08 Mar 2017
The TV show Location, Location, Location made Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer household names* - viewers couldn’t get enough of their savvy house hunting advice. The secret of the show’s success was in the title, as we all know that location is one of the most important parts of choosing your home.
If you get it wrong...well, it’s not like you can take it back, receipt in hand, and exchange it. And although you can always renovate and decorate your house to make it your own, you can’t renovate a location!
So how do you avoid making that big locational error? We’ll take a look at the steps involved in finding the perfect spot for your first home.
1. Dream a little dream
This may sound like a strange piece of advice to receive from a financial institution, but hear us out. You need to be happy in your home, so when you close your eyes and think of where you’d like to live, where would that be?
While sunning yourself in the Med might be the dream, you do need to keep reality in mind. And don’t just think of your immediate dream-surroundings – dream big, and also think about the things you’d like nearby.
2. Check affordability
Ah, reality. It’s time to bring that back into the mix.
Take your list of locations and the type of area you’d like to live in and have a look around property websites. Search for homes in price ranges you know you can afford and see if your dream locations show up. If not, have a look at whether any of the alternatives fit the characteristics you jotted down before.
To get into the extra nitty-gritties, why not go full-scale sleuth and do a Google Maps search of the local area? That way, even if an area is unfamiliar, you can see where it is and what’s nearby.
3. Measure ‘funximity’
In case you’re wondering, that’s your proximity to fun – as it’s important to be reasonably close to things you enjoy. If hiking in the Dublin Mountains is top of your fun list, for example, then Swords will be a bit of trek. And not the kind of trek you’ve signed up for!
Whether you’re into spinning classes, extreme ironing, or competitive dog grooming, your hobbies are important so it helps if they’re close to home.
4. Call on friends and family
You’ll be surprised by what friends, family and colleagues know about certain areas and streets. Ask what the people you trust think about a particular location. Keep track of their concerns and, of course, of all the good stuff they have to say too.
You may even find a friend of a friend who lives in an area who can give you a first-hand account of what it’s really like. This kind of research is invaluable when you’re considering an area that you don’t know very well.
Plus, it’s a good excuse to call in for a cuppa and a natter if you haven’t seen a friend for a while!
5. Test commuting
Although your job location may change over time, you do need to figure out how fast you can get from your home to your place of work. While it doesn’t need to be round the corner or only right for Speedy Gonzales, you do need relatively easy access.
Test the route out, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area. What looks like a 20 minute spin could actually turn out to be an hour long crawl at 8am! The joys of rush hour traffic.
6. Get around town
Checking your commute is one thing, but how do you get home after a night out on the tiles? Is it difficult to get public transport or a taxi after a certain time? Will a trip to and back from the local Chinese cost a fortune?
Even if you’re not a party animal, you’ll still want to pop to the shops, cinemas or exhibitions at the weekends. Check the options for getting around town at all times of day. While it’s not a deal-breaker, it can be a nuisance if you end up feeling stranded!
7. Get educated on schools
Now, this step won’t apply to everyone, especially if your ‘baby’ is your beloved cat or dog, but for parents or those planning a family, nearby schools is a big one.
Besides, a house is a long-term investment so even if kids aren’t in the plan now, they might be ten years down the line. Check out local areas for crèches and schools and visit schooldays.ie for more info.
8. Chat with a mortgage advisor
Steady on! A chat doesn’t have to be a serious commitment. A chat with one of our mortgage advisors can help you get your ducks in a row. Plus, our advisors have heaps of experience when it comes to buying homes and have helped many first time buyers make the right choices.
We’ll sense check your choice, run through any concerns, and maybe even give you a few more options to consider. Sorted.
And there you have it, eight steps to go through to find the ideal location of your first home! Happy house hunting!
Thinking of applying for your first mortgage?
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If you want to know more about applying for a mortgage, a 30 Minute Mortgage Meeting with an EBS mortgage advisor will set you straight.
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*If we mention celebrities, we're not saying they love us. They secretly might, but it doesn't mean they endorse us.