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Our Top 10 Tips for Buyers

Read our top tips when buying a new property

1.  Where 

There are often a number of reasons why some areas appeal more than others.  It is often difficult to get all the things you want in the area that you want to live, but here are some things you should look out for.

Schools – often the number one choice for families. Be careful to check that the property you are buying is in your preferred school’s catchment.  Sometimes, even that isn’t a guarantee of a place for your child

Transport – How easy will it be to get a bus, train or tram?  What are the road connections like?

Shops – You might not necessarily want a Supermarket next door, but it is always good to know there is a local shop nearby for a bottle of milk or a loaf when you run out.

Housing Stock – some areas might have the red brick style of Victorian House you love, others the modern estate house that suits, or you might prefer the city centre where there are plenty of flats. 

Leisure – Some of us want a pub, a cinema, restaurants and shops on our doorstep.  Some like the quieter life.

2.  Finance

The majority of house purchases are made with the assistance of a mortgage and there are so many different deals on offer that it can be quite mesmerising.  Before you start looking, it is a good idea to speak to an Independent Mortgage Adviser to establish how much you can borrow.  Having an Agreement in Principal means you can look with confidence and make an offer when you find a property you like

Speak to our Mortgage Adviser for some free, no obligation advice from the whole of the Mortgage Market

Approach your Bank to see if they can offer you anything 

Make sure you know how much deposit you will need

Remember the additional costs, like removals, Survey, Stamp Duty and Solicitor fees

Check if you can benefit from a Help To Buy Mortgage

3.  Viewings

When you have your finances sorted and know where you want to live, its time to arrange some house viewings.

Make a checklist of the things that are important to you.

Look to see if you will have to do much to the property if you decide to go for it.

Look at properties at different times of the day.  

Ask the seller about the running costs of the property and consult the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Check out the neighbours and the neighbourhood

See the garden in daylight

4.  Research

You don’t want a nasty shock after you have moved into your new property, so spend some time researching beforehand.

What is the area like for amenities, schools and transport?

Is the area liable to flooding or settlement?

How have house prices fared in recent years?

What are the OFSTED Reports for the local schools like?

What are the crime figures like?

Do houses sell often or quickly in the area?

5.  Offer

When you have found a property you like, it is time to make an offer.

Don’t jump in.  Let your head do the work, not your heart

Check property prices of similar houses to the one you like

Think of the cost of any work you will have to do to get the house right

Remember the other costs you will have when buying

Don’t make a silly low offer that will alienate you from the seller

Use your strengths.  A First Time Buyer or cash buyer might be very appealing to a seller who is buying as well

See what is included in the sale

6.  Survey

The property you have found looks good to you, but how does it look to an expert? Investing in a few hundred pounds for a survey, could end up saving you a lot more in the future

Unless you are buying a property with cash, your Bank or Building Society will require a survey for no other reason than to know you are buying something in a good condition at the right price.

Choose the level of survey you need. There are three main types. A Valuation Survey, a Homebuyers Report and a Full Building Survey.

A brand new house may not need a Full Building Survey, but a 200-year-old cottage, probably will.

Choose an RICS Surveyor for any survey you pay for

7.  Solicitor

A lot of time and effort goes into the initial part of a house purchase, but regularly the most stressful part of buying a house can be after the sale has been agreed.  The abilities of the solicitors acting for both parties is a big factor in determining how smoothly the sale progresses.  When deciding on which solicitor to appoint, bear in mind:

Who, specifically, will be dealing with your convenience?  A named, qualified solicitor in an office you can visit if needed, or a case handler in a call centre?

Establish at the outset all the relevant costs including those for relevant searches.

How busy is the solicitor/firm and do they have any holiday/leave planned during the conveyance?

8.  Insurance

Having insurance in place, with the correct cover, is crucially important as the purchase gets close to completing the purchase.  This is usually a condition of any mortgage.

To find out about how C.P. Walker & Son can help with property owner’s insurance, click here

9.  Refurbishing?

If you intend to undertake any modernisation to the property after it’s yours, plan ahead to be prepared as possible:

Identify the scope of the work and agree costs with your builder.

Find out if your require planning permission or obligations under the Party Wall Act.

Establish what, if anything is to be done before you actually move in.

10.  Investor?

If you are buying for investment get advice from an experienced local letting agent, ideally not the same as the selling agent, about who will rent the house and for how much.  You can read more about our advice for Landlords here, but some things to consider are:

Are there any local regulations such as Nottingham City Council’s Article 4 Direction and Additional Licensing requirements to consider?

Who is my intended tenant and what do they want in a rental property?

What, if anything, should I do to the house before it is rented?

"We were really satisfied with the service provided to us from CP Walker & Son. We had a tight deadline to sell our house, and to complicate things had tenants who sometimes restricted the access to the property for photos and viewings. CP Walker & Son, and particularly Mark Finnigan, dealt with these challenges in a professional and effective manner, providing us with support and advice while sensitively liaising with the tenants and respecting their rights, and ultimately bringing the sale through to completion. We really appreciated the integrity and good service throughout our dealings with CP Walker & Son."
Jason L