Buying a home is likely to be the most important and expensive purchases you are likely to make. So it is very important that you get right otherwise your mistake may prove costly.
What to consider
When considering to buy a property you have make some basic decisions for example;
- How much can you afford to pay.
- How large should the accommodation be.
- How important is the location of the property.
- How long do you plan to live there.
- What will be your needs in the future.
Obviously we cannot make these decisions for you but what we can do is give some thought and ideas to each of these areas which may help to guide your thought and decision making process.
The size of the accommodation will obviously be influenced
by the function of how much you can afford and what
its conditions is. Initially there may be the requirement
for one or two people to occupy the property so one
bedroom may be all you will need. But in the future
you may wish to expand as the family grows in numbers.
Buy Small and Grow
If your budget is limited you may want to consider a property which can be extended in the future ether by adding an extension to the elevations of the building or even building into the roof space.
Building extensions cost around £100 per square foot of accommodation. Any extension will be subject to planning consent and Building Control approval. The main advantage can be that with the right enhancement to a property you can create added value, phase your expenditure and build what you need when you need it.
Take all the costs into account
In working out how much you can afford to spend on a property you need to consider if you need to allow for renovation costs in addition to the normal Solicitors, Surveyors, stamp duty and Building Society fees. It is easy to get fully committed to just buying the property and if there is no money left for modifications or furnishings life can be pretty miserable.
Location can be important. If you need to be near public transport you may decide that you don’t need a car for a few years because local transport is easier. Alternatively if your chosen location is more remote then it is essential you have factored this in together with space to keep a car or motor bicycle. Also the area is very important and may affect the sale in the future. For example being near a public house or a school may suit some but may put others off the property.
Will improvement add value
The style of property and the surrounding homes may limit the type of enhancement that will gain value. Some times it is better to buy a house needing renovation located in an expensive area. Your improvements will add value rather than vastly improving a property which looks uncomfortable in it’s surrounding area.
Local knowledge goes a long way
Local knowledge is important. Ask around and you will
soon find out if the are you are considering is popular
or not. Check with the Local Council and ask to see
any plans that are in store for the area. They may be
planning some big improvements that will enhance the
value of the property. On the other hand you may find
out that property is cheap because they are planning
a local tip or new road which may reduce the value of
the property or make it difficult to sell. Be cautious
if there is an open field adjacent. Developers are very
clever at applying for planning consent and then not
starting building for several years.
Getting the price right
Once you have found the property you like you need to decide if the price is right. Always offer a discount on the asking price unless you are really convinced that the price is a bargain. Remember that if the seller has used an Estate Agent then they would have valued the property with a margin to reduce if an offer is made.
Finding the problems
You may need to get a Surveyors report to see if there are some defects on the property and you can always use this the negotiate a reduction if remedial work is required. We would stress that even Surveyors sometimes get it wrong or they word their report in such away that it would be difficult to challenge if they made a mistake. Even if you can sue it does not help you much if you have a problem.
Listed below are some items that are worth checking
though yourself. Even if you are not an expert a careful
look at everything can reveal a lot.
- Are there any cracks in the walls and floors.
- Are there any signs of dampness.
- Do the walls and window frames look square.
- Do the windows and doors open ok
- Is there any rotten wood
- Has the property been recently completely redecorated. May be this is to cover up a major problem.
- Just because each room has been fitted with new power sockets or switches it does not mean that the house has been rewired.
- Look at other houses in the road have they had new wall ties.
- What are the soil conditions like. Clay soil often means subsidence problems.
- Go in to the loft space are there signs of wood worm or rotten timbers. Is the roof sagging or leaking.
- Are there any condensation problems.
- Do the drains allow the water to discharge correctly.
- Are there any guaranties still current. e.g. Double glazing, cavity insulation.
- How long ago was the heating boiler serviced are there any visible leaks.
- Does water flow out of the taps ok. A hard water area can means major scaling of the pipes restricting flow.
- Look at electrical distribution board are there any signs of fuses being burnt or smoke damage.
The above list is not all the items to check but it
is a good start. It does not necessarily mean that you
avoid the property if you find some defects but you
need to seek further advice on what you have found from
an expert. Get a quotation to put the defect right.
Once a Contractor has to put it in writing it usually
flushes out what the real remedial cost are.
Is there a better property?
To check if the price of the property is right look
to other Estate Agents in the area and see what is on
offer. There are also web sites with excellent data
bases on property prices. Check with Insurance Companies
and ask for a quotation on home insurance they have
excellent data bases linked back to postal codes their
premium may reflect if there are problems the area.
Why is the owner selling
Ask the owner why they are selling their property and watch their reaction.
When making an offer you must also consider if you have a property to sell. If you are in a position where you are a first time buyer with a mortgage all agreed then you are in a strong position to reduce your offer if the seller wants a quick sell.
Getting the right solicitor or conveyancer is a personal choice and its important you chose the right one for you. It maybe cheaper, quicker and easier to use an online conveyancer [more on conveyancing].
Solicitors are not always the most efficient people. So, again the onus is on you to monitor progress and keep the pressure on to ensure that you achieve your goal and purchase your property with no major problems.