30 helpful tips for looking for your first property.


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In the perfect world everyone would live in the home of their dreams in the perfect location with the perfect surroundings, this would remove the need for removal companies and moving house would be a thing of the past, luckily for us at Go Panda Removals Cardiff this simply isn’t the case.

In reality buying a house is a trade of different factors, location is very important for some people especially when considering commuting to work, surroundings such as entertainment or open spaces can be more important for families, the actual house you move into often slips down the priority list and is often the best one fitting your other moving home criteria.

Finding candidate houses

Before you can choose a house you need to find some houses to view, there are two basic methods to this.

Contacting estate agents can seem old fashioned and not time effective but it does have advantages of local knowledge and informing you as soon as a property becomes available that fits your criteria.

One method I find useful is gathering a large list of properties you are interested in then sifting through getting rid of ones that do not match your needs as well as others.

Searching the Internet

There are two main online portals available Rightmove and Zoopla (formerly find a property).

This can also be a good point of contact with estate agents in the locality of where you are looking for a house.


Physical Estate agents

Choose from reliable recommendations. Work with a qualified estate agent, regulated by the Guild of Professional Estate Agents, NAEA, or Property Ombudsman.

Research the estate agents of properties you have shortlisted.. There are many ways to research your choices. You can always use a search engine for any kind of information, including reviews, testimonials, comments from a company’s contractors, or even do an analysis of their website. Always read reviews provided by impartial companies such as yell.com or Google.

Call and register your details This will save you time in the future when you arrange viewings, this also gives you the chance to discuss what you’re looking for and may bring things to your attention you have may have not been aware of.

Once you have contacted a few reliable estates and had a quick browse on internet portals it’s time to start looking at actual properties. The first thing you’re going to be asked about is the location.

Location for Your New Home

A nice location can keep you in a property for a long time, an unsuited location can have you wishing you have never moved home in the first place.

Geographic location

Any place you chose to buy should be carefully planned, when buying your first house it is essential to put in the groundwork on location even more so. Considering the climate, your job opportunities, transport options, and the proximity of everything you intend to do in the following years. Needless to say, this all depends on your personal circumstances.


In this modern age direct neighbours seem to play a reduced role in purchasing a house. Whole reas are desirable not just individual streets.  If the neighbourhood has a bad reputation regarding safety, you might be best off avoiding it, often perception of areas is outdated with many former ‘no go’ areas turning into trendy areas of town where all the hipsters want to live. . There are plenty of facts and statistics available online for the particular area, so be sure to check those.


If you have children or intend to have children one day, it’s important to be in a schools catchment area. Not everyone is okay with letting their young kids travel a very long distance to school, even if transport is available. Schooling is now very competitive and the certain schools drive up prices especially in suburban areas with bigger housing stock.

The commute.

The length of your daily commute can have an impact on your income and your happiness in life, If you get to work by car or by public transport, you have to take into account the time and money you’ll need to get there. There are also additional factors, like losing your mind in standstill traffic every day. Our drivers at Go Panda Removals Cardiff are continually noting that the roads are getting busier, surely this is set to continue

Proximity to friends and family

Living close to friends and family is important for some people and less so for others. Being on a shared transport route can seriously increase the time you get to spend with friends and family.

Entertainment and Leisure

For me personally my entertainment and leisure needs have shifted dramatically since having a child. Being close to amenities is great and can save you traveling time and cab fares but this can factor can also be overegged as your needs will almost certainly change over time

Visit the property by day and by night

In order to help you understand what it will be like living in property, a night time visit can only help.  You can check out what happened after the sun goes down, see if the street is well lit and generally get a night time feeling of a place.


Property Exterior

You will almost certainly have a survey conducted prior to finalising a house purchase, this is an expensive process and you will usually only conduct it once unless you have serious issues with the property you have chosen question. Identifying potential issues can save you a lot of time and money. Always try to raise issues yourself and either discount a property with issues or understand what it will take to put it right.


Check the roof

If you’re buying opposed to a flat, it’s crucial to inspect the roof for signs of deteriation. Problem roofs can cause huge damage and the costs can add up to very significant figures difficult without getting up to roof level. An old looking roof often means you will have to deal with repairs or renovation at some point in the future. A newer-looking roof would most probably mean that it really is new. Look for any bowing or slant in the roof and talk to a professional.

Check the structure

Notice the state of the structure from the outside. How does it look like? Are there any cracks or damages along the surface? Virtually all homeowners, who put their property on the market, will probably do a good job of painting job to present it in the best way possible. But there are a lot of signs that might be a cause for concern. Look for the little things and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Things to look out for include large cracks and subsidence.

Check the surroundings

Examine the area around the building. Is the location of the structure at risk from any natural disasters, like a landslide, or flooding? It might actually be the reason behind a suspiciously low price.

Check if there are untoward smells

Any unpleasant smell around the can be reason to be alarmed. The smell of sewage, mold, or mildew might be caused by bad ventilation or plumbing. Pets owned by the previous owner may also be cause for an unwanted scent.

Check the outside space

If you’re buying a house with a yard, walk around it. Check how even the ground is. Many homeowners pay all of their attention to the house and not enough attention to the garden or land with it . Levelling land takes a great deal of work and it’s also a very expensive job if you decide to hire a professional gardener to do it. If the garden is uneven or in need of clearing it may be worth finding out costs before diving in,that said gardening can often be done after renovating your new home

Insulate and save money

Insulation is vital in modern housing, it will save you bills and keep you warm. Insulating is an expensive job so bear this in mind when you purchase a new property. External wall insulation is definitely worth investing in but will take around 5 years to pay back

Have a survey done by a professional

Like when choosing a removal company choosing a surveyor and the level of survey is very important. Read reviews of a surveyor and don’t pick purely on price. As for levels of survey this is totally dependent on your property. The options range from a home buyer report usually around £400-£500 to a full structural survey usually in excess of £1000. If you are buying a house which looks a bargain or needs a lot of work it is definitely worth taking a full survey or a derivative of. If you are buying a flat or new build a homebuyer report will often suffice.

Property interior

The property may be structurally sound but have real issues within, electrics, plumbing and drainage are just some of the things that can cause a headache after purchasing your first home or any home for that matter. Buildings in the UK must also be constructed and modified to a certain standard and certified by building control anything not done to this standard will stop you being able to rent and may stop you being able to sell.

Inspect the rooms

Desired room size has changed over the years, lots of people are going for open plan living spaces as opposed to 2 small rooms, usually sitting room and dining room. Bedroom size is also important as is bathroom size and location. Most people now desire a bathroom on the first floor where as in many old houses they are exclusively on the ground floor. Look for a house that you can live with its current proportions unless you are prepared to make serious alterations.

Inspect the plumbing

Try every tap and flush every toilet in the house and see if they work properly. Look for leaks and drips along any pipework visible, also look for staining on walls and ceiling associated with plumbing. You will have a surveyor check your final choice of house over but its always good to identify and weed out any houses which have obvious problems. Checking out the central heating system is also a must, buying a house with a boiler that is just about to die can be a very nasty surprise right at the wrong time. You can usually gauge the age of a boiler but look for clues such as make and model number.

Inspect the amount of natural light

Natural light is very important to a home and will depend on position of windows and orientation of the house. It is good to take a compass, most smart phones have the ability to act as a compass these days. Remember the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. This will also have an impact on any light your garden gets.

Inspect the kitchen

Replacing a kitchen can mean great expense and a great deal of time without cooking facilities, if you can make do with the kitchen currently in  house it is a great advantage, alternatively if it needs immediate replacement you need to allow for the cost and disturbance.

Inspect the bathroom

Check the bathrooms are in the right place and make any notes for changing or updating. Updating a bathroom by tiling and painting is a cheap way to get a new clean look without replacing the entire bathroom suite.

Inspect every switch and light

Try every light switch and every socket, if possible. It is difficult to effectively test wiring on your own you will definitely need a professional to look over your final choice of home, in the meantime you can look for signs of re-wiring work having been completed. Good to look for are new plug casings not just in a few rooms but consistently through the home this often indicated a recent rewire. If cables are not sunk into walls the trunking is also evidence or work being carried out recently.

Inspect the ceiling height

Ceiling height is usually not a problem on standard floors (ground and 1st) cellars and attic rooms can have height issues as can old properties. Make sure you can live with the height of the ceilings in your potential first property.

Safety Features

The safety features of a house are one of the things that usually drive the price up. However, choosing a new home with more features that guard your safety can offer you extra piece of mind.

Are there any security alarms?

With the many burglaries happening each year, you will need to have one of those. If there isn’t any, you can always install one yourself, but why go through the trouble? Get a house that already has one. If such are not currently available, it may be a valid point to negotiate the price to your advantage.

Are there deadbolts?

Deadbolts are locks on doors and windows that are especially hard to pick, even by experienced burglars.

Any smoke detectors?

Smoke alarms, or smoke detectors are the fine line between fire safety and a fatal end, not to mention serious property damage. Every home needs a mandatory smoke alarm in the kitchen, where most fire hazards occur, and for additional safety – in every sleeping room.

Is there an indoor sprinkler system?

The sprinkler system is an extra feature against residential fires and it can very often save lives. It’s gaining popularity among homeowners in recent years, which is why it’s a very valuable addition.


This Blog was written for  Go Panda removals Cardiff

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