The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reveals the Top Mistakes made by House Hunters – make sure you are aware of the most common pitfalls!
With mortgage approvals hitting the highest levels since the downturn, we look at the most common mistakes made by those looking for a new home.
Results of the latest RICS UK housing market survey earlier this month showed that the number of UK homes sold per surveyor has more than doubled since the depth of the housing market downturn.
Rising prices – which have been a feature of recent months – seem to have mainly been the result of more buyers chasing the relatively few homes on the market.
So with all the competition out there, what advice should you follow if you’re considering purchasing a home?
Property Buyers: The Most Common Pitfalls
Whether you’re a first time buyer or looking to move up the ladder, it pays to be aware of the following pitfalls.
- Failing to get an ‘in principle’ mortgage offer from a lender before you find the house of your dreams. By the time you find the perfect property, there may not be enough time to arrange your finances before someone else with mortgage approval jumps in.
- Not finding out the true value of your current home before starting the search for a new one. How can you look if you don’t know what you can afford?
- Seeking a property beyond realistic price limits. Know what you can stretch to and don’t look beyond this point – it will only leave you dissatisfied.
- Being undecided about exactly what is required from a new home – the number of bedrooms, size of rooms, whether you require a car parking space, garden and so on – and, most importantly, the location.
- Not sufficiently researching the area of the property for sale for factors such as local amenities, neighbourhood, infrastructure changes on the horizon (e.g. Crossrail).
- Neglecting to keep your wits about you when viewing the property. Has furniture been removed to make the rooms appear bigger? How much storage space is there? Which way does the property face? A bigger challenge if the agent has scheduled for many potential buyers to view the property at the same time.
- Being put off by problems that are easily fixed. Focus on the important factors that can’t be changed later on (proximity to schools, transport links) and pay less attention to cosmetic elements that may be inexpensive to rectify. A survey undertaken by a chartered surveyor (see below) will help you tell the difference between small problems and potential deal-breakers.
- Not realising the estate agent ultimately works for the vendor, not the purchaser. If you’ve fallen in love with a property, try not to let it show – it will give the agent the upper hand when it comes to negotiating the price.
- Forgetting about the extra costs of homeownership. One for first-time buyers – on the surface, mortgage repayments may look attractive compared to paying rent, but don’t forget to budget for property maintenance. This will vary according to the age and condition of the property but an annual budget 1-3% of the sale price is sensible.
- Relying on the mortgage valuation as a record of the condition of the property and not paying for a professional survey of the property undertaken by a chartered surveyor. Remember – it pays to have a survey.
- Failing to find a good solicitor to act quickly when that dream property is located.
- Not budgeting for Stamp Duty. Unlike income tax, where you pay a different tax rate on different portions of your earnings, Stamp Duty is calculated on a slab structure.
For more advice on getting a mortgage in principle, finding a good solicitor or appointing a professional surveyor contact us on 0161 925 3255.