It's the biggest purchase of your life, and small mistakes can cost you, so here's our list of Home Buying Tips to set you off on the right foot.
The first step of the home-buying process should always be... know what you can afford! Before you even consider viewing a house, take financial advice. Appoint a financial advisor to go through your finances and identify your mortgage possibilities. Go ahead and obtain an Agreement in Principle (AIP) from the lender; this shows the agent and the seller that you’re in a position to offer on their house. In this fast-moving market having that AIP ready to go will put you ahead of the competition!
Before you start viewing, do your homework! Now you know what you can afford, what type of house do you need? Make a list of must have’s, would like’s and what you can go without! Narrow down a location – searching a vast radius will make it impossible to find a suitable property.
Do a drive-by, there's no worse feedback for a home owner than the buyer didn’t like the location! If the house looks nice online then drive to it and check it out from the outside, because if you don’t like how it looks, its position or street scene then it doesn’t matter how the inside looks... these factors will stop you buying it. Don’t waste your time or the seller's!
Be flexible. When a house does come up that ticks all the boxes, chances are there'll be a lot of other people also interested. Evening and weekend viewings tend to fill up quick, meaning by the time you get an appointment someone else has already made an offer. Try to view in a lunch break, maybe ask your boss for half an hour off... do what it takes to get that dream home in the bag before anyone else.
Be prepared to pay the asking price! If a house you love has just come to market and there's a lot of interest, don’t be scared to grab it with both hands. Chances are it will sell for at least the asking price - whilst you're trying to knock the price down someone else could be offering the full asking price and beating you to the finish line.
Don’t focus too much on décor and furniture, there’s an old saying ‘buy the worst house in the best street’. Your dream house may be out there already but are you overlooking it due to the current owners décor and taste? Superficial upgrades are cheap to do and have a drastic impact; painting a wall and changing a carpet will completely transform a room. The chances of finding a house that is already done to your taste will be far and few between! focus on the property as a whole rather than the current interior.
Once you’ve found “THE ONE” and want to make an offer, portray yourself in the best light to the estate agent.
An example of this could be... "We're first time buyers, have our mortgage agreed in principle and a solicitor on standby. We're happy to work with the seller, if they need a quick turnaround we can do that if they need time to find a house themselves we can be patient!"
You really want to stand out to the seller, especially if you're up against other people offering! Don’t focus just on what you want but also what the seller needs - this will help them pick you as the perfect buyer.
Once your offer in accepted, be proactive! One thing the estate agent and seller will want to see is commitment, so provide them your ID documents straight away when asked. Engage a solicitor and make an appointment with your bank/mortgage advisor to start your mortgage application. This keeps everything moving and in turn speeds up the buying process. If your advisor or solicitor ask for something, provide it to them as quickly as possible to avoid delays.
The bit in the middle (conveyancing/surveys) can feel like it takes ages! Don’t be afraid to check in with your solicitor once a week to see how they’re getting on - remember you're paying them to act for you. If you're not sure, ask! Don’t rely on a mate down the pub to find your answers, do your own research, speak with your advisor, estate agent, solicitor. They’ve been through this process 100 times and are best placed to assist you.
When you have a survey, don't be scared. A homebuyer's report looks scary and makes you think the house you're buying is falling down... it's not! Read it thoroughly, be objective and use a common sense approach. Speak to the surveyor to ask questions, speak to the estate agent to ask the seller questions, instruct tradespeople to check things over that you're not sure about. There is no such thing as a perfect house and the older the property the more will show up on a survey; it doesn’t mean there’s something seriously wrong with it, but just that a house that was built 50+ years ago won't comply with today’s modern standards, as they change frequently.
Exchange... the end is in sight!
Exchange is when the contracts are exchanged and your are legally bound to buy the house. Everything else has to have been 100% done before this stage can happen, and this is the point you need to pay your deposit and insure your new property. There is usually at least a week between exchange and completion (the day you get the keys) but they can sometimes be done the same day.
Completion Day! You'll get a call from your solicitor to advise your purchase has completed, however if there is a chain above you remember that the money will be moving its way up to the top ???? Usually the estate agents don’t have the keys to your new house straight away, so before heading down to them give them a call find out an approximate time for collection, and again be patient – the whole process has probably taken months to get to this stage so a few extra hours isn’t going to hurt!
Posted on: 6 July 2020