9 December 2020, By Gabriella Edwards
1) View your new house at different times
It’s critical to view your new home at different times of the day… or night. Your initial viewing on a quiet Sunday morning may portray the property as the perfect home, but, come 5:30pm it could become congestion chaos on the road right outside your house therefore, you must be aware of any issues – if there are any – before you move in.
2) Research the local area
Not only is it important to have a good knowledge of your new home, it is also important to research the area. Talk to local residents about the local area as they will be able to give an insight into the area that simply online searching cannot. Research local supermarkets, restaurants, sports centres etc. If you have children it is crucial to investigate the schools in your local area and whether your property is in the catchment otherwise your children may not be eligible to attend.
Another important step to take when buying a new home is to take a look at the ‘government planning portal’. This highlights whether there are any plans for large scale building developments. This could not only be an inconvenience, but also reduce your house price when you come to resell.
3) Imagine your furniture in your new home
Furniture can distort our judgement of how big a room actually is, the sellers sofas may make the room look huge, but in reality, it may actually be quite small. It may be difficult to ignore the current furniture and imagine your own in its place. A solution is to measure your own furniture and then measure where these pieces would work well in your new home which may enable you to have a more accurate view of the size of the room.
4) Property viewing deal-breakers:
On your first or even second viewing of your new home it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and overlook aspects, which could be potential deal-breakers. Pay attention to any smells or noises that aren’t normal as you walk around the property. A musty smell could be an indication of damp which could also suggest that there could be mold present. Check for cracks in the walls, stains in the carpets or unwanted plants such as Japanese knotweed in your garden. These are all important things to take into consideration when buying a home as they could result in repair costs once the property is yours. Instead, you could use these problems to renegotiate the asking price.
5) Set a budget:
When you are saving for your perfect home it is important to remember that you are not only saving for the property, you are also saving for the buying process therefore, you must adjust your budget in order to afford any additional costs that may arise. These extra costs include surveys, searches, land registry, mortgage arrangements, legal fees, stamp duty, removals, potential furnishing costs and potential repairs.
It is also important for first time buyers to calculate their budget in order to know how much they can actually afford. First time buyers should also research extra funding options in order to increase their deposit such as Help To Buy ISAs and Lifetime ISAs.
6) Get your mortgage ‘agreement in principle’
An ‘agreement in principle’ gives buyers an indication of how much money a lender would be prepared to lend which will give you a more accurate idea of your maximum budget. A buyer with an ‘agreement in principle’ shows the seller that they have a genuine interest in the property and also proves that you have the ability to actually afford to purchase the property. This could mean that the seller will value your offer over other buyers who don’t have an ‘agreement in principle’.
7) Research how much to offer
Online property websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla allow you to investigate the sold house prices for similar properties in your local area which you can then use to compare to the asking price of the property you are interested in.
Once the ‘house survey’ is completed the findings may highlight any structural problems that the property has and also the cost of repair. This means that you have the opportunity to renegotiate the asking price however, keep in mind that some venders may not be willing to revisit the offer price.
Other factors to consider:
- How long the property has been on the market?
- Why is the vendor listing their property?
- What position is the seller in regarding their property search?
8) Prevent the risk of your sale falling through
Once your offer has been accepted it is not time to celebrate just yet. 1 in 3 house sales and purchases collapse in the UK after an offer has been accepted. Firstly, asking the seller to take the property off the market will reduce the chances of the vendor accepting a higher offer from someone else. Another way to reduce the risk of your sale falling through is to use a deposit scheme such as ‘Honesty Box’ which is designed to safe-guard your sale once it has been agreed and also deter those who may not be genuine.