Buying a property is expensive and stressful but can also be incredibly rewarding! Not all of us are lucky enough to be able to drop tons of savings into getting a property though and have budgets due to other responsibilities. We have a guide prepared for you to help you save some money whilst still finding that dream property of yours!
1) Know Your Budget
Surprisingly many buyers have no idea how much it will cost them to buy a home or what properties are even in their price range! It’s best to sit down and work out the income you have coming in and currently going out. Look at what you can afford to spend each month including household bills, food shops and personal time.
2) Know What You Can Borrow And Its Cost
This goes hand in hand with the above. If you aim at nothing, you will hit nothing. Visit or speak to a broker to establish what you can borrow, how it works, what’s involved and how the costs will fit in with your monthly spending budget. This is the point at which you will know whether your plans are realistic and if you can achieve them.
3) Get The Funding In Place
Be honest from the very beginning so no nasty surprises come up, professionals value honesty and hate people wasting their time. If you’re looking for a mortgage set an agreement with the broker so the agent/seller can be certain you have the funds in place and can take you more financially seriously.
4) Get multiple solicitors quotes and decide which one you will use in preparation
Get at least 2 and possibly even 3 solicitors quotes based on the figures and budget worked out with your broker, the more options the better. I always suggest 1 Local firm, 1 Distant firm, 1 online form. See how they compare but remember that cheap is not best, although it seems expensive in the long run a good quote can save you a lot of money and you appear more trustworthy to the seller/agency. Paying a little more could make the difference between a swift trouble-free transaction, or having a solicitor who leaves your case till ‘tomorrow’. If you have the solicitor firm in mind, it will benefit you again when bidding.
5) Make Yourself Known To The Agents
Call the agents on a regular basis. On the desk of every decent sales negotiator, there will be a small index card box called his ‘hot box’. This is a list of people, usually first time buyers who are looking for property and are ready to proceed. You aim to be at the front of his ‘hot box’. This requires a certain amount of persistence on the part of you and your broker. Call the agents at least once if not twice a week. Ask if there are any new properties on their books, have any sales fallen through. Get your broker to call and tell the agents that your mortgage has been approved (in principle) and you are now keenly looking to move ASAP. Don’t however let your broker tell the agents how much you can afford. Keep the pressure on the agent to find you somewhere, once they know you are serious you will be the first one to get a call when they have a new instruction.
6) Finding The Property
Once you have found the property you like, never seem overeager to the agent initially. View it more than once at different times of the day. What seems like a quiet suburban street at mid-day can become a rush-hour return at 4.30. The first time you view will be with your heart, the second time will be with your wallet. On the second viewing make sure it is in the evening after the agent has closed. This will allow you to be unhurried and have the current owner on hand to get honest answers to the inevitable questions you will have. The remainder of this bit is, I’m afraid, down to you as you are the only one who knows what you are looking for.
7) Pre Offer Information
Before considering what to offer you need to find out as much about the situation of the seller as possible. Find out if they have found a property and look at the chains. How stable is the chain and how well established is it? Are there any other viewings booked or other offers on the table? Going in prepared with this information will help you present your offer in the best possible light to the agent and seller.
8) Check your files with a credit reference agency
It’s easy to make mistakes or have mix-ups but these can be hugely costly factors in purchasing a property. Have a professional ensure your files are the best they can be to avoid any nasty extra costs.
9) Submitting The Offer
There are many different schools of thought as to how much you should offer on a property. Never forget that the seller will have a level they need to achieve to make their move possible and that they will not have seen blistering increases in the value of their property, which will reduce the available room for manoeuvre.
This is when you place your offer, most of the time through your agent but it can also be done personally. Once the offer is accepted and the seller is confident the following will take place:
- All future and current viewings are cancelled
- The property is withdrawn from the open market immediately and they have exclusivity over it
- The sold board goes up within 48 hours
An example of ‘the norm’ would be something along the lines of an asking price of £120,000 with your opening offers beginning at £105,000 – £108,000.
10) Know Your Limit
It’s essential to keep in mind the amount you are prepared to pay for the property, you should increase your offers by small increments between £500-£1000. The worst that can happen when putting in offers is the seller saying no. It may get to a point where the seller doesn’t want to keep receiving offers and will become fed up, this is when your broker comes in to bid for you so the professionals can communicate with each other and know a good price or whether games are being played!
These tips can be extremely useful, especially for first time buyers with no experience! It’s a daunting yet exciting process, and one you’re not alone though.