The Do’s and Don’ts of Buying a Home
Buying a home represents a significant outlay of money, of course, so it’s a process that you want to get just right. As you might expect from a major purchase, there are a number of things to consider before you finally sign on the dotted line, so here are a few tips that can make the experience a more rewarding one.
Don’t overstretch your finances
While it’s only natural to want the best house, the largest rooms, the most attractive location and the most sought-after neighbourhood, you need to be sure that you keep control of your finances. Work out beforehand just how much you can afford to repay and try to remain within budget for all aspects of the purchase.
Do remember that the housing market is subject to change
Anyone who tells you that they can definitely predict future changes in the housing market is likely to mislead you. This sector is constantly changing, and many of those changes are extremely unpredictable. When people say the value of your investment can go up or down, they are right. Always expect the unexpected.
Do some research about your chosen neighbourhood
Even if you find the perfect house, that once in a lifetime property that ticks all the right boxes, you need to be happy living in that particular location. If you move in and find the area too noisy, not noisy enough, too far from the shops, over-run by parked cars or any other potential issue, you might find that you regret the purchase. Be prepared to do some homework before you agree to the move.
Ask plenty of questions
Make sure you ask lots of questions about the property itself and about the area in which it’s located. A top quality estate agent will have a wealth of knowledge about the local vicinity, of course, and about the flat or house. If you need to know more, always speak to the experts, and of course don’t be afraid to ask the current owners, too.
Compare upcoming costs before you move in
When you move in, there will no doubt be dozens of issues that need to be taken care of, but you can hit the ground running by arranging some matters beforehand. Home insurance costs can vary greatly from one provider to another, but you can compare policies in advance and save money from the start. The same applies to domestic energy bills, so be ready to look around. If you need advice about anything related to the home, remember the estate agent is there to help you right from the start.
Walton Bridge on Thames, JMW Turner
A Short but Fascinating History of Walton on Thames
We tend to think of Walton on Thames in terms of how we see it today, a pleasant town that can be described as having the attractiveness of rural Surrey and the convenience of suburban London. It has become a lovely place in which to put down roots, but it should be noted that it has a proud, diverse and fascinating history.
Walton on Thames started life as little more than a river crossing that connected Surrey with Middlesex, and there are claims that Julius Caesar crossed the waters here during his second invasion of Britain in 54BC. These claims could well be true, because it was certainly possible to do so at that time.
Over the centuries Walton on Thames and the surrounding area remained a collection of small hamlets located on and around the roads from Chertsey and Guildford to the city of London. While it remained a relatively quiet area, there have been a number of important archaeological finds in recent times.
They include a number of cinerary urns, which were used to contain the ashes of the deceased after cremations, a Neolithic flint dagger and an uninscribed gold coin which was found in the Thames. These finds show there was a distinctive amount of activity in the vicinity.
It all started with a humble river crossing
The beginnings of the town can perhaps be traced back to a toll crossing on a wooden bridge that was established by a Mr Samuel Dicker in 1750. This was the first in a long line of bridges at Walton that led to the current construction which opened as recently as 2013. Previous incarnations were famously painted by Canaletto and Turner.
As is the case with so many other locations around London, it was the construction and development of the railways which transformed Walton on Thames from a village into a town. First established in 1838, the local station now handles almost three million passenger movements every year.
A number of famous names have had strong links with Walton on Thames over the years, including the celebrated naval commander Admiral George Rodney, who was born in the town. Hollywood superstar Dame Julie Andrews and rock singer Nick Lowe were also born here. Some of the famous names who have lived in houses in Walton on Thames include former US President Herbert Hoover and one-time US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
To Extend or not to Extend? That is the Question
As families expand, the space they need to live in expands as well, and this can often lead to problems in the ensuing years. As toddlers grow into young children and then into teenagers, the inevitable battle for space within the home increases. Something has to give in the end, if only to give everyone room to breathe.
Home owners have a simple choice when more space is needed; either they move home altogether, or they expand the property they currently have. In truth, there is no right or wrong answer here, because option A will work for some while others may only be able to choose option B.
If you decide to buy a home that’s larger and more spacious, you can take a little time to select the one that ticks all of your boxes. You will have to bear in mind the need to ensure everyone has enough room, and of course you have to think about any future additions to the family which might come along.
There is an alternative, of course, and it involves increasing the amount of space that you have in your current home. There are a number of options which may or may not be open to you, including:
Which option suits your needs?
Which you choose will depend on the type of property you already have, of course. A conservatory is a popular choice, because it can be added to the rear of the property and it will offer pleasant views of the garden. In some properties, it tends to serve as an extra lounge for relaxing, or perhaps as a playroom for the younger children.
Loft conversions are often selected by home owners who are looking to add an extra bedroom, or perhaps a home office. Many loft spaces are extremely spacious, and as such they offer a range of excellent possibilities. If you’re thinking about this strategy, don’t forget to factor in the space needed to access the area.
An extension to the home is another possibility, although it should be noted that planning permission may be needed in some cases. If the rooms in your home are somewhat cramped at the moment, adding an extra room or two via an extension represents a tempting alternative. All these options will prove to be valuable plus points when you decide to sell your home at a later date.
Here at James Neave the Estate Agents, we are always happy to discuss your needs. Feel free to give us a call today.
Are you ready to Downsize now?
At any given time in the UK, there will be a number of people looking into downsizing their home. In many instances, it’s part of the circle of life, of course. In most cases, families will have grown, children will have flown the nest and the people that remain simply don’t need the space anymore.
Extra rooms remain empty, gardens become a little too large for the owner’s needs and, in some cases, the property requires too much maintenance to remain a viable option. At some point, most home owners will look into the pros and cons of downsizing to somewhere smaller and more hassle-free.
It makes sense to do so, of course, for a number of reasons, but that doesn’t mean the process will be an easy, straightforward one. Some people will have a strong emotional attachment to the property, having spent many decades there and, of course, having brought their children up within those walls.
This is completely understandable, but it’s something that most people overcome. It’s a wrench to move, but the benefits eventually outweigh the upset. Moving to a smaller home may seem like a backward step at first, but in many ways it’s far more of a forward one.
More space, more time, more freedom
If the garden is smaller and more manageable, so much the better, and of course there is no need to keep unwanted spare rooms fully maintained and decorated. The move provides the perfect opportunity to de-clutter, and in many cases the financial benefits of downsizing can make a real difference.
With less of a need to clean, tidy, redecorate and maintain comes an increase in the amount of free time for you to enjoy, not to mention more spare cash. Those of a certain age are becoming more mobile, more active and more free than ever before, and downsizing has often played a part in this development.
Thanks to James Neave the Estate Agent you can sell your current home and find a smaller, more manageable one with ease. The emotional ties that you have with a property may be a little difficult to overcome at first, but once you’ve decided to move the process need not be upsetting any longer.
It’s not always easy for parents to come to terms with life at home after their sons and daughters have left, but of course it’s all part of life’s long cycle. So-called empty nest syndrome takes a little time to come to terms with, but once it’s accepted you start to realise there’s a big wide world out there waiting for you. Downsizing your home can be the first step towards an exciting new chapter.
Sights, Sounds and Smells: How to Prepare your Home for Viewing
When you have to show your home to potential buyers, or indeed to potential renters, there are a number of important factors to take into consideration. And while there will be plenty of minor details that need to be taken care of, the most important thing to remember is that you are trying to make your property stand out from the rest.
It’s vital for you to bear in mind the fact that viewers are almost certainly going to be looking at a number of homes, and several of those on their list will seem like much of a muchness by the time the viewing process is complete. By that stage, you want your house or flat to be the one that ticked all the right boxes.
First impressions are crucial
If the outside of your home is untidy, unkempt and uncared for, the impact on potential buyers or renters can be devastating. In some instances, viewers will have made their minds up before they have even knocked on the door, so it’s important for the outside of the place to look as good as the inside. Therefore, tidy up the front garden and keep the area clean.
A de-clutter is vital
People make their minds up very quickly about individual rooms, and that’s why chaos and clutter are definite drawbacks. Make sure your home is as tidy as it can be, and that means disinfecting kitchen surfaces, cleaning mirrors and polishing furniture. Nobody expects to see a show home, of course, but an organised and tidy property is more likely to appeal to viewers.
Don’t forget the outside
While you might make every effort to leave the inside of your home sparkling, you must not forget the outside. Garden rubbish, discarded toys and unused implements are a no-no here. There are many people for whom the garden is a major selling point, so be sure to put the effort in. The same applies to outbuildings such as sheds, workshops, garages and summer houses.
Make it a sensory experience for viewers
If you thought it was a cliché to have the aroma of fresh coffee in the home during a viewing, you’d be right, but it really does work. Viewers to your property will vote with their noses as well as their eyes when they visit, so it’s also a good idea to have flowers in one or two rooms as well. The TV should be switched off at this stage, but it doesn’t hurt to have some pleasant, understated music on in the background while people wander around.
Here at James Neave, we are always happy to offer advice and guidance on property matters. If you’d like further information, please get in touch with our experts today.
38 High Street, Walton on Thames, Surrey, KT12 1DE
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