Thursday, 23 September 2021

Checklist for buying a home

Valentine’s Day may have you thinking about relationships, and having a good one with your estate agent is key when

Valentine’s Day may have you thinking about relationships, and having a good one with your estate agent is key when you’re buying or selling a house, says

Standard property correspondent Lucy Boon

, as this helpful guide lays out

Have you included VAT?

Many estate agents just put the percentage of the commission they will charge. But you should work out the amount, so you have a figure in your mind and their final bill doesn’t come as a shock. Don’t forget you can also negotiate on the percentage in advance, too.

You may want to adjust the amount of commission on an incentive basis.

For example, offer 1 per cent if they reach asking price; 1.25 per cent if the final price is above asking price, etcetera.

What’s the tie-in period?

A tie-in period is quite a standard procedure, but what if you suddenly decide you want to change to a different agency?

Make sure your contract gives you the flexibility to terminate without incurring a penalty, and go elsewhere if you’re unhappy with your agent.

Pay attention to the sole agency lock-in period which varies dramatically across agents (four weeks or 12 weeks are the most popular terms). Also watch for four-week notice periods.

Are there any hidden fees?

Check the contract for extra fees, such as marketing (which should be included in the commission fee) or penalties for ending the contract early. Ask for these to be removed if you don’t like them.

Any additional charges need to be agreed with you in writing in advance of you being charged.

Know your jargon

There are different types of contract and each has its benefits and drawbacks, so make sure you know what they are and choose carefully,

• Sole selling rights

If your contract gives the agent this, then think carefully before signing. The estate agent in the contract is the only one allowed to sell your home during the period stipulated.

And you will have to pay that estate agent, even if you find your own buyer.

• “Ready, willing and able purchaser“

It means you have to pay the agent for finding a buyer, even if you decide not to sell.

• Multi agency

You can use as many agents as you like and only pay commission to the one who sells your property. The more agents you get working for you, the more potential buyers you will reach, and potentially the higher the - offers you will get - but you will pay higher fees. Using this approach depends on what type of property you have, and the state of the market.

• Sole agency

This is the same as sole selling but if you find your own buyer, you won’t have to pay anything to the estate agent. If the contract is open-ended, the agent might be able to claim commission, even years after the contract is over.

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