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How to avoid five big mistakes when buying property

Posted on Monday, March 18, 2019

Buying a home is possibly the biggest purchase of your lifetime. The property you choose will have an impact on everything from your emotional wellbeing to your financial security, not to mention ease of your daily commute and where you children go to school. So, no pressure then! 

To help you make sure this crucial decision is a good one, it’s worth knowing a bit more about what not to do. Read on for five home buying mistakes you’ll definitely want to avoid when house hunting. 

 

How to avoid five big mistakes when buying property

 

1. Not thinking about resale value 

It’s easy to be swayed by your emotional response to a property but you need to think long term. While people are tending to stay put in their homes a little longer right now, gone are the days when a home was yours for the next 30 years. You may need to move for work, to accommodate a growing family or because you want to downsize. Make sure that there is no foreseeable reason why the property might lose its value in years to come. 

Research whether there any big building projects planned in the area that might affect house prices. Think also about any factors that could put future home buyers off – is it close to a main road or industrial premises, for example and are there plenty of years left on the lease? 

 

2. Not budgeting effectively 

It’s vital that you analyse your finances carefully before you start your property search. Draw up a realistic budget making sure you’ve taken into accountall possible costs and additional fees.Then stick to your agreed price range, no matter how tempted you are by a more expensive home.  

Buyers often focus so intently on getting their mortgage approved that other financial commitments are forgotten – so make sure you factor in stamp duty, service charges, council tax and bills.  

Think about how much you will need for any immediate repairs or renovations.But keep enough spare cash in reserve in case the unexpected happensand you need to fix a leaky roof or a broken fence later on 

If problems are apparent from the outset, you may be able to negotiate with the vendor for a better deal. 

 

3. Not investigating the planning rules 

If turning a property into your dream home will depend upon essential renovations, you need to be certain these will be possible. More often than you might think, buyers finalise their home purchase before they’ve researched the type of planning restrictions they’ll have to work with in the future. So, if you want to add an extension, garden room or other major remodelling, be sure to do your research before you commit to purchasing a property that won’t be right for you.   

 

4. Failing to thoroughly check the condition of the property 

Buyers can be so wrapped up in the excitement of finding their perfect home that they miss potential trouble spots.  

Make sure you check carefully for any signs of damp, missing roof tiles or faulty guttering. Flush toilets to check they’re working and have adequate water pressure and ask plenty of questions.  

Ask when the house was last rewired, and the boiler fitted and serviced – request documents to confirm this. Make sure the vendors have the correct certificates if gas and electrical work was completed on the property too. 

Find out what you can about any previous construction or renovations that took place. This could be a problem if the work wasn’t completed to the proper standards. Make sure that any work done on the house passed the necessary building control inspections and that the paperwork is up to date. 

If something doesn’t look right, it’s worth having an independent builder to take a look and quote for putting things right – you may be able to use this information to negotiate a lower selling price. 

 

 5. Not knowing the neighbourhood 

Before buying a house make sure you have all the facts and figures; about crime rates, schools, commute times, transport links, shops and leisure facilities. You’d be surprised by the type of information that some buyers overlook when excitement takes hold.  

If you’re new to the area, make sure you visit at different times of day and night to get a feel for the surrounding streets and facilities. Keep an eye out for any rundown properties close by and ask about any problems with noisy neighbours. If it’s a flat, be especially careful to listen out for noise that could be problematic later. 

Consider how your needs might change over the next five or ten years. You might not be concerned about schools or public transport connections now, but what if you have a family or change jobs?  While you might think you can just move again, time passes quickly. This may not feel so appealing when you have young children and pressure to find a school place.  

Make sure you discuss the local area, plus anything else you’re not sure about with your estate agent – with their insight and knowledge they can give an expert view that could help you avoid a costly mistake. 

 

Find out more 

If you’re hoping to buy and you need to find a good estate agent in Central London, give us a call. We’ll help you through your purchase, making sure it’s as stress free as possible.