A Buyer’s Checklist for Finding a New Home

You’ve saved up a deposit, secured a mortgage in principle and are ready to find the property of your dreams. The important thing now is to choose a home that not only fits your family now, but which can provide a wonderful place for you to live for years to come.

We’ve put together a simple checklist to guide you through the process of finding and securing your perfect property.

Most buyers get caught up in the excitement of buying a new home, and rush headlong into the search without taking the time to consider what they’re actually looking for. You can save yourself a lot of time – and buyer’s remorse – by sitting down with your partner, family or friends to define everything you really need in a home, as well as anything you would like on top.

Our top tip? Decide on your ideal parameters for size, location and price, and how flexible you are prepared to be on each. Follow this up with a set of “must have” and “nice to have” criteria. These are different for everyone, but might include things like a second reception room, off-road parking or en-suite bathrooms.

What to do once you start looking?

With a little preparation, you should be able to filter through your options with relatively ease, limiting yourself to properties which are in a nice location, have enough space, and fall within your budget. The next step is to view these to see if you can imagine making a home there.

Buying a property and moving your family is a huge commitment, so it’s important to take off the rose-tinted glasses, and scrutinise the building you’re about to invest in. Here are the top questions buyers often forget to ask themselves before signing on the dotted line.

Inside the house, ask yourself:

  • Is everything in generally good order? Flick switches, test taps and check that all doors and windows open and close properly.
  • Are there any obvious signs of damp, like mould speckles, condensation or discolouration in the walls? If so, it may be worth commissioning a specific defect report.
  • Does any of the décor look suspicious, such as oddly-placed rugs or pictures which could be concealing damage?
  • Are there plenty of integrated cupboards, and if not, is there enough room for storage furniture in the rooms?
  • What is the parking like; is there a garage, or will you need a permit to park on the street? What about guests?
  • Can you spot any layout quirks that would need to be changed, like awkward plug sockets or light switches?
  • How does the current kitchen layout work for you? If you mime making a meal, does it flow nicely or will you have to renovate the space?
  • How does the age and condition of the building match up to how much effort you want to put in maintaining and updating it?

Tip: Take plenty of pictures as you walk around – at least one per room. It will make it much easier to remember each property clearly, and decide which you want to view a second time.

Don’t forget to ask your estate agent:

  • Why are the current owners moving out?
  • How long has it been on the market?
  • How many viewings has it had, and has anyone already made an offer?
  • Is there a chain?
  • If you’re looking at a leasehold property, who is the freeholder and managing agent?

Practical matters:

  • What council tax band is the house in?
  • Is there any ground rent or service charges?
  • What does the EPC rating estimate your bills will be?
  • Do you have good mobile signal, and what are the available internet speeds?
  • For leasehold properties, are there more than 83 years left on the term?
  • What sits on the property boundary? Will you have to consider potential party wall issues?

Tip: Always go for a second viewing, at a different time of day. It will give you a better idea of the amount of natural light, the parking availability and how noisy the neighbours can be.

Research the local area:

  • Do the properties on the rest of the street look well-maintained?
  • Are there good public transport options?
  • Is any development planned nearby, and how will this affect you?
  • What are the local crime statistics?
  • How are the local schools performing? Even if this doesn’t affect your family, it can have a huge impact on the resale value of your home.
  • Are the nearby parks well kept?

What happens when you find the perfect place?

  • Find a solicitor you can work with (check for any reasons that might delay your transaction, such as having long holidays booked).
  • Compare the asking price against local market trends and property that has recently sold nearby.
  • Make an offer, including an exclusivity period upon acceptance. This will make sure nobody else can view the property while you are arranging contracts.
  • Arrange for a property survey to be conducted.

And when you’re ready to proceed?

  • Obtain the mortgage deed to be signed by the solicitor.
  • Sign your contracts and exchange them.
  • Pay the balance of the agreed price
  • Receive the title deeds and transfer document
  • Pay the Stamp Duty, solicitor’s fees and Land Registry charges
  • Collect your keys and move in!

Our Portfolio:

Project - Orthodontic Centre

Project:9 St. Marys Place, Shrewsbury

Project type: Refurbishment

Client: Shrewsbury Orthodontic Centre

Value: £60,000

Programme: 3 Months

The project involved obtaining of Planning & Listed Building consent to change the use of the building from offices to a dental practice.

Close liaison with the Conservation Officer was required in order to comply with strict Planning conditions in the Listed Building Consent.

Project - Coronation Club

Project:Cirrus House, Claremont Band, Shrewsbury

Project type: Refurbishment

Client: Shrewsbury Sixth Form College

Value: £50,000

Programme: 2 Months

We were involved with the complete fitting out of the first floor accommodation to Cirrus House, a speculatively built leisure and educational facility. The first floor accommodation is leased to Shrewsbury Sixth Form College and the works involved the design of the internal fit-out including partitions, finishes and IT, together with heating installations. All statutory consents were obtained.

Peachey Chartered Accountants

Project:Column House, Shrewsbury

Project type: New Build

Client: Turner Peachey Chartered Accountants

Value: £680,000

Programme: 6 months

For this project, the company undertook a full project design and management service for the client which included the demolition of an original 1960s library structure, followed by the complete internal refurbishment of the existing three storey building. The project also involved the design and construction of a two storey extension at the rear of the property to provide open plan office accommodation.

The property is located in the Conservation Area of Shrewsbury and therefore sensitive design was paramount in order to bring this project through to fruition.

The scheme included the complete refurbishment of the building including finishes, electrical installations, heating and IT.

Project - Coronation Club

Project:Coronation Club, Black Heath, Birmingham

Project type: New Build


Value: £1.3 million

Programme: 30 Weeks

We were engaged by the Coronation Club following a compulsory purchase order on their existing building to negotiate the compensation for their original club premises and subsequently acquire a new site and carry out a full design and project co-ordination service for the construction of their new facility

Wellington Road Surgery

Project:Wellington Road Surgery, Newport, Shropshire

Project type: New Build

Client: Wellington Road Surgery

Value: £600,000

Programme: 12 Months

We were engaged to create additional consulting rooms, together with ancillary accommodation including chiropody, conference facilities and additional patient waiting areas. The scheme involved improvements in disabled access which included for the installation of a passenger lift and the improvement of endoscopy facilities, including the creation of improved sterilisation facilities, refurbishment of treatment rooms, together with improvements in nurse care facilities.

Cressage Medical Practice

Project:Cressage Medical Practice

Project type: New Build

Client: Much Wenlock & Cressage Medical Practice

Value: £120,000

Programme: 3 Months

Cressage Medical Practice required the provision of two additional consulting rooms, together with library / teaching facilities to accommodate the Practice’s intentions to provide on site teaching facilities for GP students attached to Keele University.

We were engaged to undertake full project design and management services.

The project was completed to programme and to agreed budget.

Project - Royal Band of Scotland

Project:Royal Bank of Scotland

Project type: New Build


Value: £1.2 million

Programme: 40 Weeks

We were engaged by the Royal Bank of Scotland to act as monitoring surveyor for the Bank who were the main funders for this development. Our service included the monitoring of the construction, ensuring compliance with the client’s brief, ensuring that the project was completed within budget and quality.

Project - Abbotts House

Project:Abbotts House, Butcher Row, Shrewsbury

Project type: Refurbishment


Value: £55,000

Programme: 3 Months

We were engaged to undertake repairs to this Grade II Listed Building and upgrade fire precautions to comply with Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2006.

Listed Building consent was obtained and close liaison with the Conservation Officer was required to ensure the Listed status of the building was not affected.

Project - J T Car Showroom

Project:J T Hughes Car Showroom,

Project type: Refurbishment


Value: £100,000

Programme: 2 Months

Full project Design & Management service was provided to turn a dilapidated former retail unit into a modern car showroom.

All necessary statutory consents were obtained for the client, followed by the management of a contract to refurbish the building which included both internal and external improvements.

Project - Wilkat Development

Project:Gravel Hill, Ludlow

Project type: New Build

Client: Wilkat Developments

Value: £570,000

Programme: 6 Months

We were involved procuring a design and build contract for the client which included the preparation of the brief and appropriate contract documentation. The assessment of alternative contractors’ tenders and ultimately project managed the scheme to practical completion and beyond.

The scheme involves the provision of 5 self contained apartments, mainly located on the first floor, with a large local retail unit to the ground floor. Close liaison with the intended users was paramount in order to ensure that this project was completed on time, to budget and to a standard required by the retail user.

Project - Asda Stores

Project:Unit 10 Sinfin Shopping Centre, Derby

Project type: New Build

Client: Asda Stores Ltd

Value: £80,000

Programme: 4 Months

We were engaged by Asda stores Ltd to carry out the design and project management of the sub-division of an existing shop unit into 3 No. smaller units. Services included the obtaining of all statutory consents, obtaining tenders and managing the project through to completion.

Project - Local Shopping Reit

Project:44-45 High Street & 99 Cartway, Bridgnorth

Project type: Refurbishment

Client: Local Shopping Reit Plc

Value: £80,000

Programme: 4 Months

The company engaged by L S Reit Plc to carry out a survey of the existing fire precautions provided to this Grade II Listed building. Approval of both the Fire Authority and Conservation Department for upgrading fire precautions and removal of a Statutory Fire Enforcement Notice on the building was obtained.

We were engaged to undertake the design and project management of the work up to completion.

Project - Unitarian Church

Project:Unitarian Church, Shrewsbury

Project type: Refurbishment


Value: £50,000


This scheme involved undertaking a photographic survey of this Grade II Listed property, defect diagnosis, preparation of repair proposals and subsequently preparing specification & drawings for tender purposes.

Project - Ellesmere College

Project:Quinquennial Condition Report

Project type: Refurbishment

Client: Ellesmere College, Ellesmere

Value: £1.9 million


We were engaged by Ellesmere College to produce a quinquennial (five-year) condition report of all the buildings which make up Ellesmere College, prioritising the maintenance work that needs undertaking and giving an estimated cost for each item of work.

Project - Sixth Form Dormitories

Project:Sixth Form Dormitories, Ellesmere College

Project type: New Build

Client: Ellesmere College

Value: £980,000


Project Design & Management of a 20 bed dormitory extension to the 6th form school, together with study and recreational facilities. Services included the obtaining of all statutory consents, obtaining tenders and managing the project through to completion.

Project - Hatchers Soliticitors

Project:Hatchers Solicitors, Welsh Bridge, Shrewsbury

Project type: Refurbishment

Client: Hatchers Solicitors LLP

Value: £360,000

Programme: 3 Months

Silk Sharples Jennings were instructed to undertake a complete internal refurbishment of this mature three storied property.  Works involved the complete internal refurbishment to provide modern office accommodation within a mature, prominently located office building formerly used as an antique showroom.

The project was completed on time, to budget and to a quality required by the client.

Project - Hallco

Project:Battlefield, Shrewsbury

Project type: New Build

Client: Hallco 746 Ltd

Value: £1,200,000

Programme: 23 Weeks

Construction of 20,000 sq.ft. warehouse facility which will be used for storage purposes. Currently under construction with a projected 23 week construction phase.

Project - Robinson House

Project:Robinson House, The Square, Shrewsbury

Project type: Refurbishment

Client: Pooks

Value: £400,000

Programme: 6 Months

We were engaged to prepare a Feasibility Study to convert three floors of this impressive Grade II Listed building from offices to residential accommodation on the first, second & third floors.

Planning & Listed Building consent were obtained and work commenced under strict supervision to ensure compliance imposed in the Listed Building consent.

Project - 6a Bird Street

Project:6a Bird Street, Lichfield

Project type: Refurbishment


Value: £110,000

Programme: 4 Months

This scheme involved the conversion of the first and second floors within this Grade II Listed property located in the centre of Lichfield. Both Planning and Listed Building consent were obtained, which included the preparation of a scheme of enhanced sound insulation between the commercial and residential premises, complying with the stringent requirements of the Local Authority.

The scheme created two 1 bedroom apartments.

Project - 2 Church Street

Project:2 Church Street, Warwick

Project type: Refurbishment


Value: £300,000

Programme: 6 Months

We were engaged to project manage the conversion of the upper floors of this property to create three 1 bedroom and two 2 bedroom self-contained apartments within this Grade II* Listed Building in the centre of Warwick. Works of conversion were undertaken with the commercial premises beneath still in occupation.

The project required both Planning and Listed Building consent.

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