TOP TIPS WHEN BUYING A NEW PROPERTY

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TOP TIPS WHEN BUYING A HOUSE.

So you’ve decided to move house, what’s next?

Having done all the research and found out information about the local area online, which you can do by visiting www.totallymoving.net, you’ve now found a property that you’re happy to have a closer look at. So what should you look for?

The first thing to remember is that you may be looking at a lot of properties and as such it is important to have a way to record the details of each, furthermore you should know what you want from a property and the creation of a list which could include: must have and would be nice to have, can be helpful. Below are some examples of what you might want to consider:

PROPERTY INSPECTION CHECKLIST

ITEM

MUST HAVE

NICE TO HAVE

PRESENT Y/N

BEDROOMS

3

YES

YES

LIVING ROOMS

2

YES

YES

EN SUITE

1

YES

NO

GARAGE

2

NO

YES

FRONT GARDEN

1

YES

YES

REAR GARDEN

1

YES

YES

CONSERVATORY

1

YES

YES

QUITE ROAD

YES

NO

There’s a wealth of information available on the Internet these days, the majority of it is free and all you need is the postcode to find it, information including: historic price sales and/or estate agent details ( which can be useful to identify alterations that may have been carried out over the years), crime data, flooding, property prices, schools, doctors, vets, historical maps, aerial photos, etc.. If you don’t know the postcode you can use the postcode search facility at www.totallymoving.net to find it and compile a folder to keep everything in a single place, referenced by property address say.

You should, ideally, undertake as much research as possible before you actually visit the property to ensure that you know the area is right for you and to ensure you have identified as many things as possible to consider whilst you’re on site.

When you arrive in the area it’s wise to get there with enough time before the appointment so you can have a look around the general area and familiarise yourself with both the property and the neighbouring properties, ideally having a chat with neighbours and/or local shopkeepers, businesses, publicans, etc.. beforehand.

Walking up and down the road and looking at the types of properties can reveal an enormous amount of information for instance: have other properties suffered from structural movement? are there lots of cars parked in the area suggesting parking problems? does the area seem to be mostly owner occupied or tenanted? are there any non-residential uses in the area or sites that may be subject to redevelopment in the coming years? is there watercourse nearby or other environmental factors such as high-voltage overhead cables and/or is there anything else in the general area that may make you decide not to buy the property?

It’s worthwhile considering these and the area generally before you actually inspect the property as you may decide that the property is not right for you based upon these factors, which can help save you the time and effort of inspecting the property itself.

So you’ve had a look around the area and have decided that it fits your requirements and are now going to have a look at the property itself. Ensure you have adequate tools with you and don’t be embarrassed to use them! for instance a pair of binoculars so you can view the roof, set of ladders so you can go into the roof space (if Loft ladders are not available), a torch and something to lift up the drain covers. Inform the agent in advance of your intentions so they will give you enough time whilst you’re at the property and remember TAKE AS LONG AS YOU NEED!

It’s important to remember that you’ll be spending a lot of money on the property and even if you intend to have a survey, which by the way you should always do, you can help the surveyor by pointing out areas of concern in advance of the survey and ask the surveyor to provide specific advice on these.

If you do find there are defects, such as signs of dampness, roof problems or whatever else you may find, then it is worthwhile investigating these before you spend money on a survey and in particular if there is a risk that you may walk away from the property if the cost of repairs is too high or the defect is otherwise unacceptable.
You should, whilst walking around the property, look for things that seem out of place for instance is that large wardrobe hiding a crack? Has the wall been redecorated because dampness was present? What about alterations, have these been carried out properly and in compliance with building regulations? These are examples of the kind of questions you can clarify whilst on site either with the vendors or the estate agent. REMEMBER IF YOU ASK A QUESTION THOSE ANSWERING IT HAVE A DUTY TO BE TRUTHFULL!

Also remember to record somehow the responses and ensure you’ve sent an email to the agent to clarify the points raised, you may need to rely upon that later if untruth’s are uncovered!

If the vendor’s present there is a wealth of information you may be able to obtain directly from them, however treat it with caution and remember they are trying to sell you a property and it may be they’re desperate to do so!
As an example, whilst inspecting a property, I asked the vendor whether there were any problems with the neighbours to which they replied no. Unfortunately for them their toddler overheard the question and responded on their behalf by saying “apart from the noisy dog next door mummy which keeps yapping and barking all day long” needless to say this was a property I decided not to buy.

It’s important you decide where your ‘red lines’ are and to, in particular, consider the things that you can’t change for instance troublesome neighbours, factors in the location and/or historic works that may have been carried out poorly. Defects with the property can usually be fixed, albeit at a cost, whereas some things, such as outlined above, there are things you just cannot change and as such need to either accept you will live with them or walk away.

Remember your spending a lot of money on this property and intend to live there for a long time, as such it’s important you cover as many of your concerns as possible before you start to spend money on expensive lawyers and engage surveyors to tell you what you may be able to find out yourself with a little bit of effort. Good luck.

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