Reading through house price predictions for 2014 and beyond the usual bullish arguments pervade.

Which isn’t surprising given that 2013 (and I’m excluding London from this) was, in the end, after a cold, slow beginning, pretty good for activity and prices.

For whatever reason you have decided to move, be it a relocation, a move out of London, downsizing to a more manageable property or maybe looking for a some land, finding the right property for you is what matters.

Don’t worry too much about what is happening in the market, you can easily become carried away, walking away from properties that might work well with a few changes or settling on something in not so suitable location wise because nothing else is available.

If you are a good buyer, ie. have your finances ready and your current property already sold or under offer, then you will come across as serious to vendors and agents and that really matters. Wasting vendors time costs both money and emotion and time.

The key is to believe that in most cases prices probably balance themselves out over time. You have to bring your asking price down to sell, the same market will probably let you buy your next house at a better price than you thought. If you are moving to a more expensive property in percentage terms you are not losing out. Moving to somewhere smaller, you will hopefully save considerably on outgoings and maintenance costs that could cancel out any price compromise quite quickly. Don’t think you have to be a house trader, in the end your life will dictate when you decide to move

Just when you think you might have lost out on ‘the one’, some houses come back to you, even when you think you’ve lost out. Not sure there is a science to that, but it happens quite often!

Finding a home that you fall in love with and works for you is your aim. It could be somewhere you hadn’t really considered within your search area, a style you thought that you weren’t that keen on, a house with a smaller amount of land than you first hoped for or not so cut off from everyone as you had imagined you would like. And all these factors could turn out to be something that you could have been looking for all along because actually it works quite well for you. Do you need that many bathrooms … would you enjoy mowing endless lawns all weekend (or paying someone else to)?

That’s when a dedicated home search by someone who knows the area can really help you. They know what is out there and what could be possible and can probably look ahead and reasonably predict what you might like to be doing in five years time, or another suitable timeframe.

So some suggestions might be surprising but actually work quite well. Which of course is not to say that they are all pursued!

Couples can have very different ideas of where or how they like to live and this can alter as you start viewing options. There is nothing wrong with this, better to be reasonably flexible to end up with the right home for you all. It’s a big commitment.

Don’t necessarily dismiss properties that you think might be slightly compromised. When I lived in London I bought a flat next to a lift (ok, not ideal but first flat and perfect otherwise), a flat opposite a pub and by restaurants,(bedrooms at the back of the house so noise was not a problem). And another up lots of stairs (upside, kept you fit and no noise at all in the middle of London). At first viewing they weren’t perfect because of those reasons but ended up working really well.

So if you’re trying to absorb all the New Year predictions and views and forecast percentage increases (yes, usually increases, oddly..!) what you should really be doing is just thinking about where you would (realistically!) like to be and how you would like to be living in six months time along with sort a budget you would comfortable spending. Don’t worry about the market too much, trust your instinct and take some advice if you feel that would help … it can make the process much clearer.

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