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When you're ready to start searching for a new home or accommodation, you might feel excited, nervous or just downright terrified. Whatever your emotions, it's natural to want to ensure you have everything in place before going out looking. You don't want to miss out on an opportunity because you weren't prepared.
That's where our home-hunting checklist comes in handy!
Checking all the necessary items off your list will make finding your new home easier and less stressful. Let's consider some things you should look for when doing so.

The 'Must-have' vs the 'Nice-to-have'

When looking for a new home or academic base of operation, most people have a general area in mind; however, there are many factors to consider as you narrow your search down, including commute times, school districts, neighbourhood safety, and liveability. Depending on your stage of life, the must-haves will look very different. A young professional seeking a starter home is likely to be more concerned with the local downtown offerings. In contrast, a family is more concerned with the school district and the surrounding community.

Budget is a great place to start! And whilst you don't have to go through the pre-qualification process to go on home tours and consider a purchase, knowing what you're comfortable spending will help you narrow down your options.

- Budget (£)_________
- Bedrooms _________
- Commute  _________ (minutes)
- In-unit washer/dryer _________

Location, Location, and err... Location.

Being the worst house on the best street is better than being the best house on the worst street. The benefits of this aren't just in terms of house prices; you'll also live on a safer and better-maintained street.

- Check out our area guide -
Our area guides are a great starting point since we include local amenities, entertainment nearby, and even relevant bus routes.

- Check out community pages on social media.
This can be a great way to see what's happening in the area, events, parties, potential drama, or just what kind of community the area has.

- Check Internet speeds -
In the modern era working from home is becoming a lot more common, or maybe you're a student who's trying to submit their assignment at 11:59 pm; either way, you'll want a decent internet connection to not let you down.

OK, you've found a location you're happy with; what now?

- Look up a property in the area (such as on our property search)!

Now you've found the potential property of your dreams (based on pictures), what steps should you take before booking a viewing?

If the website doesn't provide this information on the listing page, you can find out extra information here:
- - one particular thing to look out for is whether the property is freehold or leasehold; it could be cause for concern if the property is a leasehold with a short amount of time left on it.
- - Most property websites provide this, but you can dig a little deeper using the government energy certificate finder.

You've found a nice location, trawled through countless properties, and you think you've found the property of your dreams - but how do you know if you're being catfished?

You've got the date, but now you need to test the waters to know if that beauty is skin deep or whether there's something underneath you need to be cautious of; here are some quick and easy things you can check for to avoid being stung down the line:

- Damp spots - this could eventually turn into black mould.
- Old-fashioned plugs and switches could mean the property needs rewiring.
- An old boiler - that looks like it will kick the bucket when it gets cold, leaving you scrambling for blankets.
- Weak toilet flushing - could indicate pipe clogging and lead to issues down the line (no pun intended).
- Rotten window frames - could indicate water leaking through and inadequate maintenance.

Even though our properties should not have any of these issues and are regularly inspected, if you are viewing one of our properties and notice any of these items, please let us know so that we can rectify them as soon as possible.

Stay Up To Date On Safety Regulations

Check out safety regulations; you should always look for shared properties with a full fire alarm system with sprinklers. It might seem obvious, but many flats are covered by British Standard part 6, which only requires a shared community fire alarm for the lobby and not for the other bedrooms. It will be worth the extra price since the cost of failure is your life - Especially in buildings with cladding.
- Fire detection in each room.
- Fire extinguisher in a convenient common location

While you might have a checklist of things you need and want, you'll find that a single property will only tick some boxes. Still, keep it on your list. When looking for a new place, consider that sometimes things you think are deal breakers aren't.

Good luck, and happy hunting!

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