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It is important to know from the outset the area/s you want to live in, and the size of accommodation you need, but don’t be too prescriptive. As agents, we are often accused of sending details of period properties to buyers who only want new, or houses to folk who only want a bungalow. In the estate agent’s defence, if we had a pound for every time we heard “I never thought I would want a (bungalow / house / apartment) or “I never realised this little area existed”, I would be writing this from a deckchair on a South American beach! The best advice is to be open-minded – you never know, and every property you do see will help formulate in your own mind the precise requirements you have for your next home.