Ten big decisions to consider when buying a home
We all dream of the perfect home but finding it will ultimately come down to practical decisions like location, amenities and energy sources such as natural gas
Choosing an energy source that is right for your home can offer benefits that last a lifetime. Natural gas is the first choice for over 647,000 homes in Ireland today. Photograph: iStock
When buying a new home there are several key decisions to make, many with far-reaching consequences that could stay with you for decades. Sometimes, in the rush to become a homeowner, you might overlook an important factor that only becomes apparent as you settle into your new abode. We have put together a list that should be considered before making the biggest purchase of your life.
1. Location, location, location
Are you going to go with a rural or urban location? Will you pick a busy housing estate or a quieter cul-de-sac? Are there schools, shops and amenities close by? Is the property on the natural gas network? These are all key factors to consider when choosing a location. A busy housing estate will most likely mean an active social life for you and the kids but if you are someone who enjoys peace and quiet, a move to the country could be on the cards. Being near good schools is almost always a top priority for young families but so too is good leisure and recreational outlets. Access to a reliable, cost-effective and convenient energy supply is also crucial.
2. Buying along public transport routes
This is an important consideration given that very many jobs are now based in major urban hubs. When moving to a suburb or satellite town of a major city, it’s important to check out if the area is well serviced by bus or rail. You may even be able to cycle or car pool. A house situated very close to a Luas line or a Dart line may also add to the value of the property, so it’s important to consider this when purchasing your home.
3. Property size and number of bedrooms
You might be embarking on your starter home as a couple, and all you can think about is moving in and throwing your first grown-up dinner or housewarming party. However, it’s important to remember, while the size of the property and number of bedrooms may not be an issue now, this could become a problem down the line.
How much money you decide to spend, or the size of mortgage you are able to access, will impact greatly on the type of property you buy and its location. Firstly, you must determine how much you can afford to spend and then look at the trade-offs you are willing to make. House-hunting requires some form of compromise so it’s important to write a priority list, including the areas where you won’t budge and those where you might allow for some wriggle room. It’s also important to consider the commitment of paying a mortgage, compared to the very few strings attached to renting.
5. Choosing the right energy for your home
Choosing an energy source that is right for your home can offer benefits that last a lifetime. Natural gas, for example, is the first choice for over 647,000 homes in Ireland today. Why? Energy efficiency is becoming an increasingly important consideration in all of our lives. With natural gas, in combination with renewable technologies, new houses are guaranteed to achieve a fully proven ‘A’ rated home. Natural gas offers significant savings for home energy compared to other fuels available.
6. Interior design, fixtures and fittings and appliances
You have been handed the keys to your new home and are looking at a blank canvas, a bright new space ready to be filled with your ideas. Injecting your personality into the property is one of the most exciting things about becoming a homeowner. Everything, from the carpet you lay in the bedrooms to the appliances you put in the kitchen, will affect day-to-day living. For example, if speed and precision are required when cooking, then a natural gas cooker might be the solution. Should you require comfort and warmth in the bedroom, opting for carpet over wooden floors might be the way to go.
7. Buying close to family, or not
In a rural location, you may be one of the lucky ones who has been given a plot of land, close to the family homestead, where you can build your dream home. Living close to family and friends is an important factor to consider, whether you live in an urban hub or a rural location. When it comes to starting your family, grandparents, aunts and uncles are life-savers and can be extremely helpful when it comes to babysitting and helping out with the little ones. It’s also nice to be able to pop in for tea and a chat with family and friends.
8. Choosing the right property for you
Have you always dreamed of an old house with character that may require a lot of commitment, time and energy in the long run? Or is the convenience of walking into a turnkey house more up your street? We all know someone who had their heart set on that old country farmhouse, who suddenly bought a modern showhouse. Ease and convenience often win out on the day, so it’s important to keep an open mind.
9. Spend your full budget on the purchase or retain a portion to renovate
You may have had your heart set on a shiny new kitchen with an island unit and underfloor heating. Or maybe you want to turn your two-bed pad into a three-bedroom property? But decorating and renovations can be costly. So, do you spend all your money on buying the best property you can right now and put all those renovations on the long finger or do you keep some cash aside to be able to turn your home into the one you always dreamed of? You will have to live with this decision for a while so it’s an important one to consider.
10. Taking the time to evaluate the property properly
Taking your time could save you major costs further down the line. You might bring a professional along to help you evaluate the property but even things like slippery decking, or a toilet that doesn’t flush will cost money when you sign on the dotted line. Therefore it’s better to really have a true idea of the property before you purchase. Perhaps chat to the neighbours to get a sense of the property and the area. For example, a pest van parked outside the house on a regular basis could point to a bigger problem.
For more, see gasnetworks.ie