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Secret Advice When Looking for a Flat on the Internet

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Whether it's your present apartment getting too small, or too big, or perhaps its your very own flat, there are some important considerations to make when looking for a flat. In days gone by when one was searching for a flat there were long days spent visiting agents and searching the newspapers. These days have, thankfully, gone. Searching for a flat can now be done online. This saves a lot of time travelling around the city looking at flat after flat. Although there are some things you should consider when searching for a new flat on the internet. Real estate agents and private sellers will always present the best side of the property they are selling. There may be more negative aspects that they fail to reveal on the internet. The photos they present may be altered, there may be additional charges not initially mentioned or the area may not be less desirable than described. These are important considerations when searching for a flat on the internet. homify has done the research and found the secret advice when looking for a flat on the internet.

Don´t Trust the Pictures 100%

Nahata Residence.:  Corridor & hallway by In-situ Design
In-situ Design

Nahata Residence.

In-situ Design

When we are searching on the internet for our dream flat we are often drawn to the photos before we read the information. This is understandable. Human beings respond to photographs and pictures faster than the written word. This is something that real estate agents are well aware of. For this reason they spend a great deal of time ensuring that the photos in the advertisement for flats present the best possible image of the flat. To do this they may enhance the photographs. They may do this by using a wide angle lens to make small spaces look larger. They may also use the photograph editing program Photoshop to enhance to appeal of the photographs. Photoshop can make an average flat appear brighter, larger and more appealing. When looking for a flat, keep this in mind; the photographs may have been edited to make the flat look better than it actually is.

Don´t Trust the Pictures 100%

Apartment:  Terrace by NA ARCHITECTS
NA ARCHITECTS

Apartment

NA ARCHITECTS

When we are searching on the internet for our dream flat we are often drawn to the photos before we read the information. This is understandable. Human beings respond to photographs and pictures faster than the written word. This is something that real estate agents are well aware of. For this reason they spend a great deal of time ensuring that the photos in the advertisement for flats present the best possible image of the flat. To do this they may enhance the photographs. They may do this by using a wide angle lens to make small spaces look larger. They may also use the photograph editing program Photoshop to enhance to appeal of the photographs. Photoshop can make an average flat appear brighter, larger and more appealing. When looking for a flat, keep this in mind; the photographs may have been edited to make the flat look better than it actually is.

Calculate the Extra Charges

When looking for a new flat the budget may play the most important part in your decision. Although keep in mind that the initial price of the flat may not be the only cost involved, there may be additional costs that are not mentioned. Whether you are renting or buying a flat there are extra charges that will be added to the end cost of the flat. These may include state and federal taxes, legal fees and administration fees. These additional costs can raise the initial price by up to 25%. There are often additional charges you may encounter when you have moved into your new flat. These may include costs for a parking space and maintenance charges for the upkeep of the shared areas within the building. These extra charges are sometimes overlooked when initially looking for a flat, although when added to the price it may be the difference between and affordable flat and an overpriced flat. This flat was designed by Jigsaw Interior Architects.

​Check the Heating/Air-Conditioner

 Corridor & hallway by Mr Central Heating
Mr Central Heating

White two column radiator

Mr Central Heating

Depending on the area you are looking to move to, a heater or air conditioner may be a necessity. These items are sometimes very costly to first purchase and then to run. This will need to be a consideration when initially looking at a flat. When inspecting a flat check if there are heaters and air conditioners installed in the flat. If they are not already in the flat, and the climate requires them, it may make sense to add this to the upfront costs of the flat. For those flats that have heating and air-conditioning already installed inquire about the ongoing running costs of these appliances. Some appliances can have considerably higher running costs than others. Electric heaters provide a simple, economic and versatile way of heating a flat, but have high running costs in the long run. Be sure to do the research before you move into the flat. This heating is by Mr Central Heating. 

​Be Aware of the Neighbourhood

  by allmermacke
allmermacke

after—street view

allmermacke

If you have found a flat that you like and the price is right, it may now be time to do the more in-depth research. When we look at a flat online, we are looking at the very best images of the space. These are the pictures the agent has chosen to make the flat look appealing to buyers. When we visit the flat we will get a more realistic view of the space. When we visit we may find that rooms are smaller than they looked in the photographs and the rooms are darker than they appeared. One other important consideration to make when visiting the flat is the area. When approaching the flat look around at the streets, parks, neighbours. Is this a quiet area? Is it a neat and tidy area? Would you feel safe coming home to this place? These are important considerations as we will be spending a great deal of time in the area. 

Is the Price Calculated According to the Market?

 Bedroom by ellenberger
ellenberger

Private Space Bett

ellenberger

If you have found the flat of your dreams, the price is right, the neighbourhood is wonderful and you are desperate to make it your own there are just a few final considerations to make. Real estate agents and private sellers often ask for more money than the flat is worth. It is reasonable enough to ask for more money, but we should be aware of what it is actually worth. To establish the market value of a flat it may be necessary to undertake some research. Conduct a search on the internet for similar flats in the area, or nearby areas and compare the prices. It may be that the dream flat you are looking at is significantly overpriced and there is room for you to negotiate. Consider also the additions to the flat that could increase or decrease the price.

Check the Condition of the Building

Many of the stunning buildings we find in our flat search are established and historic buildings. These are often amazing places with high ceilings, large rooms and ornate features. It can be easy to fall in love with these buildings. It may also be important to consider that these buildings may not have modern features or be in as good condition as newer, more modern buildings. There may be higher maintenance costs, due to the age of the fittings and features. Services such as the plumbing and electricity may require more attention than a newer building. When looking at an older building be sure to take this into consideration. Take a walk around the building and look at the condition of the walls, plumbing and electrical fittings.

The Contract: Read Between the Lines

 Living room by DELIFE
DELIFE

Hängeleuchte Abril 40x100 cm Rostbraun Antik Optik

DELIFE

Now that you have done the hard work of finding your dream flat, the real challenge begins, negotiating the contract. Contracts are notoriously difficult for the average person to understand. They include all sorts of legal terms that seem to be there only to confuse and frustrate. In these circumstances it may be best to seek advice from a legal expert. However if you are considering dealing with this yourself, be aware that contracts can be long, convoluted and confusing. There are often hidden clauses in the writing, so be careful to read between the lines. Read the contract once, highlight any words and terms you do not understand, look up these words, then read the contract again. If there is anything you don’t agree with contact the agent immediately.

The process of searching for a new flat on the internet can be a wonderfully exciting process or a daunting chore. There are so many things to consider. The flat that initially appeals to you by the photograph accompanying it may be much smaller, or completely different when you view it in reality. Consider all the added costs when deciding on the affordability of a flat. Consider the location, is this somewhere you want to live? Is the price they are asking the correct market price? And be sure the contract does not have any hidden surprises. When this is all done, be sure to enjoy your amazing new flat. For more inspiration see The Magical Before and After Story of a Flat.

Which tip is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!
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