Home Buying Tips 21-25

It’s the biggest purchase of your life – Let’s make sure that you get it right!

21. Fixtures & Fittings

Make sure you let your Solicitors know what fixtures and fittings are to be included in the purchase and get written confirmation of this. Do not assume the light fittings, window blinds and such will be included in the sale, always ask and always have the solicitors tie this up otherwise you may find you have bought considerably less than you thought you have.

22. Surveys

Basic Valuation

This is paid for by you but carried out on behalf of the lender. Major defects such as subsidence should be picked up because they will affect the value but other minor defects may be missed. (Minor defects can still cost £1000’s to put right)

Expect to pay –  £0 – £350 depending on the lender and mortgage deal.

Homebuyers report

Much more detailed and looks at areas such as electrics, heating and plumbing. You will be able to get a detailed idea of the costs of any remedial work and may be able to use this information to get a reduction in the price!!

Expect to pay – £450 – £600

Full Structural                                  

Advisable on older properties and those of unusual construction. This is the most comprehensive of all surveys. It costs more but you will get no nasty surprises and you may well be able to recoup the cost if it gives you ammunition to knock down the price.

Expect to pay – £800 – £1000

Summary                                            

I know buying a property seems like a never ending set of bills and it may seem best to go for the cheapest, but…. rewiring a house might cost £5000….underpinning a property £30,000+.

If money is that tight then try and take someone around who knows a thing or two about what to look for.

23. Get quotes for work

The surveyor is offering an opinion. Get an “expert” in to quote for any remedial work that is recommended, this will make sure you have no financial surprises but also can be used as a tool for renegotiation on the price.

24. When can you pull out?

You can pull out any time before exchange – after this the costs are massive.

Just remember if you have paid out for a survey or search fees, these are property specific so you will have lost these. You may also lose your booking fee with the Lender.

A good point to remember is that a seller can also pull out at any time before exchange.

 

25. Protect your family and your belongings

Life cover

There are many types of protection – Life cover/ Critical illness/ Income protection. Whatever is the right package for you…. MAKE SURE IT IS ON RISK BEFORE YOU EXCHANGE CONTRACTS. This may sound simple but some insurers will require a medical/ GP report (I have had it take over 3 months to get a report back from a Doctor’s surgery). That’s why I start pushing and chasing these applications from day one – because I don’t want my clients’ families homeless if the worst should happen.

Building & Contents Insurance

This is an easy one to let slip with everything else that’s going on….(Well – unless I’m looking after things….)

But think about it, you are moving into a new home with all your “stuff” nicely boxed up for a burglar to swipe. You may be moving into a vacant property which has had the water turned off and springs a leak the moment you move in causing the downstairs ceiling to collapse.

And yes both of these things have happened to clients of mine. In fact, one called me at 10pm on a Saturday for the insurance claims phone number because he didn’t know which box the insurance documents were packed in.

Gas

Get a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate. If there isn’t one, get appliances checked by a registered engineer.

Alarms

Carbon monoxide and Smoke alarms. If they are in situ – test them. If they are not – buy them. Don’t put this off. It’s a few quid to potentially save the lives’ of your loved ones.

Ok, that’s it – I’ve run out of house buying tips for now……but don’t despair, next week we move on to House Selling.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Your initial mortgage consultation is obligation free. There may be a fee for our mortgage service of up to £395 though in some circumstances this may be waived. Being independent we also offer a “fee only” option which is typically 1% of the amount borrowed and any commission derived from the lender is returned to you. The precise amount will depend on your circumstances and mortgage loan amount, and will be discussed and agreed on before you make a mortgage application.

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Home Buying Tips – Tip 16 – 20

It is the biggest purchase of your life – let’s make sure that you get it right!

 

16. Credit File

Get a copy of your credit file from Experian or Equifax, to make sure that you know if there are any nasty entries.

In the modern climate even a couple of late payments can mean a decline or that you pay a higher rate or that you will need a higher deposit.

If there is any adverse credit at all, you need to speak to a mortgage broker as he may have specialist mortgage products or help you in repairing your credit file.

 

17. Check out the property

When you look around a property, check it thoroughly. Don’t be shy – you are spending 100’s of thousand’s and are entitled to check everything before parting with your hard earned cash.

You don’t need to be a surveyor to do these checks….

  • Check Windows and doors

Cupboards/ Draws to be opened to make sure they work

Check double glazing for signs of condensation as they may need replacing

  • Check for damp

Wet spots & mouldy peeling wallpaper. Look inside cupboards and does it smell musty?

  • Do touch that dial!

If it’s electric, switch it on – Switch on lights, test sockets, fire up that oven and switch on any  electric fires. Also make sure you have enough sockets (in the right places) for your needs

  • Locks

Ensure locks meet insurance requirements. Usually a 5 lever Mortice deadlock’s are required. Check windows for locks and make sure there are sufficient keys.

  •  Ceilings

Cracks, leaks, stains can all show signs of problems

  • Plumbing

Turn taps & showers on. Flush the toilet. Check that cupboards underneath sinks are dry.

  • Fire up that boiler

              Check the boiler works and isn’t making nasty sounds. Make sure all the radiators are getting hot and do not leak.

  • Lift mats and rugs

Are they being used to cover something nasty? If you look below you will know!

  •  Roof

             Check the roof for missing tiles or dodgy guttering

  • Walls

Cracks or mould could indicate something costly

  • What’s in the loft?

              Pop your head into the unknown and bring a torch. Check to see if any wood work is rotten.

 

18.       Consider resale value

If a property has been on the market quite a while – why hasn’t it shifted? Remember at some point you may wish to sell the property. When your secluded “niche” property, miles away from anything hasn’t sold in 3 years – it may not seem like such a bargain. Parking, garden size, transportation links, local schools and amenities should all be considered.

 

19.          So what ‘s it made of then?

Brick and tile are easy. However what if the property has a thatch roof or has concrete walls. Did you know that a property that looks similar but is made of concrete could be hard to obtain a mortgage on, or may be worth tens of thousands of pounds less than one made of brick?

20. Leasehold properties

Look for at least 80 years lease on properties. If it is less than this it may be harder to sell on in future. Leases can be extended but can cost upwards of £10,000 to do so.

 

5 More Home Buying Tips in the next blog………….

 

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Your initial mortgage consultation is obligation free. There may be a fee for our mortgage service of up to £395 though in some circumstances this may be waived. Being independent we also offer a “fee only” option which is typically 1% of the amount borrowed and any commission derived from the lender is returned to you. The precise amount will depend on your circumstances and mortgage loan amount, and will be discussed and agreed on before you make a mortgage application.

Home Buying Tips – Tip 1 – 5

It is the biggest purchase of your life – let’s make sure that you get it right!

Here are the first 5 tips to buying a new home

1. Get financial advice – Day one. I was deliberating this one because I am a broker and I did not want to use this thread to “sell my services”. However what is the point in going shopping without any money?!?

A good Broker can tell you how much money you are going to need for a deposit and fees. He can also work with you to find out how much you can afford and how much you can borrow.

If you are not ready yet he can help draw up a plan to get you in a position to purchase, or if everything “fits” – he can get you an Agreement in Principle from the Lender.

2. List all of the costs

Deposit required Varies
Mortgage Arrangement fee – Typically £500 – £1500
Valuation Fee Typically £200 – £300
Legal Fees Typically £800 – £1000
Stamp Duty 1% of the purchase price over £125,000, 3% over£250,000 as so on
Surveys More detailed surveys cost more money typically £400 – £800
Removals Depends on distances involved
House repairs and furnishings You’ve bought the house, now it’s time to fill it up. Don’t leave yourself so broke you have to sit on the floor!

3. Make a list of Needs and Wants

The Needs are what a property must have. For instance, if it has to have a minimum 3 bedrooms what’s the point in seeing one with 2?

The Wants are what you would like the property to have. You want to find a property with as many of these as possible, but if a property didn’t have some of these it wouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker.

Just remember to be realistic, if you can’t find that 5 bed Town House in Kensington for £250,000 then perhaps you need to lower your sights.

When you are seeing loads of properties this will help you to keep track and short list those ones for a second viewing.

4. Don’t be shy – in the UK we don’t like to haggle but as the saying goes if you don’t ask you don’t get.

So, these are the golden rules….

  • Set a maximum / “walk away” price.
  • It is all too easy to get carried away whilst bidding but make sure you set a maximum price you are prepared to pay for the property.
  • Start low.

Put in a “cheeky offer” say 10% – 15% below asking price, if you have someone who wants to move in a hurry they might say yes!

If they say no –  ask them what they would accept. Then you can always put in another higher offer…. just remember to walk away when you hit your maximum price.

Usually you will meet somewhere in the middle.

  • Maximise your position.

If you are a first time buyer with no property to sell, tell them that it means you can move quickly.

Tell them you have your finance arranged and have an Agreement in Principle with Solicitors all   tee-d up and ready to go.

Tell them you have a highly motivated broker ( I’m sure I know one of those) who can get everything tied up quickly.

5. Arrange a Mortgage in Principle*

I know I touched on this earlier but the reasons for doing this are important:

1) It gives you a much more accurate reflection on how much you can borrow. A lenders calculator or a comparison site will only give a very rough indication.

2) It stops you falling in love with a property you can’t get the finance for.

3) It strengthens your buying position and show’s you are serious.

4) It can put an end to any Estate agent – “you have to sit down with our adviser……” tricks.

5) It allows you to move fast instead of losing out on a property.

6)  We know in advance if there are any issues on the credit file and arrange a plan to sort them.**

*Be careful about obtaining an agreement in principle from multiple lenders as this could stop you getting any finance for a period of time.

**Did you know a single late payment on a credit card will mean some lenders will not lend to a First Time Buyer

 

        5 More Home Buying Tips in the next blog………….

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Your initial mortgage consultation is obligation free. There may be a fee for our mortgage service of up to £395 though in some circumstances this may be waived. Being independent we also offer a “fee only” option which is typically 1% of the amount borrowed and any commission derived from the lender is returned to you. The precise amount will depend on your circumstances and mortgage loan amount, and will be discussed and agreed on before you make a mortgage application.

Home Buying Tips – Tips 6-10

It is the biggest purchase of your life – let’s make sure that you get it right! 

6. What’s in the Neighbourhood?….

  • Do you like the local shops?
  • Is there graffiti on the walls?
  • What are your priorities? – What do you need in walking distance: Good schools, Pubs, shops,….?
  • Are there parks and open spaces?
  • Pop in to the local police station or ask the local bobby.

One of my clients thought it was wonderful to live down the road from a pub……that was until he found out that the local youths drunken pass time was to run across the roofs of cars on their way home. Unfortunately he had a convertible!!…..

7. The top ten things to ask the sellers:

1. Who lives upstairs/ downstairs, next door?

2. Have there been neighbour disputes?

3. How long has it been on the market and how many viewings / offers have they had?

4. If it is a flat – how long is the lease, how much is the ground rent/ maintenance charge?

5. How long have they lived there and why are they moving?

6.When was it rewired, how old is the boiler and when was it last inspected?

7. Have they found a property? If so how many people are in the chain?

8. Have there been any structural problems?

9. What is included in the sale?

10. What renovations have been done?

8. View at different times of the day/ week

Does a quiet road on a Sunday become a noisy speed track on weekdays?

Is it quiet in the day because the neighbours are at work only to play loud music at deafening volumes until the late hours?

….Do yourself a big favour and arrange a few viewings at different times

9. Take photos with your mobile

This can help you keep track when you are viewing many properties

10.  Check out the neighbours

It’s useful to find out who you will be living next to, also chat to neighbours who may be a little further away as they are more likely to be honest. They are less likely to be friends with the neighbours or anxious to get shot of them.

 

    5 More Home Buying Tips in the next blog………….

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Your initial mortgage consultation is obligation free. There may be a fee for our mortgage service of up to £395 though in some circumstances this may be waived. Being independent we also offer a “fee only” option which is typically 1% of the amount borrowed and any commission derived from the lender is returned to you. The precise amount will depend on your circumstances and mortgage loan amount, and will be discussed and agreed on before you make a mortgage application. 

Home Buying Tips – Tips 11-15

It is the biggest purchase of your life – Let’s make sure that you get it right!                  

11. Work out what you can afford

What you can borrow and what you can afford are 2 different things.

  • If you are going to stretch yourselves to buy the biggest property you can afford, will you be happy with the compromises to your lifestyle such as socialising less?
  • Would you be more comfortable spending less and having more disposable income?

This is where a Broker can really help. They can provide “real–world” figures and help you define a realistic budget you are comfortable with.

12. Private deal

If you see a road you would really like to live down, why not write a nice letter and post it through the letterbox’s of houses that you like.  Owners may be keen to sell because they won’t have to pay an Estate Agent’s fees. This can really work!!

13.Buying at auction

  • The Golden rule regarding buying anything at auctions is to go a couple of times before you want to buy – just to get a feel for things.
  • Make sure you get a full survey to make sure you know what you are buying.
  • Get a solicitor to check for legal issues
  • Have a maximum “walk away” price for the property and STICK TO IT!
  • This is different to a normal purchase – as soon as the hammer goes down it will cost a fortune to pull out
  • You will have to pay a 10% deposit, YOU WILL LOSE THIS IF YOU DONT COMPLETE WITHIN THE ALLOTED TIME (USUALLY 4-6 WEEKS)
  • Use a broker to arrange the finance first. The lender he selects may not be based solely on the lowest rate but also the ability to complete quickly.
  • If you have a property to sell then make sure you have completed on the sale before going to auction. As a delay could cost you BIG!

14. Ask them to take the property off the market

Make your offer conditional on the basis that they take their property “off the market”. This will help to stop you being gazumped (where a seller accepts a higher offer having accepted a lower offer).

Either part can pull out right up until exchange of contracts.

15. Minimise your financial exposure

Some property chains are simple -if it’s just you and the seller and both you of you want to complete as quickly as possible then you can pull out all the stops.

However most property chains are more complex and may take longer to form. As soon as you put in an application with a lender they will carry out the valuation/ Survey. This could be up to £1000 (depending on type), the way I work with my clients is to hold off on this until the chain forms. If the chain collapses then you haven’t lost the survey fee.

The same goes with search fee’s (£200 – £250). Get the mortgage offer in place and make sure the chain is fully formed before you fork out!

 

5 More Home Buying Tips in the next blog………….

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Your initial mortgage consultation is obligation free. There may be a fee for our mortgage service of up to £395 though in some circumstances this may be waived. Being independent we also offer a “fee only” option which is typically 1% of the amount borrowed and any commission derived from the lender is returned to you. The precise amount will depend on your circumstances and mortgage loan amount, and will be discussed and agreed on before you make a mortgage application.