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Press Article

Metro - 27 September 2012

House Hunting

By Jo Eccles

For a year now, my husband and I have been talking half-heartedly about moving and now we’re on a mission to buy a property. It’s been quite interesting to be in my clients’ shoes for a change!  I’ve even set up a client file for us in my office, so this is really happening, but I’m representing myself.

Whilst I know how to sell us as perfect buyers and how to persuade estate agents to make a one-off call to a home owner who hasn’t decided whether to sell yet, we are still struggling to decide where we actually want to live and what we are prepared to compromise on, versus what elements are genuine deal breakers.

It’s one thing walking around properties all day long on behalf of my clients, but it feels quite different doing it for myself; as I’d recommend with any home search, we have stripped our search back to basics. Whilst I know London inside out and what I want, I need to keep reminding myself that this is a joint process and also, that there is quite a good chance that we may end up choosing something completely different, as I see with my own clients time and time again.

So, we have had some calm (and not so calm!) discussions about areas and likes/dislikes, and have dedicated the past few weekends to what I would call ‘an orientation tour’. This is basically a process of elimination whereby you target different areas each weekend over a succession of a few weeks and view a selection of different properties in each. I can guarantee that any buyer will quickly narrow down what appeals and what doesn’t. And I can also guarantee that small characteristics, which you probably hadn’t even thought about before, will start to jump out as important. Of course, a good buying agent will draw your attention to some of the small details which may get overlooked and they will also organise this process for you to do it in the most efficient and productive manner. But for those without representation, my advice is to get stuck in and go through the process of elimination.

After a few weeks of viewings, you should be fairly clear on what you’re looking for – and what’s realistic. You can then start to focus your search which is when things start to get exciting.

A word of caution though, if you can’t draw any conclusions or narrow down your likes or dislikes, then chances are you’re not actually ready to take the leap of buying right now.