Buying Advice

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Home Buying Tips

If this is your first time buying or maybe it’s been a while since you last bought a property, here is some hand tips we have put together to help you in the process.

Is buying right for you?

You might have found your dream home, but it could quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t do your due diligence. Can you afford the mortgage payments? How much would you expect to sell your current property for? Have you got spare funds in your budget if refurbishments are needed on a new property?

The full cost of buying

Your mortgage and running costs won’t be the only expenses involved when you buy a house. You also need to factor in:

  • Removal costs
  • Home Report fees (If you are selling)
  • Conveyancing fees
  • Land & Building Transaction Tax
  • Additional Dwelling Tax (If you have more than one property)
  • Estate agency fees (if you are selling your current property)

Arrange an agreement in principle

A lender will want to know your affordability to determine if they will be able to lend the funds you need to complete the property purchase. This is called a mortgage agreement in principle (AIP). You will need to provide details of your income and monthly outgoings, and a credit check will be carried out. An AIP does not guarantee that you will receive a mortgage offer.

Sell before you buy

If you have a property to sell, estate agents and sellers may not take you seriously until you have your property on the market or accepted an offer on the property. Having your house on the market or under offer puts you in a much better position as a buyer as sellers know more about your property and potential chain. Having a house to sell and waiting to find something first before you sell, may put you at a disadvantage. Contact us and we can discuss your circumstances in more detail.

Consider resale potential

To many there is no such thing as a forever home, circumstances can change sometimes unexpectedly. So it’s always best to consider its resale potential when buying.

Is it in a good location? Does the property have kerb appeal? Are the local schools well regarded and is the local area quiet and safe? Does the area hold value and is the area well looked after? Is the layout of the property likely to appeal to the widest range of buyers?

Use property search tools

Searching for properties online is your first step to finding that dream home. Most property websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla will enable you to filter by price, number of bedrooms, location and property type, and you may also be able to use keywords or exclude particular property types from your search results.

Check out the local area

You should do some research on the local area, finding out about near by towns, schools and transport links. Do you know anyone who lives local who can give you some insight? Is there enough car parking outside the property? If it is a property without off-street parking, check if there are enough spaces to park, are parking permits needed. Are there shops or amenities within walking distance?

Ask plenty of questions when viewing

There are many important questions you can ask while viewing a property. They include:

  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • Has there been many viewings?
  • Has there been any offers and is there a closing date?
  • What is included in the sale?
  • What are the neighbours and the local area like?
  • Have they done any major renovations or made any alterations and if so do they have all the paperwork?
  • Is there a communal factor and if so, what are the fees?
  • How long have they lived there?
  • What are the home owners sale expectations?
  • Do the home owners have a specific move date they are working towards?
  • Is there any chain involved and if so what is the extent of the chain?

Items to check when viewing a house

The surveyor should pick up any imperfections within the home and it should be noted on the home report. Before viewing read over the home report and if there are any particular aspects that you would like clarity on, ask the estate agent about it.

  • Exterior – are there any obvious structural problems, loose tiles, bricks or damage to guttering or pipes?
  • Interior – is damp evident anywhere? Mould and peeling wallpaper are tell-tale signs.
  • Garden – who is responsible for the fences? Is the garden north or south facing?

View at different times of day

A street may be perfectly quiet at the time of your viewing in the middle of the day, go back during the early morning or early evening to find out how busy or noisy it is at peak periods.

What are fixtures & fittings?

Research how much to offer!

Before making an offer on a property do some basic research to check how much similar houses or flats in the area have sold for. If the property is walk in condition, located in a desirable area or the space offers great value for money, then you’ll find it may achieve offers over home report value. If a property has been on the market for a considerable long time, the seller may be willing to listen to offers.

What are fixtures and fittings?

It’s essentially what is included within the sale. Generally, what constitutes a fixture and fitting is floor coverings, integrated appliances, curtain poles, blinds, lights, light switches, plug sockets etc. Ask the estate agent what is included as part of the sale, they may have a list from the seller. So if they plan on leaving their dishwasher that will save you the expense of disconnecting and moving your current one.

Instruct your solicitor or conveyancer

After your offer has been accepted it is time to instruct a conveyancer to act on your behalf in your property transaction. They will liaise closely with your sellers’ solicitors to finalise the sale, resolve any pre-sale enquiries, obtain copies of any existing guarantees and planning consents, conduct local authority searches, check there is no charges against the property, arrange the signing of missives and register your title.

If you do not currently have a solicitor, contact us and we can arrange that for you, we get preferential rates from solicitors and we can pass those savings on to you.

Get home and life insurance quotes before buying

Mortgage lenders will usually make it a condition of a mortgage agreement that buildings insurance is in place before completion of sale. Shop around for the best insurance quotes. This is something we can help you with, contact us and our advisors will source the best deals for you.

Compare removal costs

Get a few quotes from local removals companies. Ask friends and family if they can recommend a company, as you want a firm you can trust with your belongings. They will usually want to come and visit the property you are moving from, so that they know what size van and how many staff they will need on the moving day. Contact us as we may be able to help by recommending a local reputable company.

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