Buying a home is both exciting and terrifying, especially if you are a first-time buyer or have not moved in many years. Your home is likely to be the biggest financial commitment you will ever make. As such, there's a lot of room for error, and even small mistakes can be costly.
We have put together some guidance on the do’s and don’ts of house hunting to hopefully turn the thermostat from ‘terrifying’ to ‘exciting’!
1. Avoid Private Sales - as estate agents, we are here to provide a professional and knowledgeable service to both buyers and sellers. Buying a property privately without an estate agent can prove very awkward when it comes to negotiating the price, resolving issues or asking for information. As estate agents we have a code of conduct that we must operate within and house chains involving a private sale are notoriously difficult to qualify.
2. Talk To More Than One Lender - it often feels easier to just keep with your own bank or current mortgage lender when it comes to sorting out a finance for your next purchase. However, with interest rates still historically low and a variety of funding options available, it is always worth getting a second or third opinion ideally from an independent source.
3. Be Honest About Your Budget - our job is not to get you to spend all your money but to find you the best of what is available at any one time. In short, if you register at £400,000 but can actually go to £450,000 then you are going to miss out on what might be the right property for you. If you register at £450,000, we are not in the business of trying to make you spend or show you properties at £500,000.
4. Don't hold out for the 'perfect' house - unless you are lucky enough to design and build your own home, you are unlikely to find the perfect property. Even building your own property does not guarantee perfection as what looks good on paper may not work in real life.
Identify three or four must haves on the simple premise that you can add your own touches be it changing kitchens and bathrooms or adding the ‘west wing’.
5. Don't make ridiculously low offers - everybody wants to feel as though they have secured their property as a good price or even got themselves a real bargain. However, in this current market, where sales volumes have greatly reduced (check out our latest property report), there is real competition with more buyers than there are new instructions. Go into too low and you are going to alienate yourself and probably lose out to somebody prepared to go in at or close to the asking price.
6. Don't forget those additional costs - it is not just the purchase price of your next property that you need to consider. There will be legal fees, survey fees, removal fees and the rather nasty stamp duty that will all need to be factored into you house purchasing budget.
7. Don't make big purchases before you exchange - as the old proverb goes, “there’s many a slip twix cup and lip” and whilst everybody in the transaction is committed to buying and selling, there is always a risk that something goes wrong. So avoid buying that bespoke dining room set until you have exchanged contracts and have your move in date.
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