We all dream of that ideal home we’d buy if we won the lottery, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for second best.

Once you know how much you can afford, there’s nothing stopping you finding the best you can buy within your budget.

Dreams can be scaled down! A grand Victorian botanical greenhouse can be a cute garden shed, or small glass green house. It’ll be less work to maintain a handful of plants anyway.

Having dreams is part of being human, it’s what gets us up each day, but don’t let big dreams overwhelm you into thinking you can’t achieve them, just adapt them to the situation you’re in.

Yes, buying a house can be very stressful, it’s a big step whether you’re a first time buyer or a seasoned veteran with a long list of moves behind you, so I’m not saying it’s all day dreams and cute white picket fences.

Know what you want when house hunting, fight for what you want, fulfil your dreams, but do keep your eyes open, as some stunning dream homes are not what they seem, in reality they are a beautiful façade hiding a pit of horrors rather than a treasure trove.

So here are our 5 tips to avoiding pitfalls in your search for a dream home


Work out your non-negotiables beforehand. This isn’t the areas you could be persuaded on, these are the things you definitely want and definitely don’t want.

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An example could be that you will not look at a property with only one bathroom. You might be happy to negotiate regarding where the bathroom is situated and the size, be it a small water closet down stairs and a four-piece family bathroom upstairs, or an en suite shower room and a family bathroom. But one bathroom would just simply not work for you and there’s no changing your mind.

Old or new build

Old houses have so much character, my favourite being properties from the Victorian and Georgian era, but even homes built as recent as the late 20th century have aspects you need to look out for.

The top worries for most house buyers are subsidence, and damp, plus the products used to build and decorate properties in the past, many of which are now seen as seriously bad for our health such as lead paint and asbestos.

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All of these should be taken seriously as they can cost you a lot financially, and more importantly some can even cost you your health.

Don’t despair though, if you have the budget and you’ve found a property you don’t want to turn your back on, even though it’s falling apart and hasn’t been updated in over a century, there are specialist teams out there ready to help.

From reinforcing the walls, rooting out the problems causing the damp or subsidence, to fully kitted out teams brought in to remove asbestos safety. As long as you seek professional help and don’t attempt to do major jobs yourself it should all work out.

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Remember new builds aren’t problem free either! Research the companies building and designing the properties as you want to know they have a good reputation.

The local government sites are a great help here too when it comes to researching planning permission. With details on flood risk, soil contamination, noise pollution and much more, you can find all the details within their records.

It’s a wise starting point when investigating whether a new build property is right for you.

Location, location, location

Kirsty Allsopp and Phil Spencer’s TV show is popular for a reason. House hunters can have a very long list to tick off when searching for their ideal home, and a huge hurdle for some is definitely the location.

If you have children or plan to have children being in the catchment area of a school you feel would support your child’s full potential, is definitely a non-negotiable. Although this can unfortunately add a large increase in the asking price for many family homes.

If you haven’t started a family yet or they’re still very young you could consider moving to an up-and-coming areas where schools maybe struggled in the past, but have improved greatly and destined to achieve new heights if they carry on improving as they are.

Yes it could be a risk, but even schools with exemplary Ofsted ratings can change over time, good or bad.

Transport links

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I know this could be placed under location, but it’s such an important topic it deserves to stand on its own.

There are people who can happily drive or sit on public transport for an hours or more to and from work, but they are not the majority.

Most people find that time spent travelling takes away precious time that could be spent with family and friends, or relaxing and recharging.

Having a clear idea as to how far you’re prepared to travel is a great start, but not fool proof! With your top properties in mind have a drive around the area at rush hour, and school pick up times.

Is your road a rat run, are there enough bus’s near to home, and are the trains reliable? Yes it might say there’s two an hour, but how often are commuters left on the platform and squeezing onto packed trains.

Trial runs are a great answer. Drive the route to and from work – remembering to leave at the time you would normally leave! The same goes for public transport, it’s easy to convince ourselves when we want that dream home that the commute will be fine.

But trying out each journey takes the guess work away and shows you what you truly have ahead of you, and remember it will be each and every work day.

Green belt land

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A view is a must have for me, feeling penned in with only other houses to look at does not suit me at all. This could be achieved by purchasing an apartment on a high floor, a large garden, and even cleverly purchasing a property on a hill, they can all work.

But remember a view can change, from taller buildings being built blocking your view, to the beautiful patch of green belt land in front of your home being sold for development.

What will happen to an area of green belt land is certainly an important consideration. With a crisis in the amount of homes needed in the UK, the government have started allocating these once untouchable plots of land for development.

Don’t let these 5 tips fill you full of worry, moving home is stressful enough. The aim is to use them to reduce the overall stress, and empower you with the knowledge needed to manoeuvre around possible obstacles on your way to realising your dream.

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