10 Top Tips When Buying a House
There are many hurdles to jump when you’re purchasing a new home. Jill Cochrane from Battens Solicitors shares her top 10 tips on buying a house.
- Know the true costs and set a budget. Don’t just save for a deposit; budget for the whole buying process including surveys, searches, land registry, mortgage arrangement and legal fees, stamp duty, removal and furnishing costs and any potential repairs. And, if you’re buying a leasehold property, remember to factor in service charges and ground rent.
- Get an ‘Agreement in Principle’ before making an offer. Talk to a mortgage adviser about mortgage deals, then get an 'agreement in principle' from a mortgage lender – it could give you the edge on buyers without one.
- Consider your options - if you are a first time buyer, it’s well worth exploring the government’s first time buyer initiatives.
- Appoint an experienced lawyer - a good lawyer will manage the legal side of house buying and ensure everything goes smoothly.
- Get first dibs – ask local estate agents to call when suitable properties are about to come onto the market, that way you can book one of the first viewings.
- Ask questions – find out as much as you can about the area and the property, including how many viewings and offers it’s had - it helps when it comes to negotiating.
- Be realistic about timings – local searches can take up to 18 weeks and if you’re in a chain, not everyone will be ready when you are.
- Commission a full property survey – it's different to a valuation survey and will flag up any problems that could cost you later down the line. Your lender may require you to use a specific surveyor.
- Get insured – find a comprehensive building insurance policy with no onerous restrictions they can impose if, for example, you’re purchasing in a flood risk area.
- Draw up a Will – if you die, you'll want your assets (including your home) to be distributed to your loved one. Ask a lawyer to help you draw up a legally binding will.
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