Is a house move top of your list of priorities this year? If so it can be a daunting prospect when your must-have list already extends to a couple of pages! Here we help you identify those must-haves that are non-negotiable so that you quickly and easily focus your search on areas and properties that are a good match to your requirements.

1.       Location, location, location

This has to be top of any list. You can change almost anything else about your home, but you will never be able to change the location. Think carefully about what’s important to you and your family. Is it a shorter commute to work or perhaps it’s proximity to parks, playgrounds and schools? Consider also how well the neighbourhood is serviced in terms of shops, public transport, access to the motorway or any other aspect that’s important to you and your family. Draw up a shortlist of possible suburbs and then go and visit these areas at different times to get a real sense of what the neighbourhood is like. You don’t want to discover that what appeared to be a peaceful area on a Saturday morning turns into a boy racing track on Saturday night.

2.       Think long-term

Will that cosy, compact villa still meet your needs if Junior comes along in three years’ time? A home may not be forever but it makes sense to choose one that not only meets your needs now, it will also suit your lifestyle into the future as well. And so if you have elderly parents that are likely to come and stay, then it may well be worth focusing your search on properties with a downstairs bedroom and bathroom. Perhaps you are planning on setting up as a consultant in say five years’ time in which case it’s a good idea to search for a home with an extra bedroom that can be converted into a home office. When house hunting try and anticipate your future needs as well as satisfying your current ones.

3.       Decide what features are important

Older homes tend to have more architectural features but can be short on storage. Newer homes may have a bigger floor space but often have much smaller gardens. Think about what’s really important to you and your lifestyle. Are natural light and lots of windows a priority? Perhaps it’s having room for your boat or trailer? Or perhaps you need lots of storage space for your skis and snowboards? And if you own a dog, having a large outdoor space will be important. Spending time now on deciding what the important features are for you will save you time in the long run by narrowing down your search criteria to focus only on those that really satisfy your needs.

House hunting can be an exciting time but it can also be exhausting and frustrating. Use these top tips to focus your search on the things that are really important to you so that your house hunting is an enjoyable rather than exasperating experience.