Before going out to view properties and potentially make offers here are a few tips which we hope will help:
1. Get your finances sorted: Sounds simple, but we’re frequently amazed by the number of prospective buyers who view properties then discover later that they can’t borrow what they originally expected – or in some cases, discover they can borrow more, if they wish! Also, it’s worth thinking about legal costs and stamp duty. At present, stamp duty is calculated as follows:
Property or lease premium or transfer value SDLT rate
Up to £125,000 Zero
The next £125,000 (the portion from £125,001 to £250,000) 2%
The next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000) 5%
The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million) 10%
The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million) 12%
2. Do your homework before a viewing: The internet is a great resource for information – it’s worth checking out distances to stations, schools etc before making an appointment. Also, look at room and garden sizes – it’s frustrating for buyers and sellers alike when they make a long journey to view a property that’s not suitable – especially when the information was all to hand! Whenever possible, have a drive past the house before viewing to check out the area.
3. When making an offer, think first about how much you are offering – and why: It sounds obvious, but some people just put a low offer in, hoping to catch a desperate seller, but then set off negotiations on a bad footing as the vendor takes offence to the low bid. If there is a lot of interest in a particular house, and the price is not unreasonable, then it is sometimes best to secure it with the asking price.
4. Think time scales: It’s all very well batting offers around, but it’s also important to know that the seller is moving to the same time scale. Look to try to establish a ‘target’ date when offering – this should avoid stress or disagreements later on during the course of the transaction.
5. Think outside the box: Many buyers have found their ideal home by widening their search areas, or maybe purchasing at a lower price level and extending to create the right property for their needs. If you remain very rigid with your criteria then it could take a long time to find the right place!
6. Talk to us: It’s tempting (and convenient) just to browse the web, but we often have homes marketed on a ‘low key’ basis, or we might be able to give you the ‘heads up’ on a property before it hits the market. We aim to give a personal service, rather than that of large corporate agencies – where people can get lost in the system – so give us a call and tell us about your moving plans and favourite locations.
7. Buy to let: Remember that you are not buying the property to live in – look at it as impartially as possible and if you are refurbishing the property keep it simple and neutral – don’t try to personalise it to your own tastes. Very often the best yields come from the less exciting looking homes!