Buyers put low crime and good schools at the top of their lists, but what should you compromise on to get a new home?

It seems the fixation on 'location, location, location' no longer holds true, with buyers citing it as only eighth most important thing to stand their ground on.

Almost one in four people were willing to compromise on their preferred location, while just one in 10 would compromise over local crime levels, new research reveals.

According to a survey by consumer body Which? seven out of 10 people have ended up making compromises when either moving house of buying their first home.

But where does it make sense to make concessions, and is there anything you really shouldn't negotiate on?


How this money can help

Can you find a better deal? Mortgage tables and fee-free advice

According to Which? a common problem for house-hunters is basing their search on a budget that ultimately turns out to be unrealistic, once the hidden costs of buying are factored in.

This means that when they have found their dream property, the bank aren't prepared to lend enough for the mortgage.

Deal-breakers: Which? surveyed 1,990 people about their experiences of buying a house

David Blake from Which? Mortgage Advisers said: 'Buyers often start property searches by imagining their dream home, but our research shows that some form of compromise is almost inevitable.

'To be happy with the concessions you make it’s vital to know where you’d scale back in order to remain within budget.'

A good idea is to secure a mortgage 'agreement in principle' before you start looking, so you know what you can afford.

This is a certificate from the lender to say that in theory, they will lend you the mortgage if certain conditions are met.

And the good news is that if you are one of the many buyers who can't afford everything on your list, there are compromises that won't make it feel like the end of the world.

Overambitious: Housebuyers forget hidden costs when they draw up a budget for a new home

Should you compromise?


Number of bedrooms: yes

You've found the house of your dreams, within your budget- but it only has two bedrooms and you wanted three.

After local crime levels, the survey found number of bedrooms was the factor people were least likely to compromise on. But being flexible can be worth it - depending on your lifestyle and what the future holds.

If you are looking to start a family, clearly the extra space will come in useful and prevent you from having to up-size in a few years.

But if you want that extra room for another reason, think about whether you really need the space.

If you want a spare room, consider how much it would actually get used- is it worth shelling out thousands extra for a space that may only be occupied for a few weeks a year?

Maybe you were hoping to turn that extra bedroom into a study. In that case, you could get creative and renovate another part of the house, such as an outhouse or alcove.

If there's space, another option is building an extension.

The average asking price difference between London two and three bed properties is £157,202, while the average bedroom extension cost is £35,000, according to research from Direct Line home insurance.

So it might make more sense to save some cash (and make some, in the long run) by building yourself an extra bedroom rather than buying it.


Buying a 'fixer upper': yes

The overall condition of a property was one of the aspects prospective buyers were most willing to compromise on.

Buying a 'fixer-upper' can have twofold benefits: it allows you to get a property that might otherwise be beyond your reach, and it can also add value for when you come to sell.

But before buying a house that needs renovation, it's vital to get an estimate of the costs and time involved.

Ask yourself the important questions: How much disruption are willing to put up with and on what timescale- are you prepared to sacrifice your weekends and evenings to DIY?

What condition will the house be in while the work is going on- will you live somewhere else while you renovate, or move in straightaway?

A savvy purchase also depends on what the nature of the renovations are.

Painting, landscaping and putting down flooring can all usually be done yourself, potentially saving you money in the long run.

However, you will still have to pay for the materials, at a greater cost than a builder who will get them wholesale. And if anything goes wrong you could have to pay someone to come in and fix it.

Some home improvements are too dangerous for anyone but professionals to take care of. Tampering with most electrical wiring and anything to do with gas appliances should be avoided, while the majority of plumbing is too tricky for a DIY enthusiast.


Having a garden: yes

Dining Al Fresco and a spot of sunbathing sound great in theory, but British weather means these actitivies can only take place a few months a year.

Which? suggests some alternatives to if your budget doesn't stretch to a garden.

One option is renting an allotment- but be aware that waiting times in some parts of the country stretch to years, or even decades.

On the other hand, if you are buying into a flat with communal space, you could ask permission to create your own garden area.

Some communal flats allow BBQs and garden parties, so residents can reap the benefits of being able to access a garden area.

If you love to do the gardening, you could consider volunteering to help look after an elderly or poorly neighbour's outside space.

Window boxes, rockeries and herb gardens are other small-scale alternatives to having a full blown garden.


Parking Space: no

The importance of this depends on what type of area you live in, but if you need a parking space and the property doesn't have one, that is going to be a headache.

Councils are ever vigilant on the slightest parking infringement, and paying for private parking will cost you thousands per year. 

Hold out for a parking space or permit and if your desired property doesn't have one, find out if you could get planning permission to turn part of the front garden into a space.

On the flip side, if you are inheriting a parking space you don't need, there is the option of renting it out for extra income.

Using sites such as ParkLet and Your Parking Space could net you as much as £200, as long as the space is on your private property. 

Source: www.thisismoney.co.uk