Advice on choosing a home in Northern Ireland

Choosing a home is a difficult decision. Buying a property is the most expensive decision most of us will ever make. It takes significant time to purchase a property and it isn’t easily reversed and remedied if you make the wrong decision. Therefore it is important to consider the following factors when buying property.


Your budget will determine what and where you can buy. Your choice will often be for a smaller property in a highly desirable area or a larger property in a less popular area. Properties in a highly desirable area often prove to be a better investment as they increase in value more relative to properties of the same price in less desirable areas. From an investment perspective often a good compromise is to pick a location on “the way up”.


What are the most important factors for you:

  • How good are the local amenities such as schools, transport, shops and parks?
  • What leisure facilities such as restaurants, cinemas, sports or other recreational opportunities are adjacent?
  • Which area has all these facilities but is not yet that fashionable and could be considered to be “on the way up”?

New or Old?

New property requires less maintenance or upkeep or repairs, but often involves upfront unexpected costs for such items as builders extras, decoration and garden creation. On the other hand repairs and renovations to older properties such as extensions, conversions, new kitchens, bathrooms and windows will always cost more than you think. The plus for an older home is you can take your time to work through these improvements; the minus is the additional cost of heating and unexpected burdens such as hidden woodworm, damp, rot, crumbling plaster and old ineffective service mediums such as pipes and wires.

Which property?

  • Use our search facilities to see what is on the market for sale.
  • Speak to and leave your name with as many of the estate agents as possible in the location of your preference. Talking to these professionals will help you learn more about the process.
  • View a number of houses before making any offer as you will then have made some comparisons and be in a better position to judge.
  • Visit a target property at least twice and at different times during the day or night and jot down a list of your pluses and minuses.
  • Remember location is the main factor affecting valuation.
  • Ask how long the property has been on the market and be cautious about property that has been on the market for more than three months.

Viewing a property

There are so many things to consider when viewing a property and often the most important questions are forgotten. Ensure you ask the relevant questions by taking our handy viewing checklist with you on your viewing.