Are You in the Best Position to Buy a Property?
The property market has experienced unprecedented levels of demand and the search for your next home has been frustrating and in a lot of cases unsuccessful. Whether you have been looking for some time or are just in the process of starting this article looks at things you can do to give yourself the best chance of finding your next home.
The more you can put towards your house purchase the better as lenders will offer better rates if the loan to value % (amount borrowed against property value) is lower. Often the deposit will be coming from the equity in a house sale but may still need topping up whilst for first time buyers it is all from savings. Remember that you will have additional costs to pay for that you can’t add to your mortgage amount such as legal costs, survey fees, and stamp duty. With changes to regulations and principles of lifetime mortgages and equity release schemes there is an increasing number of people getting assistance from parents towards the deposit and upsizing costs and this is something we will be looking at in a forthcoming article.
If you require a mortgage, it is imperative that you have spoken to a bank, building society or financial advisor and obtained an agreement or decision in principle. This will confirm how much you are able to borrow (subject to additional checks and survey) from the lender added to your deposit amount. It is important to remember that these are time limited so if you have been looking for a property for some time you may need to check whether yours is still valid. In addition, if your circumstances have changed in any way since you first obtained one then it is worth getting it refreshed as lenders change their products regularly so you may find yourself able to borrow more than you initially thought. It may of course be that the increased rates mean you wish to borrow less and certainly better to establish that now than part way through the process. Whilst interest rates are rising and likely to continue to do so they are still historically very low and the ability to fix your mortgage for a lengthy time protects you against further increases in payments. If you offer on a property, then you will be expected to provide evidence of your AIP so make sure you keep it handy. It is well worth showing the estate agent at the viewing as that will give them confidence you have done your research. Remember you are free to use any provider of your choosing and should never be forced or pressured into using in house services.
House to Sell
If you have a house to sell, then you must at the very least have it on the market but more realistically have a buyer also. This has long been a topic of discussion for home sellers as to what to do first, whether to try and find or try and sell. We have always maintained that having a buyer on your own property unquestionably places you in a better position so see no reason why you would not want to do that. Of course, it is important that prospective buyers are made aware that you need to find something (unless you are going into temporary accommodation) so that their timescales can be managed accordingly but if you do this then most buyers will be patient and wait. Over the past couple of years properties have been selling faster than at any time previously so for those people waiting to find before they try to sell, they have often found themselves either unable to even get a viewing or unable to get their house on the market before the home they want has accepted someone else’s offer. Even as the market slows it is surely best to have a buyer in place on your own rather than waiting to find a buyer having found the home of dreams and risk having those dreams taken away.
Searching for Property
If you are like most people, you will use Rightmove or Zoopla when looking for property and set your search accordingly with all the things you want from your new home. The issue with this is that if something doesn’t quite fit then you wont get to hear about it. With that in mind it is worth listing just your absolute minimum requirements such as number of bedrooms rather than detailing everything that you ideally want.
Similarly, it is likely you will have an area you prefer but again widen your search a little bit. You may find there is a property a fraction out of the mile or 3-mile radius that you have missed or will miss by being so regimented. The same can be said for your budget. Whilst most properties have sold quickly there are still quite a few that remain unsold after 6 weeks so by increasing your budget search you may find properties that potentially may accept an offer.
When you do see a property you like your immediate reaction may be to simply send an enquiry to the estate agent and whilst I would certainly do that, I would also make sure you try and call them either immediately or first thing the next day. It amazes us how many people thank us for calling them following their online enquiry as they often don’t get a response from agents to their viewing request so relying on that online enquiry may see you missing out.
Try and agree some flexibility with your employer to be able to view properties. Explain you are looking to buy a house; it is likely they will be aware how tough the market has been and see if you can leave a little earlier or have a slightly longer lunch break if you have something to view but always offer to make that time up another day.
Finally register your details with every estate agent in your area. The hope is that you will get to hear of properties before they go on the portals, and this may give you a slight advantage over those relying on seeing a property on Rightmove or Zoopla for instance. We say the word hope because whilst with R B Walters estate agents we guarantee you early notification of any suitable property we are aware that this is often not the case with every estate agent but at least by doing this simple thing you increase your chances.
Whilst you do not need a solicitor or conveyancer to find a house you certainly will to actually buy one so it is worth researching several as soon as you start your search for property. That way you will know who you wish to use and can even confirm that with them as several will sort all the I.D requirements and terms of business before you have even found a property. When you do offer on a house you also show yourself to be well organized and this may just be the little extra that sees your offer accepted over someone who isn’t.
As always we love to hear from you with your views, thoughts, questions and experiences by calling 01452 260993, messaging us or emailing email@example.com