It’s all too easy to forget something important during the property transaction process, so make sure you ask yourself these ten questions before you sign the dotted line!
1. Do you understand the key terms?
Getting to grips with house buying terminology before you make an offer is a good idea because it can help make the transaction faster and smoother.
2. What’s the cost of buying?
The expenditure incurred by buying a property is not limited to the deposit; other costs include paying stamp duty, conducting a house survey, appointing conveyancing solicitors, hiring a removal company and perhaps furnishing your new house. It is important to take into consideration these ‘extra’ costs when deciding your budget.
3. Have you sold yet?
It is nearly always more lucrative to sell before you buy, so it is a good idea to have your own property on the market before you begin shopping online for a new house. It might be easier said than done, but it is definitely important to not fall in love with a house before you have a buyer otherwise you may lose your dream-house to someone who has the funds ready.
4. Do you have a mortgage ‘agreement in principle’?
An ‘agreement in principle’ (AIP) is a written statement confirming how much you can borrow from your lender. Having an AIP increases your likelihood of securing the house you have made an offer on as it shows the seller that you are a serious buyer and have the necessary finances.
5. Have you viewed the property at different times?
A quiet and cosy house at 10 AM can be filled with music blaring from the neighbours at 8 PM in the evening, so it is a good idea to view your potential new house on numerous occasions and at varying times of the day.
6. Have you checked out the neighbourhood?
Location, location, location! We highly recommend that you check out the neighbourhood before you commit to a property. This can involve talking to the local residents, going to local parks, shops and cafes, checking out local schools, and even Government’s Planning Portal to find out if any large-scale building works are planned that could possibly lower your enjoyment of the area and affect the price of your desired house in future.
7. Have you done your research on how much to offer?
You can get an idea of what would constitute a reasonable offer for your desired house by using online property searches (e.g. Rightmove and Zoopla) to find out how much similar properties in the local area have sold for or are currently on the market for. If you’re looking for an opportunity to renegotiate on the purchase price, the findings outlined in the report from your house survey might prove useful as it will indicate any structural problems and their cost of repair. You can also choose to have a valuation included in the survey in order to ensure that you are not offering more than the property’s market value.
8. Have you asked the seller to take it off the market?
When making an offer for your desired property, you can make the offer on the condition that the house is taken off the market. This is highly recommended as it prevents you being ‘gazumped’ – someone else makes a higher offer than you and the homeowner sells them the property despite already accepting your offer
9. Are you using only professionals?
You will need to employ a conveyancing solicitor to deal with the paperwork and legal aspects of the property transaction, a surveyor to survey the property, and a removals company to ensure the safety of your belongings when moving into your new house. While it may be tempting to view the Mortgage Valuation as sufficient, it is important that you commission an independent survey from a RICS surveyor for a thorough inspection of the condition of your desired property. At movelawyer.co.uk we only partner with respected and highly experienced companies so you can be confident in your choice of professionals.
10. Are you communicating?
Make sure that you’re communicating during the property transaction process; ask questions on anything you’re not sure about, keep up to date with the progress of the process, and make sure that you’re reachable – it isn’t advised to go on holiday between putting an offer down on a house and the completion date.
One last tip: Enjoy your new house!