, living on lower floors or the ground floor is an essential. If you have pets, you’ll need a landlord who allows pets in your new building. These are all examples of what’s a must have.
A granite counter top which so many people on some home hunting TV shows are looking for is a want item. You can still live with other countertops. If the house is currently painted magnolia (the standard colour in the UK, it seems), while you like white walls, you can still ask the landlord to paint the walls before you move in. These are non-essentials and shouldn’t break the deal!
2. Location, location, location. In a city like Dubai, there are so many different neighbourhoods. They all come with their own little beauties and special character. It’s so easy to fall in love with them!
If you’re considering a new neighbourhood, spend some time to explore it first. Sometimes, you’ll get carried away visiting a certain area while living there may be a very different story. Ask your friends living in that area about their experience.
Things to look out for are traffic, vicinity to your kids’ school, shopping opportunities, restaurants, noise, places of worship and recreational opportunities, for example.
You may want to do a test drive from your desired neighbourhood to your office or to your kids’ school. Try different times, e.g. rush hour and off peak, to see how traffic can differ. Will parking (covered or open) be needed?
How comfortable are you with street noise or that coming from construction sites? How close to you want to be to places of worship? Where is the next supermarket? Will a small cornershop for emergencies or regular food shopping do? How close do you want to be to restaurants?
What kind of recreational activities are you looking for? Should they be indoor only or, once the weather allows, will you pursue outdoor activities in your neighbourhood?
3. Determine a realistic budget. Once you have established what you need, what you like and where you want to move to, set a realistic budget.
How much money can you use for your rent without having to suffer in other areas? In Europe, the formula is to spend up to 1/3 of your net income on rent. Some people pay more for rent, knowing that they will have less money available for other areas in their live and are happy with that sacrifice. How happy would you be if you had to give up something else in order to get that house you like but which is over your realistic budget?
Rents are currently going down in certain areas. Can you use this to your advantage?
Ask the landlord or the agent if paying in one cheque, provided you can afford this, will give you any discount.
As we’re going through the highs and lows of moving, I’ll keep you updated and share more tips making your move as smooth as possible.
Are you house hunting this summer? What has been the biggest pain for you in the past and how did you move around it this time? Can’t wait to hear from you!
Until next time,