July 6, 2017
The Top Ten Mistakes You're Making When Buying a House
Buying a new home is one of the most exciting things you can do. Between looking through beautiful new houses and choosing the perfect area, it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of new-home ownership. However, ignoring the details could end up costing you. Our estate agents have seen it all, and have identified the top mistakes that people make when purchasing a new home.
1. Looking at property without setting a budget
“Taking a hard look at your finances is critical before you begin to look at property”, says Guild of Property Professionals CEO Iain McKenzie. “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen fall in love with a property to realise that it’s out of their price range.” After you look at your finances, consider seeking professional advice, especially when it comes to mortgages.
According to Steve Thompson of Thomas Morris St Neot’s, “buyers should fully consider their property requirements and get the advice they need to organise their finances and solicitors before they find a property so that they do not miss out.” Do your research before viewing properties, and get a good idea of what you can afford to avoid heartbreak later.
2. Understand their reasons for moving
Buying a property is a huge emotional and financial decision, and certainly not one to take lightly. According to Siobhan Jordain of Boyce Brixham, it’s important to make sure that you’re running toward something better, rather than away from something unsuitable. Siobhan encourages serious thought before moving into a different area, saying that “a bit of self-reflection on what you think moving from one area to another will give you can save time and money – perhaps you just need a lifestyle change rather than a location change.”
3. Buying too quickly
If your property purchase is the direct result of a relocation, Steve Barron of Drivers & Norris cautions against buying immediately. Steve encourages potential buyers to “rent first, and then figure out what you like. Then you know you’ll be buying in the best area for you, rather than simply having to make an educated guess.”
4. Having too many non-negotiables
When you view a property, it’s a good idea to know what you’re willing to be flexible on and where you’re not willing to negotiate. Stick to your convictions, but keep your list small. According to Steve Barron, “it’s best to prioritise what you want, as you’ll never get everything on your wishlist.” Mark Noble of Castle Estate Agents echoes this sentiment, saying “one of the biggest mistakes I see is buyers being too fussy about a property when a few simple alterations could make it perfect.”
5. Being closed off to alternative suggestions
“One in three people end up buying something completely different than what they thought they wanted,” says McKenzie, “so be sure to broaden your horizons while you’re looking.” The perfect property for you might not be what you think you want, so being open to alternative suggestions is critical when buying a home.
6. Not using an estate agent in addition to looking online
Steve Thompson cautions: “heavy reliance on the internet to find your home is a mistake. Although it is a fantastic source of information, simple to use and available round-the-clock, the internet will never be able to replicate the local knowledge and expertise of your local estate agent. Build a good relationship with your estate agent, and they will tell you about properties that fit your specifications before they hit the market, search for properties that might now have hit the market just yet, and think of all kinds of out-of-the-box solutions to help you find the perfect home.”
7. Waiting too long to make an offer
Celeste Hamilton-Parker, Mark Noble, and Iain McKenzie all agree that waiting too long to make an offer on a house is one of the easiest ways for someone else to buy the house of your dreams. If you have a good feeling about a house and it ticks off your list of non-negotiables, then making an offer is the sensible choice.
8. Negotiating poorly
Negotiating is an important part of the property buying process, and negotiating poorly (or not at all) is one of the most common mistakes estate agents see in buyers. According to Mark Noble, “offering a price that’s too low and then taking too long to make a more acceptable offer is the reason I see many people lose homes they really love.” Iain McKenzie has been in a similar situation. “I’ve have buyers offer the asking price on houses where the seller would have negotiated. Negotiating will almost always result in a better price, especially if you maintain an air of ambivalence at a viewing. Never gush when you view a house, as gushing will make the seller think you’re willing to pay more for the property.”
9. Appointing the wrong property professionals
“Choosing the wrong solicitor or mortgage broker can be a huge mistake for buyers” says Mark Noble. Celeste Hamilton-Parker of Hamilton Parkers agrees, arguing that “a solicitor that’s either online or unfamiliar with the area can delay the conveyancing process, and the whole process in general.” When you buy a property, be sure to choose mortgage brokers that are reputable and local to your area. Local professionals will have a much better idea of how the market in your area works than non-local brokers or solicitors.
10. Not thinking ahead
“While it’s tempting to prioritise what you need now over what you’ll need in the future, but choosing a home is a relatively permanent decision,” warns Steve Barron. “Be sure you prioritise what you’ll need in the future, as well as what you’d like now.” Siobhan Jourdain agrees, adding that you should “consider a situation where you should have to return to your original home area, and make sure that you can afford to buy back in – this is particularly important if you are downsizing and using equity as pension funding or buying in a cheaper area.”
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