How can I find my dream home?

Angela Ellis

The property portals, such as Rightmove and Zoopla, encourage you to register with them so that when suitable homes come onto the market, they can let you know as soon as possible. It’s also worth registering with local agents as well, as they’ll know about which homes will be coming onto the market long before the portals do. 

One thing the portals have, which most buyers don’t know about (or use), is the keyword feature. Perhaps you’re looking for a garage or a utility room? This tool makes them easier to find. Simply start a new property search, refine your criteria and add your keywords (you can add more than one). It’ll prioritise those in the results it shows you. If you can’t see what you’re looking for currently on the market, we offer a free home search tool to help you find it. Whether you’re looking to buy here in our area (Watford, Bushey, Hemel Hempstead and surrounding areas) or beyond, we can help you. Simply call one of our branches to take advantage of that service. 

The most important piece of advice we can give you would be to trust your agent’s knowledge of the properties they’re marketing. Be flexible when viewing something that initially might sound like it doesn’t tick ALL the boxes. Lots of people buy something different to what was on their original checklist. Myself included. I ended up compromising on location and moving further out than planned, buying a barn (which we’d never considered an option) in a completely unfamiliar area. The craziest part was when, a fortnight later, we decided to drive around the area to see what it was like. Around 400 metres up from the property we were buying was a house we’d driven to and ruled out as it was “too far away”.
Back to you and your dream home. A reputable agent will know their properties well. Their experience of being there, understanding what your priorities are and knowing how it could work for you will pay off. You might have conversations like “I know you said the garden needed to be a minimum 50ft, this is only 45ft but the size of the kitchen and the position of the current dining room means you could put the children’s play room downstairs”. Or “I know you said you wouldn’t consider a barn…”.
Be open-minded. And if you need to sell in order to buy, make sure the agent you choose will have these types of conversations with your potential buyers.