Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Buy with your head as well as your heart

HOMES Weekly’s occasional ‘Focus On’ section is full of tips, tricks and DIY ideas to get

HOMES Weekly’s occasional ‘Focus On’ section is full of tips, tricks and DIY ideas to get the most from your home and even make it more saleable. This issue – simple rules for buying a house.

It’s the largest purchase you’re ever likely to make, and small details can turn into big mistakes. So make sure you’ve got it covered when you’re looking for your next home.

Be Prepared

Get all your paperwork in order before you start property hunting.

Whether this means putting your current house on the market, preparing finances or getting an agreement in principle from a lender, being organised will save delays further down the line.

Love the area

Make a list of what’s important to you. Consider how far you’re willing to live from local shops, schools or public transport. Check out your new local pub; see where the doctor is, and where you can pick up your emergency pint of milk from.

Getting a feel for the area as well as which streets you are interested in is obvious, but essential.

Don’t just rely on the internet

You need to build a relationship with your agent (the full list of Henley’s agents can be found at www.henleystandard.co.uk/ property/agents.php) so that you get the first phone call when something new and really good comes to the market.

Make sure they know exactly what you want and the areas you are willing to compromise in. This level of trust will mean you stay ahead of the game.

Factor in the true cost of moving

Buying a home’s almost guaranteed to cost more than you think. Consider the mortgage arrangement fee, any fee a lender charges for a valuation, legal fees, stamp duty, survey costs and enough money for any unexpected property maintenance, furniture and extras.

Listen to your heart, too

So often buyers spend a lifetime working out whether a house offers value for money, or whether it ticks enough boxes and they overlook the fact that they should enjoy living there. You tend to know instantly if the house works or not.

Look below the surface

Try to look under the skin of the house – at what it could be, not what it is. The fantastically decorated house with superb modern furniture will look very different when you import your own less sophisticated but much cherished family pieces of furniture.

Conversely, a house that is in dire need of a makeover, with avocado bathrooms and peeling wallpaper, could make a superb home with little effort and a bit of money spent wisely.

Ask the right questions

Before putting in an offer, pose as many questions as possible to make sure you have all the information at hand.

For example, how many viewings has the property had? How long has it been on the market? How long has the seller lived there? Have there been any  subsidence problems?

Are there any parking issues – always an important one with the narrow streets and limited parking of Henley!

Flick the switches, turn on your phone

Although a survey will dig out any major problems, it’s good to do the obvious first. After all, you don’t want to be settled in your new home only to find out you can’t get broadband connection.

Things to remember are checking for signs of damp, looking up at ceilings for stains, turning lights on and off, flushing toilets, locking doors, lifting up rugs, inspecting the loft, checking the outside walls, saying hello to the neighbours and checking you’re not in a dead zone for mobile phones.

Get the right survey

There are three types of property surveys you can have, so make sure you get the one that best suits your needs.

A condition report is very basic and tends to apply to new builds. A homebuyer report is much more thorough and examines both the inside and outside of the property as well as additional valuation. A building or structural survey is the most comprehensive of the lot, and should definitely be used on listed buildings and conversions – anything unusual.

Let the agent negotiate

When it comes to negotiation, leave that to the agency. They’ll act in your best interests and try and secure the best deal for you, playing both good cop and bad cop as required.

Make sure your agent knows what you want, but don’t be afraid to let them do the talking. It’s what they’re there for, after all.

Staying power

Buying a house isn’t always easy. It can take time to get all parties on the same page and push the sale through, but if you really want to buy your home, you’ll need to keep your spirits up and to stick to your strategy with rigour.

Keep your eyes fixed firmly on your long–term aim and look forward to the future. Remember that all the hard work will pay off in the end.

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