Top 10 tips for buyers

Tuesday 9th July 2013

With growing signs that the UK housing market is firmly on the road to recovery, supported by government backed initiatives, such as Help to Buy and Funding for Lending Scheme, now is a particularly good time about investing in property. With this in mind, Julie Elliott from Fine & Country Swansea offers her top 10 tips for buyers.


1. Befriend the Estate Agent

Of course every estate agent acts in the interest of the seller, but building a relationship with your local agents will really help them understand what you’re looking for and they will be more willing to go that extra mile to help you in your search.


2. Decide on a Budget

This is critical as unforeseen costs will just be a headache for you further down the line. To make your purchase as streamlined as possible, research mortgage options, solicitor fees, stamp duty and survey costs in advance of conducting your property search. Make sure you write it down for reference!


3. Proof of Funds

When negotiating starts, the estate agent may well ask you, ‘How will you be able to proceed with this purchase?’ This is a great chance to show them proof of funds. More than just a verbal assurance, you should ideally have independent confirmation from someone like a bank manager or a building society that you are able to put forward the figure you say you can. You don’t need to necessarily give away private information if you don’t want to – but the more you can prove to the estate agent and seller –the better. If there are a number of similar offers on a property, the most substantiated and evidenced offer will often win the day.


4. Research the Area

Do more than just drive through the place you are planning on moving to. Spend a long weekend visiting the pubs, cafes, boutiques and parks. Get a real feel for the place, anything from transport links to supermarkets to good schools. Speak to the locals. Most towns and villages have their own websites which can provide useful information. Social media is another useful tool if you want an authentic insight into what a particular location is really like. I would also recommend following Twitter hash tags for places as they can often reveal quirky facts and finds.


5. Make Only Sensible Offers

I often advise buyers that some sellers have an “insult threshold ”. Making an offer that is unrealistically under the guide price can be insulting and risk discrediting you as a sensible buyer. This means that when and if you are ready to make your “real” offer, the vendor may not be prepared to listen, even if that isn’t in their interests either! Negotiating competitive offers is of course common, but do your research on the property and at least listen to what the estate agent says.


6. Do What You Say

If you say you will send your solicitor details by Friday, make sure it really is Friday. It saves so much to-ing and fro-ing from both parties and of course, it will help you move into that dream home far quicker. Always doing what you’ve said you will do further builds the trust between you as a buyer and the owner and estate agent.


7. Get the Solicitor Ready

Try to avoid a situation where you need to get back to someone in a week because you have forgotten to contact and prepare a solicitor or conveyancer. Shop around for a local solicitor that has fair rates and have them prepped in advance of your buy. Ask friends and colleagues if they can recommend anyone.


8. Always Arrange a Survey
It is absolutely essential to get a survey done on the property that you want to buy. Read it carefully, even speak to the surveyor directly if possible- but don’t over react if, as is often the case, some minor improvements need to be made.


9. What Did Next door Sell for?

This is all part of the research process when finding your dream home. Check out websites such as NetHouseprice, Rightmove and Zoopla. These brilliant sites can tell you how much similar properties on the road (or within the postcode) actually sold for and when-all for free.


10. Don’t Make a Rash Purchase

If you have sold your house quicker than expected, don’t discount moving into rented accommodation until you find that dream home. This is one of the biggest decisions of your life, so don’t rush.


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