Buying a property is a fantastic opportunity to invest your money in something that will build wealth over time. Over the long term, buying is cheaper than renting and you’ll be glad you did it. It’ll also be an opportunity to create a home for you and your family, making your mark and creating a space you enjoy spending time in – something you also don’t always get from renting.

If you’re new to house hunting, or even a seasoned veteran of the property market, there are always a few things worth taking into consideration that will aid you in finding your perfect home. Check out these great tips below:

Shop around

The best place to start looking for a new home is online. There are a number of great sites and apps available that will help you get started on your great house hunt. Once you decided on where you want to start viewing it’ll be important to get the estate agents to work in your favour. Get them onside and you’ll find out more information than the average buyer, who to them are just a dime a dozen. Be the best house buyer you can be.

Visit multiple times

When you go to view a property it is a good idea to arrive early. It is definitely beneficial to explore the local area before you decide if this is the house for you. You will also be able to take your time when viewing the property. Consider also viewing the property at a different time of day, if not to see the interior again, then to see what the area is like in the evening. If it’s an area with lots of bars and restaurants then it could be quite noisy in the evening.

If you view a property that you instantly fall in love with, your judgement may be clouded after just one viewing. It may be easy to forget to ask the important questions and to overlook critical details. Consider taking an experienced buyer with you at least once to make sure that your viewings are productive.

Talk to the neighbours

Provided you make it through the rigmarole of house hunting, with endless viewings in all the locations you might want to consider, then you’ll have hopefully found your ideal home. But there are a few other things to consider than just the property you’re about to buy.

By talking to the surrounding neighbours you are not only able to find out a lot about the neighbourhood. Ask about the pros and cons of the area. There are a number of tools and apps available online that can help you find out about the area and its crime rate, proximity to restaurants and entertainment, and other useful information but nothing beats a little bit of local knowledge from the people who already live there.

Borrow within your means

It pays to have some money to set aside for a deposit when you’re looking to buy a house. It will not only make it easier to secure a mortgage, but it will also mean that there is some equity in your property as soon as you buy it.  There are a range of different mortgages available, so take some to decide which one might be right for you. A mortgage broker or Independent Financial Advisor will be able to compare different mortgage deals on the market – but they will charge for their advice.

In general you will be able to get a mortgage with a deposit of between 5% – 20%, but the best deals are only sometimes available with a deposit of at least 25%. Since the credit crisis, lenders have been more cautious about who they lend to. So make sure you can meet the repayment demands, especially in the event that your circumstances change or if interest rates were to rise.

Consider renting

If you’re not ready to move yet and are still saving for a deposit, or if you decide that owning a home isn’t right for you, then renting is still a sensible option. An increasing number of people are choosing to rent and the range of rented accommodation on offer is better than ever. Over a fifth of 35-44 year olds prefer the freedom of renting. The benefits are that it is usually cheaper than owning and bills are more predictable too. With fewer outgoings you will be able to save money. Renting also offers flexibility in that you will be able to move between properties relatively quickly as compared to owning. The same tips for house hunting still apply to the rental market so be sure to shop around before you settle on the home you want.