10 top house buying tips
Are you in the market for a new home? Whether it’s your first tentative step onto the property ladder or you’re just looking for advice on getting it right this time, the team at GD Legal are here to help.
As experienced property lawyers, we know a thing or two about buying a house. Here we share some of our best property buying tips to help make sure you end up with the home of your dreams and not the one of nightmares!
Take a breath and stop. It’s important to always give yourself time to fully consider whether now is actually the right time to buy. Panicking about house prices rising or missing the stamp duty holiday that runs out at the end of March, are not a good enough reasons to jump into buying. Instead of being influenced by outside factors and what the ‘experts’ predict, concentrate instead on whether it’s right for you long term.
Prepare for the true cost
If only it was as simple as sorting your mortgage, grabbing the keys and moving in. But the reality is much more long-winded – and costly – than many people realise. Surveys, valuation fees, legal fees and removal costs are just some of the additional expenses you’re likely to run into when buying a home. Forewarned is forearmed.
Use property finders
Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, house hunting had predominantly moved online – the ease of searching from your settee, winning out over trawling the high street windows of estate agents. There is an abundance of property search sites online – Rightmove and Zoopla being some of the bigger names – giving you access to a huge selection of properties. Occasionally though, homes can be sold before they make it onto the sites, so it’s always worth being in touch with your local estate agent to be given the heads up as soon as something new comes in.
Choose the right neighbourhood
No matter how great property photos look, if it’s in an area that’s new to you, it’s essential to do your research. Walk the streets to get a feel for the place – is the park well maintained? Is there graffiti or signs of vandalism? What are the local shops and pubs like? Be sure to visit a few times to get a true feel – and make sure you pick different times of the day.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Before putting in an offer try to establish the current situation. How many viewings has the property had? How long has it been on the market? Why are the vendors moving out? You may not get the complete truth but watching body language as they answer can give you a good idea.
How we first see a property and the actual reality can be very different. To combat this, ask if you’re ok to take pictures during your viewing, these will be useful to look back on when you get home to reflect objectively and prevent rose-tinted glasses.
Be eagled eyed
If you’re buying alone, take a second pair of eyes with you to the viewing – someone you can rely on to be honest. Test things out – flick the lights on, count power points, feel the radiators and check for damp. And don’t forget to look up and keep an eye out for tell-tale brown stains suggesting potential leak problems.
Check out schools
Are you moving to bag the kids’ a school place? Be careful. Moving into a town with a great school doesn’t always guarantee you’ll get in. Be sure to check out all the local schools in the area to check you’d still be happy with a second or third choice.
Ask the seller to take the property off the market
So you’ve done your area research, you’ve fully vetted the property and you’re ready to put in an offer. At this point, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask the seller to take the property off the market as a condition of the sale. This minimises the chances of being gazumped and helps to make sure the home you’ve set your heart on becomes yours.
The best tip of all?
Number 10 – find experienced, efficient, and reliable property conveyancers who will be by your side for every step of your buying journey.
Ok, so yes, we do mean us – but we don’t just expect you to take out word for it! Take a look at our reviews to see what other house buyers make of our services. And, if you’d like to talk to the team in more detail to discuss how we can help make sure your buying experience is as smooth and stress free as possible, simply get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.