Buying a property is an exciting venture, whether it is your very first property, property number two or downsizing from a family home to a retirement pad.
With all moves, there can be stressful points and glitches so, with one eye on getting you in your new home as soon as possible, Online Conveyancing Quote have put together these top tips and advice for buying your next home:
- Get your mortgage offer in place BEFORE you start looking – if buying a property is top of your must do list, it makes sense to have the basics in place before you start looking. Everything hinges on the buyer securing a mortgage so to show vendors that you are serious about buying, get a mortgage offer in place before you start looking. It is no guarantee of a mortgage but, it shows that there is a possibility of you being accepted for one.
- Write a will – seems a little odd to just throw this in here but property is a major asset and thus, setting out what you want to happen to it in the event of your death makes sense. For some buyers, this is a real necessity more so if you are purchasing a property with someone to whom you are not legally married. It can present a minefield if, on your death you own property and leave no will.
- Long term investment – there were hallucinogenic days back in the 1980s when property could be snapped up for a few thousand pounds and sold on at a huge profit. This housing bubble soon popped, leaving many people with negative equity. The market today is not quite the same and, there are still profits to be had but, anyone buying a property needs to be aware that it is a long term investment. Buy wisely and buy in an area that you can see yourself living in for some time.
- Improve, with care – all properties can be improved and made to be the way that we want them to be but, what suits one person may not suit another. If you are seriously looking to add value to a property through improvements, extensions and renovations take time to consider if they are adding value. Some renovations and ‘improvements’ if not done well, can detract from a property.
- ‘Fussy’ mortgage lenders – again times have changed from the days when banks and lenders more or less gave their money away. The new buzzwords are ‘responsible lending’ and this can mean for today’s borrowers that there is more details needed about income and expenses. At one time, a rounded figure of what was spent each month sufficed but now, there is much more detail needed. Make sure direct debits are paid, you are within your overdraft facility (if you have one) and that the important things is paid on time.
- The deposit – many of today’s homebuyers suffer from a lack of deposit or a deposit that is not large enough to secure the mortgage they can afford. The pressure is mounting on buyers to have a large deposit which can work in your favour – securing a better mortgage interest rate for example – but it can make getting on the housing ladder far more difficult.
- Shared ownership and other schemes – there are many schemes backed and guaranteed by the UK Government to help buyers on to the housing ladder but, refreshingly, some of these schemes also apply to people who are looking to buy a bigger family home. These schemes look at the deposit side of things, thus making the affordability of a mortgage more viable without a huge financial risk to the buyer or lender. This means that the economy, as a whole will also benefit from a property market that is buoyant and secure.
- Quality survey – when money is tight, it can be easy to forgo some of the most important aspects of house buying one of which is the survey. Opt for the most comprehensive survey you can afford, even if this means forgoing some of the renovations you want to do at this time. Knowing that the property is worth the money you are paying for is one thing, but knowing the cost of any repairs, both now and in the immediate future, is quite another.
- Keep to budget – that said, buying a property is the most expensive thing that you will ever do and so, keeping a tight rein on the budget is important. But make sure you have insurances too, from home insurance to critical illness and so on; protect you and protect your investment.
- Protect against the worst – as it is so important, we are going to make the point twice! As much as we like to think that we are fit and healthy, accidents and illnesses can and do happen. Although the budget is under strain, it pays to use it wisely and thus, insurances are key to peace of mind. Again, it may mean putting off the new kitchen for a few months, or sitting on deck chairs rather than a designer sofa but, if your income dropped due to not being able to work, how will you pay your mortgage.
And finally, get to know the seller. The property market is a tough place and there are many aspects of the buying process that can stick the proverbial spanner in the works. However, to help the process go a little smoother, getting to know the seller can help when the process starts to get sluggish. There is no reason why the sale and purchase cannot be an amicable process!