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Venturing into the property market as a buyer, whether that be for the first time or not, can be a challenging ordeal. It’s easy for buyers to get caught out by certain details, skip important steps or gloss over things that they might end up regretting later on. To avoid this, Alex Goody, property expert at House Sales Direct, has shared four of the “biggest mistakes” when buying a house and how to avoid them.
1. Not having an Agreement in Principle (AIP)
While it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of looking for a home, it’s important to work out mortgage options first.
For those buying with a mortgage, not having an agreement in principle can be “a major setback” and “will make you much less attractive” to an estate agent when putting in an offer, warned Alex.
He explained that having an AIP will enable buyers to know how much they can borrow and therefore what their limit is when it comes to bidding on houses.
He added: “It reassures estate agents that you are a serious buyer and will have the ability to fund the purchase.”
Failing to get an agreement in principle could lead to disappointment, especially if buyers find a property they want, but can’t get a big enough loan to purchase it.
2. Not researching the local property market
Before house hunters start going for property viewing they should take time to study how much houses retail for in that area and how quickly homes get snapped up.
Alex said: “Doing your research into the local property market can be a real benefit when it comes to knowing how much you should pay for a property and how to negotiate the price.
“Having a look at how long it takes similar properties to sell and whether they go for above or below asking price will help you to determine whether you might be able to risk a lower offer.”
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If properties in the area they buyers are looking at are selling quickly and over the asking price, they can expect to have to put in an initial higher offer.
3. Not factoring in the overall costs of buying and owning a home
Probably the most important step to take when first considering buying a home is to work out exactly what the budget is.
While this may seem terribly obvious, many people only perform this task half-heartedly, and it can leave them facing some nasty shocks further down the line.
The most common mistake is to concentrate solely on the deposit and purchase price.
Homeowners are almost guaranteed to incur a lot more charges and fees along the way, so they should be factoring these things in when making their calculations.
Keep things such as stamp duty, solicitors’ fees, removals and surveys in mind when working out what the spending costs will be.
The expert explained: “There can be so much involved in buying a home that it can become easy to forget some of the costs that will be incurred.
“There is not only the cost of the house itself, but solicitor fees, stamp duty, getting the survey done and removal fees too.
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“Once you have moved in, there will still be extra costs to consider such as home insurance, bills and any renovation costs that may be necessary.
“Before you buy you should factor in all the above. It may be worth drawing up a spreadsheet with the estimated amounts of each, so you know how much money you’ll be spending.”
4. Not acting quickly enough
Many buyers often overthink and take too long to make up their minds as to whether they want to put an offer on a property. Many find when they do decide to put in an offer, the property is already under offer.
Alex urged: “It’s key to be decisive and know what you want in advance so you can put in an offer as soon as you’ve viewed a property you like.”
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