House Hunt like A Pro: Tips for First Time Buyers
Despite neigh Sayers of the property market awaiting a cool down of property values and sales over the coming months, expert opinion after expert opinion has been well and truly de-bunked by the stats which show the UK still going strong. As a first time house buyer, this means that you must often be quick off the mark and pretty savvy as to what to look out for when viewing a property and scouring the market for your first home. Here are our top tips for house hunting like a pro.
1. Make full use of online property portals
Websites such as Zoopla, Prime Location and Right Move have revolutionised the property hunting process. Not only do they serve up invaluable insight as to local statistics and schools, but they also often provide a breakdown of previous sales on the property that you’re viewing, as well as a note as to how long it may have been on the market. And this, can provide you with some serious negotiating power.
2. Don’t forget that a neighbourhood may be very different at night
Many first time buyers completely forget about the difference in the neighbourhood once night falls. So it pays to visit any road you may be considering purchasing on during the evening – you may find noisy neighbours, unruly kids and heavy traffic that persists through the evening.
3. Got kids? What about the schools?
Schools are a prime concern of any parents moving home and where once weighing up local schools involved manually searching through the league tables, now platforms such as Zoopla will help you search through schools local to your target area in a single webpage.
4. Check the roof and basic property structure
You will need a basic survey in order to get a mortgage, however unless you pay for a more comprehensive survey, this will say no more than your new property isn’t about to fall down. This makes the checking of a property’s roof an essential, as this element of any property could result in costing repairs entering into the tens of thousands of pounds. This also applies to your chimney.
In relation to the structure of the rest of the property, you should look out for:
- Cracks and damages, no matter how minor, either in the exterior or interior.
- Dark patches or discoloured walls (which may indicate damp)
- Soil shifting around the foundations
- Sagging floors and warped ceilings
- Cracked or buckling walls
- Doors or windows that don’t seem as though they fit properly
5. Make sure you view any property at least three times
Your first home purchase is undeniably exciting, however you shouldn’t be tempted to put in an offer before you’ve re-visited any property at least three times. With each visit, you may want to consider what work could be required (and pay attention to the boiler and windows – both of which serve as expensive home renovations), as well as considering the state of the ceilings and walls (re-plastering is another significant undertaking). Should some of these important jobs look like they’ll need undertaking, don’t be afraid to haggle the price down to account for them.
6. Selling your own home? Choose your estate agent carefully
Don’t scrimp on your estate agent – going cheap will likely result in lacklustre results and minimal promotion. You should also be aware that some estate agents purposely value properties above their market value in order to win the business, however this can result in your property sitting on the market for longer than it needs to (all whilst you’re paying over the odds for your estate agent). Finally, you should check online reviews left by previous customers – which can often the best and most honest insight into the quality of any given estate agent’s service.