In my last blog I spoke about the journey that most first time buyers take on their road to home ownership. This article hopes to give some helpful tips and advice on things you can do. So here we go.
Go and get yourself a mortgage agreement in principle (MAIP). This shows an estate agent and an owner that you have spoken to a lender or mortgage broker and at the very least been given a figure that you could potentially borrow. You don’t want to be wasting your time or anyone else’s viewing properties you cannot afford.
Next, grab yourself a tea/coffee and your laptop or tablet and navigate to rightmove.co.uk & zoopla.com. These are the two biggest property listing sites in the UK. These two websites SHOULD cover almost every angle here. There are some (and some would say silly) agents that advertise with a newish website called onthemarket.com so it may be worth visiting that one too, just in case. Register your details for the email updates and aforementioned websites should keep you up to date with any new properties that meet your criteria.
Talking of criteria, you’ll need to be realistic – this is where a good estate agent can help. Tell them what and where you want and an honest/helpful agent can let you know if what you want is realistic. There’s a common saying ” Champagne taste, lemonade money” Wanting the four bedroom home with all the mod cons in, the best area for the price of small flat on the fringe local council estate just isn’t going to happen!
The viewing, again we touched on this last time, it can be an unusual experience inspecting someone else’s home with a critical eye. You should have a few different properties lined up to look at. Your first viewing of a property, you’ll be hard pressed to take everything in. If you can, have a set of property details in the car so when you’ve finished your viewing you can write down some notes, trust me if your viewing 5/6 properties it’s going to get a little confusing!
I’m hoping by this stage you’ve homed in on “the one”. In an ideal world, you’d go back and have a second viewing before making your final decision. However, sometimes you may not get the opportunity. If there happens to be a lot of interest a property then someone may have already offered almost forcing you into making a decision straight away. But do not rush your decision. If you’re not sure about a property then do no offer. I’ve had many occasions where buyers (not just first time buyers) get caught up in the moment, for them to sleep on it and have a change of heart days/weeks later.
How much to offer? There’s no real formula as to how much you should offer. For instance, if there is a lot of interest in the property, it may be beneficial to not be too cheeky by asking for tens of thousands of pounds of, as this may upset the owner and show you in a poor light. In my experience, an initial offer around 5% off the asking price is normally a good starting point. Most vendors and purchasers agree on a figure of around 97/98% of the asking price. Of course, if there are multiple people offering then the asking price or possibly more could be achieved.
On the other hand, if the property has been on the market for a long time, say three months or more, it COULD mean the owner may be more subjectable to a lower offer. This isn’t always the case, as some home movers may need to achieve the price they’re on for to be able to move. Oh, don’t forget to say you have your mortgage agreed in principle as well, always worth mentioning when offering.
When you do offer, keep your cards close to your chest. Agents will kill me for saying this but if you tell an agent ” I want to offer £150,000, but I will go to £160,000….” their going to tell their client, the owner, exactly that!
Once you have successfully negotiated a price, you’ll need to instruct a solicitor. If you have had help from a mortgage broker or estate agent, I’m sure they will both have recommendations for you, your mortgage product may even include conveyancing. If a solicitor isn’t included I would always recommend a local solicitor. Most agents especially chain estate agents (Haarts, Bairstow Eves etc) will try to persuade you to with their choice which will end up being a call centre office miles and miles from you. If you want a face you can actually go and see, then local is best. Now that’s not to say that you still can’t still shop around for the cheapest local solicitor, they should all be roughly the same price. Get one that’s reasonable or even suggested by a trusted friend or relative.
That’s all their is to it! If you have any specific questions or feel I’ve missed something send me an email or leave a comment below.
Until next time.