Photographs lie - don't get excited until you see it in person
We learned this about 5 minutes after our first viewing, looking down at our rightmove app and then back up at the rather disappointing house we had just exited. Photographs can make rooms seem larger, brighter and hide unsightly features! Look at floorplans to get a more accurate picture, most online listings now include these and many have room sizes marked out. I spent many a sleepless night excited at the prospect of viewing our 'dream home', only to be disappointed by my preconceptions.
It works both ways though. If a house is a great location and at a good price, don’t dismiss it because the photographs don't do anything for you, like I said photographs can lie. Interestingly, the house we brought was one we hadn't seen any pictures of inside before we viewed it.
It really is all about location, location, location
I love that show, but once we were really in the midst of our search I struggled to watch it without feeling slightly depressed, watching all those people find houses! When buying your first home it's easy to start looking online and think 'wow we can afford more than I thought' and 'there's loads of choice'. But on closer inspection they back onto railway tracks (not that there is anything wrong with that, but it's not for us) or are completely the wrong side of town (practically in the next town). Unless you have an endless budget you'll have to compromise somewhere but we quickly decided location wasn't one we could compromise on.
If you're unsure of a particular street or location, go back at different times of the day, on weekends and weekdays to get a feel for the place - it's often good to do this before booking a viewing as you might instantly discount somewhere and save the time of viewing it.
The 'feeling' does exist
Five months and countless houses in I really did start to think the house for us wasn't out there. We'd come close with a few, but I was always missing that 'yes, I can see us and our stuff here...' feeling. Or when I was thinking it was a possibility the boyfriend wasn't. You can start to feel desperate and viewings turn from excitement into a chore, at this point I’d completely stopped watching L,L,L and any house buying shows as they were too stressful to watch!
But then one evening after work we had three viewings lined up and the first one we walked into was IT. We really did just know that was the house for us. Funnily enough the house we viewed after it that evening was actually bigger and closer to town, but that didn't matter as we'd both finally found the 'feeling'. It does exist.
I really hope that’s useful, or at least entertaining! If you have any questions let me know in the comments, I'm no expert but happy to share our experience as it certainly wasn't plain sailing. Next up: top tips for after your offer is accepted.