Buying a property may well be the biggest purchase of your life, so it’s worth taking the time to do your homework – it may save you thousands of pounds.
Location, Location, Location
Yes, it’s a cliché, but when it comes to property, it’s everything. A property in a desirable location will be worth more and will hold its value better than a larger property in a less desirable area. Houses near the sea or next to a river are generally highly desirable, but watch out for those flood plains. Your local authority will be able to advise you on this. Village life is also very popular now, particularly if the location in question is in the commuter belt for a big city.
Many of the building sites that were moth-balled after the property bubble burst are now starting to spring to life. On offer are part-exchange and shared-ownership schemes, whereby the purchaser buys a stake in the property and pays rent on the remainder.
Save a Period Property
The 60s, 70s and 80s may have been a golden age for music, but they had a lot to answer for in terms of interior design. The interior of many a period property was systematically wrecked with period features ending up in skips on the street. Kitchens and bathrooms that were fitted in the eighties are likely to be looking somewhat dated now and could be reflected in a lower asking price.
Don’t be Afraid of the Auction House
This is the place where the repossessions go, so it’s probably the best place to bag a bargain. As with all auctions, know your limit and ensure that the finances are in place before you start bidding, as you’ll have to stump up a 10% deposit on the day and then settle the remainder of the balance within 28 days. One area where many people go wrong at auctions is to blindly bid on a property without any notion of its structural integrity. If you’re serious, get a surveyor to give it the once over; hoping for the best could cost you dear in the long run.
It’s OK to Haggle
Asking prices are almost always over-valued. Open the negotiation with a realistic figure – not an insulting one, and always take into account the other costs of moving home such as stamp duty, mortgage set-up costs, solicitors’ fees and removal firms.