Expert comment from Christine Tiernan, Sales and Marketing Director at Crest Nicholson South:

As we head into 2018, many of us will be looking to make New Year’s resolutions, be it taking up a new hobby, joining the gym or starting out on a new career path. The start of the year is also a fantastic time to buy a house, whether you’re a first-time buyer, a second stepper looking to make that jump to a larger home or indeed if you’re looking to downsize.

Here are my top tips for buying a home in 2018:

• Chat with local agents and look on web portals, such as Zoopla and RightMove, to get a feel for what is on offer in your local area, and what is available to you within your budget.

• It is essential to thoroughly research the area you’re looking to move to, and check whether your home is near all the amenities you’re looking for. For example, if you have young children, it is important to research schooling in the local area, particularly if you’re hoping to be within specific catchment areas.

• Would you like a pre-owned home, or a new build? It’s worth carefully considering the costs involved with both options. New homes are generally more energy efficient than second hand properties, keeping utility bills to a minimum. At Crest Nicholson, our homes also come with a 10-year National House Building Council (NHBC) warranty and two-year customer care warranty, giving you peace of mind in knowing that there won’t be any major unbudgeted costs, such as a roof or boiler that needs to be replaced.

• Look into the costs involved. Moving home involves a range of fees, from solicitors’ costs, to legal fees and disbursements and mortgage survey fees; if you choose to buy a new home from Crest Nicholson we can often help out by contributing towards these moving costs.

• For prospective first-time buyers, and those moving up to their next home, why not look into the government launched Help To Buy scheme, which enables you to buy a property with a deposit as low as five per cent? This is a fantastic way to get your foot on the property ladder or work your way up to the next rung. First time buyers can also take advantage of the recent removal of stamp duty charges on homes under £300,000 – which provides another opportunity to save.