For most people, purchasing a house is the single biggest financial decision they'll ever make. Yet, because of the emotions involved, it should be treated with a bit of thought and planning. Over the last few years, fewer people having been moving with some reasons being because of the economy and that fewer houses have been coming to the market. Because of this, there is more competition for each property. You'll need to make sure you're in a strong negotiating position if you're to become the chosen buyer. Here are our top tips for how to buy a house! Getting ready to buy
- An agent's and owners favourite buyer is someone currently living in rented and armed with cash. First time buyers and those with short and complete chains are next in line.
- If there aren't many properties that you are likely to be interested in, consider selling and buying separately. Chains can often fall apart and it might give you the advantage you'll need.
- Do your window shopping on property portals, but put your own property on the market as soon as you are serious. If you find your perfect new home before marketing your current one, there's a good chance you'll end up missing out and kicking yourself.
- Make sure you've done a good job of preparing your home for sale! We can help with this with a free consultation!
- It is normally relatively simple to arrange a mortgage agreement in principle if you are employed and have your last three pay slips, but if you are self employed, it can take longer. In that case, you will normally need 2-3 years accounts signed off by a Chartered Accountant. Make sure you have these in place, along with proof of deposit or cash!
Starting to look around
- Visit the estate agents' offices or call them to register with them
- Stay in touch with the agent, It always helps if the agent likes you enough to help fight your corner!
- Be honest with the agent about exactly how much you are willing to spend on your perfect home.
- Ask the agent for recommendations on solicitors and mortgage advice – this can help speed up the process once you see a house you like, it can put you ahead of other viewers and buyers
- If interested in a particular property, ask the agent if they feel the vendor would consider offers.
While at the viewing
- This is the start of any negotiation for a buyer, but it can be tough to hide your enthusiasm when you find the property of your dreams.
- Ask for information about the vendor's position, previous interest and any potential issues, it doesn't hurt to ask innocent questions.
- If you like the property, arrange a second viewing. You'll want to be thorough enough to offer from a well informed position, so take a list with you of everything you're uncertain about or worry might be costly.
Deciding on the level of offer to make
- Research the market thoroughly and provide a reason to explain why you are making the offer you are.
- Consider the price this particular property sold for last time, other recent sales of similar, larger or better condition properties and the ceiling price in the street.
- Find out how long the property has been on the market (All portals now display this) and what that might mean for how hard you can try to negotiate.
- Ultimately, you need to make a credible offer which both the agent and vendor will take seriously.
- Remember that if you really do love the property, you'll regret missing out for the sake of trying to save a few thousand pounds.
Making your offer
- If you're not able to proceed (you haven't found a buyer for your own property or waiting on a mortgage decision), it is unlikely that an agent would recommend that the vendor accept your offer and stop marketing the property. In this scenario, consider submitting your interest and asking to be kept informed should the situation change. Sometimes when you are in a weak position, it is better not to start negotiating!
- If the agent tells you that there are multiple offers, sell yourself. Tell the agent why the vendor should choose you, sometimes this can help the owner make a decision
- Put your offer in writing, If it's a good offer and you are in a proceedable position, make your offer conditional on the agent taking the property off the market.
- Include details of your LTV (Loan to Value) percentage in your offer and confirm that you have already received an agreement in principle for the mortgage. This will indicate to the agent that you have done your homework and deserve to be taken seriously.
- If you have already instructed your solicitor, mention that and name them.
- Also include contact information for your own estate agent so that the vendor's agent can verify the status of your chain.
- Put emotion aside as best you can.
- Negotiate with facts and figures, not feelings and opinions.
- If you need to increase your offer or make other concessions, you can always ask for something in return, sometimes some fixtures or fittings may help you. There's no such thing as a one sided negotiation!
- Don't necessarily worry if it takes a bit of time for the vendor to respond to your offer, the owners might need some time to consider everything, the agent should keep you informed
Agents are legally obliged to act in the best interests of a seller at all times, However, by improving your own buying position, you can help an agent help you Good luck with your home search, if you need any advice, please do not hesitate to call either of our 4 offices.