Top tips to make choosing a property to buy as stress free as possible

Searching for your ideal home has never been easier. You can do most of the preliminary search online, but you may find yourself going around in circles if you're not careful. Here are some top tips to make choosing a property as stress-free as possible.

It will only cloud your thinking if your search is too vast. Work out how much you can afford to spend and try to stick within your limit.

Make sure you include stamp duty, agents' costs and other extras when setting your price limit. Unexpected costs can come as a nasty surprise afterwards so ensure all additional charges are accounted for.

There are times when it is important to move quickly. So keeping a close eye on the market you are looking to buy in for any changes.

Make a list of facilities you want be close to. These could be any number of amenities such as school, bus stop, train station, pub or main road. Be specific about what you want and where you want to live. Focus on a geographical area and start with your first-choice area, then shift to a wider focus if you draw a blank there.

It is important to be able to visualise or imagine what living in a particular property would be like, so that means getting to know the area too. Visit at different times of the day, night and weekends to get a realistic idea. Go to the local pubs and restaurants and see how long it takes to get to the local train or bus station or to your nearest main road or motorway – all of which can have an influence in deciding if this is the right property, town or village for you.

If you are looking for a property you want to grow into does this property have what you need? Can it be extended? Is it flexible enough for you and your family?

The website of an agent with a good reputation in a particular area might help you focus your search better than using a big online search agency. Local knowledge can be key to helping you find the right home for you.

A lot of properties have surprisingly flexible accommodation and what can be seen as a study to one homeowner could be used as a bedroom to another. It is worth being clear about what sort of property could work for you.

Photographs are important, but nothing beats a visit to the property. Talk to the owners and neighbours, they can bring important information to your attention.

There doesn't have to be something wrong with a property if it's been on the market a while. There may be numerous reasons why a property has been on the market for a length of time. Owners may be amenable to offers and you may pick up a bargain.

Homes that tick all the boxes and are perfect in every respect are very hard to find. But you will know when you have found the right house because everything will feel right. Of course it also helps to have a good agent on your side.