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Top Tips for buying a property

 

Buying a property is one of the biggest purchases you will make in your lifetime, therefore getting it right is crucial. Our Guild agents are here to help you through the whole process, and we have devised a house-buying guide talking you through some of the most important things to consider when buying your new home.

 

This guide is split up into three easy readable sections which include information on the real costs of buying, offer advice and a viewing checklist which could make or break your deal.

 

We’ve made every effort to ensure these tips are as accurate as possible; however, this does not constitute as legal advice tailored to your circumstances. Act on this at your own risk.

Section One: Mortgages & finances

Securing a mortgage

First of all, take a look at our mortgage calculator to estimate your repayment plan. Once you understand how much you will need to borrow, think about ways to raise the money. Read our tips for securing a mortgage here.

The real cost of buying

Buying a home isn’t just about paying for the mortgage, you are almost always going to pay more than you initially think. It is important to think about all the other costs, so you can adjust your budget accordingly. Think about factoring in mortgage arrangement fees, valuation and legal fees, stamp duty and survey costs. Speak to our Guild agents for more information or view our budgeting tips here.

First-time buyer finances

Buying a home can be a daunting process therefore when it’s your first time buying a home it is important to know how to budget and what help you can receive. Firstly, think about what you can actually afford, then if you realise you don’t have enough it’s time to start looking for extra funding. Help to Buy is a set of schemes put in place to give you a little helping hand. The Help to Buy ISA pays first-time buyers a government bonus which can boost your savings.. Take a look at our first-time buyer finance page for more help.

 

Find out more about Stamp duty for first-time buyers.

Section Two: Buying a property

Research the area

Before you decide on a property, research the area or areas you are currently considering. Questions to ask yourself are: what are the amenities like? Can you travel everywhere you need to be? Are there good surrounding schools? You may even want to look into the crime levels in the area. All this information can be found online, and it is worth looking into.

Get the most out of property viewings

It is important to ask any questions you have while viewing a property you are considering buying, whether you’re speaking directly to the vendor or one of our agents - don’t be afraid to ask. Also, consider viewing the property you’re most interested in at different times of the day, this will allow you to get an idea of what the neighbourhood is like. It is important not to rush your property search, even when you think you have found a property you like, there could be many underlying issues you need to be prepared to deal with first. We have a full property viewing checklist here.

Property viewing deal-breakers

You don’t have to waste money on a survey only to discover obvious problems; for a second or third viewing consider taking a realistic friend along with you for their honest opinion. We have put together a small checklist of things you might want to look at in more detail when viewing your a home.

 

Damp

Think about the smell of the property, does it smell musty? Peely wallpaper is often a significant factor in damp. Makes sure to check inside cupboards too (remember to ask permission first).

Look at the ceilings

This is something many people forget to do when viewing a property; it is natural for our eyes to just look at everything at and below eye level. However, it is very important to look at ceilings for any brown stains, cracks or even slow drips.

Lift mats and rugs

Check for stains and marks lying underneath!

Count power points

Make a quick floor plan for each room remembering how many power points there were and where they are so you can then work out where everything could potentially fit into the room. It’s always good to check how old the sockets look as well.

Observe outside walls

Check the walls for mould, cracks and rotten woodwork.

Check out the neighbours

If you’re buying a flat or terrace house, think about how the neighbouring properties look. Are they run down? Could this cause problems for you and the property you're thinking of buying?

Remember, if you’re selling your current property, buyers will be looking out for these things too! So, make sure you tackle any of these issues before you’re showing people around.

Section Three: The offer

How much to offer?

Knowing how much you can afford and being able to supply the evidence to confirm this is so important when thinking about your offer and how much you want to put down. Being confident in your offer isn’t a bad thing either, you don’t have to apologise if it’s not the asking price.

Knowing when and if you can pull out of a sale

You can pull out of a purchase at any time before contracts are exchanged, after this it becomes pretty complicated to change your mind without adding a lot of extra costs. Always speak to your solicitors or one of our Guild agents if you’re not sure what action is best to take.

Auction properties

Making an offer through a property auction can seem like a much different process. While all the same factors are there the speed at which it all happens is increased massively. Auction properties are often a lot cheaper than market values; therefore it makes sense to look into both prospects. If you are considering buying a property through auctions, we recommend going to a couple first, so you know what to expect. You must get a survey done on a property you are looking to make an offer on at auction - there could be hidden defects to the property if you don’t.

 

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