Finding the Right Property; Where Do I Begin?No Comments
Buying a property is scary business, especially if you haven’t done it before. It’s the biggest purchase of your life so far and if you mess up, the consequences are dire. You’ve been given advice by family, you’ve Googled the pitfalls but you’re missing the critical piece of advice you need. Where on earth do you begin this daunting process? Where do you start your search and more importantly, how can you be sure you’ll get it right? Pour yourself a cuppa, grab a notepad and give this a read, you’ll be thankful for our tips when it’s all over. We hope you’re taking notes!
Start Your Search Online
Stop looking in estate agent windows, you’re only limiting yourself to their cherry picked bunch. Jump onto a renowned property search site and start analysing the market. Yes, you read that right… analyse the market! For first-time buyers in particular, getting to know the market is essential.
This is a serious consideration you’re making, so start doing your research. Online search sites are ideal for this. How quickly do properties stay on the market? How commonly do they become available? What in particular are you looking for? Is this type of property readily available? It’s always best to have an idea of market trends before you jump deep into your search. It’s worth remembering at this point that asking prices are always optimistic, this is not likely to be the price you’ll offer.
Time to See an Estate Agent
Okay, so now it’s time for the estate agent. Despite starting your search online, it’s always necessary to talk to a few estate agents. Some properties aren’t shared online and can often be snapped up quickly. It’s worthwhile explaining your search parameters and budget. They’ll be able to tell you how realistic your hunt is and what the local competition is like. It’s important to come across personable, friendly and serious about buying. Estate agents will see many buyers just like you. Ideally, you want to be the first person they call when an appropriate property comes up. If an estate agent thinks you’re serious enough, they could even do some of the house hunting for you.
What Are Houses Actually Selling For?
It’s no longer difficult to find out what a property has actually sold for. You can check this online for free. This is important to find out as it’ll give you a good idea of the disparity between asking prices and accepted offered price. It’s worth remembering that house prices will rise and fall drastically. Some people may predict how things will head though you should never take their predictions as a certainty.
Stock Up On Sandbags
What’s the area’s risk of flooding? It sounds like something simple to check but if you neglect to look into this, it could have terrible consequences. If the area you’re seeking is in a flood risk zone, your insurance will be dramatically affected. You’ll also face the possibility of losing your entire life’s possessions every year. This isn’t something you want to find out the hard way. In a few clicks, you can find detailed reports from the Environment Agency (England and Wales) or Environment Protection Agency (Scotland) on whether an area is at risk of floods.
What Does the Future Hold?
Your prospective neighbourhood looks beautiful and peaceful but will it soon be a building site? It’s worthwhile knowing that you can actually check what planning applications have been made in your area. If you’re in England and Wales, head over to the Government’s Planning Portal to find out what’s happening around you.
When you’re looking for the right property, it’s worth asking a few difficult questions of the seller. You’re perfectly entitled to do this though some people find it difficult. MoneySavingExpert.Com suggest a few questions that’ll squeeze sellers for information and make them squirm a little:
• How many viewings has it had?
• How many offers has it had?
• How long has it been on the market?
• Can I see electrical and gas installation checks/reports?
• How long is the lease (if it has one)?
• Have there been any neighbour disputes?
• Why are the vendors moving and are they sure they want to sell now?
• What renovations have been done?
• How old is the boiler and when was it last inspected?
• When was it last rewired?
• Where are the vendors moving? Is there a chain?
• If it’s a leasehold, how much are service charges?
• Who are the neighbours?
• How long has the seller lived there?
• What’s included in the sale? White goods? Curtains? Wood burner?
• Is there an allotted parking space/residents’ parking?
• If there’s a real fireplace, is it safe to use?
• Have there been any subsidence problems?
• What’s the council tax band?
Have you researched the Area?
This sounds like a silly question but there’s a lot more to it than you might think. Of course you can take a look at the area when you’re viewing and you can even visit at different times of day. Yet this won’t give you a genuine insight into what it’s like to actually live there. When you begin your property search, complete a simple Property Detective report to find the latest crime rates, schools, amenities, noise pollution, flight paths and much more. Find out what your area’s like here.